The Jungle Book (2016)
Out Now On-Demand
Disney gives director Jon Favreau (Iron Man) the keys to Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale. His live-action/CGI hybrid adaptation follows young Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi) as he grows up in a jungle filled with friends – Bagheera the black panther (Ben Kingsley) and Baloo the bear (Bill Murray) – and ghastly foes – Kaa the python (Scarlett Johansson), King Louie the orangutan (Christopher Walken), and Shere Khan the tiger (Idris Elba).
As the adopted cub in a pack of wolves, the jungle is the only home Mowgli has known. But when the greatly-feared Shere Khan expresses his deadly desires to end the boy’s life, the pack is put in danger, prompting Mowgli to divert the threat away from his family and to search for a new home with human civilisation. Aided by the loyal Bagheera, Mowgli’s journey becomes wrought with danger and rich with friendships, revealing what he truly wants for his life and the jungle he calls home.
While the film stays truer to the tones of Kipling’s original story, Favreau also infuses his vision with shades of the original Disney animated movie.
Best Visual Effects, Academy Awards 2017; Best Special Effects, BAFTAs 2017
- Justin Marks (based on the book by Rudyard Kipling)
Adventure, Drama, Kids & Family, Blockbuster
Rating: PG Violence & scary scenes
Once again, Iron Man director Jon Favreau has magically pulled out another incredibly fun blockbuster from behind Disney’s circular ear. While it tips its hat to the 1967 animated film, this fantastical retelling of Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale moves to its own vibrant drum beat with a visual razzle dazzle that takes the tiger from Life of Pi and multiplies it by a whole jungle.
Our hearty young lead Neel Sethi is one of the only things in the film not made by a computer, meaning the digitally-constructed environments feel right in tune with the CG creatures. This also frees the camera to do the physically impossible and the creatively limitless. (A seamless transition from an eyeball to a cave left my own eyeballs flabbergasted.)
Injecting personalities into photorealistic talking animals is its own kind of dangerous wildness/uncanny valley. Fortunately, Favreau overloads the voice acting bases with supreme A-listers like Ben Kingsley as protective parent panther Bagheera, Lupita Nyong’o as authoritative mother wolf Raksha, and Bill Murray as a bear version of Bill Murray.
As great as the voice acting is, it’s the characters’ onscreen presence that drives home the performances, none being more distinctive than Idris Elba’s Shere Khan. Using all the movements a tiger can anatomically achieve, from the hunch of braced shoulders to the most casual of alpha-cat struts, he is a vocal and physical force that puts him near the top of evil movie assholes.
It’s a shame that can’t go double for Christopher Walken as King Louie. He would have been 100% great had it not been for his reiteration of I Wanna Be Like You, which ends up feeling embarrassingly out of place.
Time Out London
New York Times
Sydney Morning Herald
Total Film (UK)
Stuff.co.nz (James Croot)
By the Book
It's a bit of a hard ask trying to convey heart and emotion through CGI animals that you have kept as 'wild' as possible. Director Jon Favreau nearly pulls it off but not quite losing the fun and heart of the original. It's a beautiful looking film though.
This is a really well-made live-action adaptation of a great story. There are so many ways in which this could have gone awry but it stands shoulder to shoulder with the original in all facets and in some ways (animation and added thematic depth) goes beyond the 1967 film. Neel Sethi is surely on the way now to more good things.
King of the Jungle...
Fun film, looks stunning although I think it is geared towards 3D... Mowgli is well reresented as my 6 year old son was immediately drawn to his character and Baloo as well who was voiced with the right amount of fun and heart by Bill Murray- actually all the animals were beautifully rendered and voiced by the actors chosen, but my personal favourite was Christoper Walken cast as King Louie- he stole every scene he was in for me. Very enjoyable film!
Quite an awesome movie. I like how Louie is an ancient ape and how Balloo tries to get the Honey ... awesome. Bagheera is still my favourite but I do like good old Balloo.
Go see - but on 3D
Saw this film in 2D, it was clearly made to watch on 3D. In saying that the movie itself was great, fast paced and really enjoyable.
Get lost in the Jungle.
Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book is a great example of keeping the spirit of the original intact while bringing it own flavour and style. The characters are great and I love how it is quite dark, something I would not take a young child to perhaps.
This movie is gorgeous and I could use 50 more adjectives to talk about how amazing the film looks. You forget you are watching effectively a green screen and a kid.
Favreau once again has told a great story and done a great job pacing the film with great editing and dialogue. The characters are rich and you care what is happening to them and there are some great themes as well.
Dare I say, hopefully without getting an angry mob on me that this is even better than the original. I said it, I meant it, I'm here to represent it.
Possibly one of this year's best movies
Having remade several times both through animated and live action, is Jon Favreau’s take on the classic novel and remake to the 1967 animated classic worth checking out?
When a truce between the animals of the Jungle is broken, Mowgli (Neel Sethi) has no choice but to leave his wolf pack as he runs away from the menacing Tiger, Shere Khan, who will stop at nothing to eliminate Mowgli.
Glad to say Jon Favreau’s adaptation of The Jungle Book is nothing short of amazing. All the scenery and animals were computer generated but they looked incredible. From the twists and turns of every branch to the single strand of fur of the animals, everything was rendered perfectly and it looked seamless.
Accompanied by the visual appeal is the voice acting. All the voice actors/actresses were great, Bill Murray as Baloo was fun and Ben Kingsley as Bagheera is also played to perfection. However Idris Elba as Shere Khan steals the movie. He commanded every scene he’s in and more importantly he’s incredibly intimidating but more importantly dangerous. Idris Elba was exceptional as Shere Khan and easily one of the best movie villains out there.
There’s very little to complain about the movie and they’re all very minor. Neel Sethi’s performance as Mowgli fluctuates as sometimes he’s great in a scene and could be bad at another. To his credit, majority of the time he’s acting in front of puppets and he’s doing a good job. However there are several scenes that made it obvious that he’s only talking to puppets.
Another problem are the small inconsistencies, there are a few but they are very noticeable. Seeing as this is a remake of the animated movie by Disney, they do bring several songs from the classic movie and though they were mostly great, some songs felt out of place and it diminished the atmosphere around the scene.
With only minor inconsistencies, Disney’s The Jungle Book is possibly one of this year’s best movies. It’s visually impressive, brilliantly voice acted and it’s without a doubt a movie that kids and adults would enjoy. It captured the essence of the Rudyard Kipling novel as well as the animated classic and it merged it into a near perfect adaptation or live action remake.