The Jungle Book *SPOILER ALERT* Review
Director: Jon Favreau.
How can anyone see this film and not think about the classic Disney animated '67 original? You could be forgiven for forgetting about Stephen Sommer's '94 remake (whatever happened to Jason Scott Lee?) But you do have to put all of that to one side. Even though it's considered a live-action film, it's CGI rich with, surprisingly what's reported, everything from the locations and of course the animals. Meaning Neel Sethi's Mowgli having to green screen throughout. With this in mind, the effects are beyond brilliant, some of the best I have ever seen and you can put your trust in Disney having gone to adventure land to ensure everything comes to life and look so real. Now, having said this, apart from the amazing effects team at Disney and the Jim Henson Co., a lot of credit has to go to Iron Man director and funny man Jon Favreau and to young Neel Sethi. Being honest, I found the kid's acting a little annoying but, I can't deny him as it can't have been easy acting in front of, what is essentially people in diving suits glittered with tennis balls in a hall of green. As for the rest of the cast, I'm still undecided and will probably have to watch it again to make up my mind. Idris Elba does a good Shere Khan (fast becoming a Disney regular with Finding Dory coming soon and with Zootropolis already in the bag) I think Sir Kingsley suited Bagheera, and I actually enjoyed Walken's King Louie even if a little comical. Not sure about Murray's Baloo and Johansson was hardly in it. It doesn't swing too far off the original tale, keeping the bare necessities and some elements have been tweaked for obvious cinematic reasons. Some of the scenes reminded me a lot of other movies, Mowgli meeting Kaa felt like Skywalker and the dark cave in Dagobah, meeting King Louie was like Meeting Jabba the Hutt and I was half expecting Mowgli to start shouting "Come on... Come on! Do it! Do it! Come on. Come on! Kill me! I'm here! Kill me!..." From Predator. Disney regular John Debney, who previously composed with Favraeu on Iron Man 2 and Elf, provides a good score which hints towards the ever-popular songs from the original. Though, when the songs do eventually make an appearance, they don't have the same impact as the original did. Still, they don't totally ruin the film. It's enjoyable and I liked it better than expected but I wouldn't go as far as saying it lit my red flower. Certainly recommended for family viewing, it is a Disney film after all. With the incredible job done on the CGI, makes you wonder if they have thought about reworking The Lion King in this medium. Would be interesting. What other Disney classics out there could they rework? Bambi? Aladdin? Now, in another jungle, Gollum, Andy Serkis is currently directing and starring in his own version of Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book; himself playing Baloo with Cumberbatch as Shere Khan, Bale possibly doing his husky voice for Bagheera and Cate Blanchett as Kaa.
Running Time: 8
The Cast: 5
Job Description: 8
The Extra Bonus Point: 5 for the amazing PETA awarded CGI.