The classic animated Jungle Book (1967) from Disney is one of my favourite animated films of all time. This new Jungle Book film from Disney isn’t animated, but is a live action remake, with CGI animals. It comes from director Jon Favreau, who many will know as the director that brought us Iron Man (2008) and Iron Man 2 (2010). So with a great director, a story I love and a cast filled with greats such as Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o and Scarlett Johansson, there’s not much to argue against for a reason not to go and see this.
The Jungle Book is a story about a young boy named Mowgli who lives in the jungle, is brought up by wolves, but doesn’t really belong. You see he’s a man cub, he really needs to be with his own kind and not in the jungle living with all the animals. This causes some tension with Shere Khan (Idris Elba) who thinks it’s best just to kill the boy before he becomes dangerous like other men. Should Mowgli go back to his people, or should he stay in the jungle?
The story is a classic and there probably aren’t many people out there who don’t know the story of The Jungle Book, if you don’t know it then I really don’t what you were doing with your life. There’s no real problem with the plot of this film, it holds up well and manages to be slightly different to the popular animated film so that you don’t feel like you’re watching exactly the same thing, just in live action. It’s all good really.
The voice acting is well done and all members of the cast seem to me to be well suited for the roles in which they were cast. I don’t know if anyone will ever be a better voice actor for Shere Khan after George Sanders who seemed to be born for it, but you know everyone here did their best. Neel Sethi who is actually the only real life person in the film amongst his computer generated cast does perform quite well all throughout the film and looks to be a great new young talent.
Where I did think the film did lack quite a bit though was with the musical scores. There wasn’t anything real great from the original pieces at all. While at times it seemed to reuse some songs from the animated film, which I do love, but for some reason they didn’t seem as catchy in this one.
Special effects were great, with characters like Shere Khan, Bagheera, Baloo and Kaa really looking very realistic and at times very dangerous. As a children’s film I do wonder if it’s a bit too violent and scary for many younger children, with director Jon Favreau making this one a lot darker both in tone and with the violence level than the cartoon was, which by contrast is much brighter and happier.
Overall The Jungle Book was good fun and being a story that I’ve always enjoyed, I don’t mind going in to see what they could do with all the special effects they have available these days. Voice acting is all great, young Neel Sethi delivers a great performance. But for people who are taking very young kids in to see this one, keep in mind it’s quite a bit darker and much more violent than the cartoon. It’s overall a fairly decent remake of a story many may have heard many times by now, but if you do love that story, it’s always fun to hear it again.