Many of us are familiar with Rudyard Kipling’s tale of the orphaned man-cub Mowgli and his adventures in the jungle. There have been several film adaptations, two of which have already been produced by Disney. And with recent Disney live-action reboots such as Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland, I wasn’t particularly clamoring for another Jungle Book movie to hit theaters. But trust me when I say you have never seen The Jungle Book quite like this.
Featuring some of the most impressive visual effects in recent memory, Jon Favreau, the director of Elf and Iron Man, creates a film you won’t soon forget. Filled with thrilling action sequences and photo realistic animals, The Jungle Book is one of those rare films that makes you truly forget you’re in a theater. Much like the early animated Disney greats, you can’t help but marvel at the spectacle of it all.
While mostly following the beats of the beloved 1967 adaptation, this movie still manages to make you feel as if you’ve watching something you’ve never seen before. I know this a kids’ movie, but it really is that good. It’s one of those movies that no matter how cynical a moviegoer you are, you can’t help but smile when the ‘Bare Neccesities’ song makes an appearance, or listening to Christopher Walken do his most classic Walken voice as King Louie. It’s good stuff.
The voice talent is fantastic. Bill Murray is perfect as the fun-loving, free-spirit Baloo. Ben Kingsley, Lupita N’yongo and particularly Idris Elba, as the meancing tiger Sher Khan, all elevate their characters. Newcomer Neel Sethi, as Mowgli, is a very talented younger actor, considering he has nothing in the film to act off.
Now the film is rated PG and is certainly a great time for families but fair warning it does have it’s fair share of action, violence, and a bit of death. So parents be forewarned if you have really young kids who get scared easy, it’s nothing worse than what you might catch on Animal Planet, but it could be scary for some viewers.
Now the plot of the movie isn’t going to blow anybody away. The Jungle Book was always a fairly simple story and this one is too. So while it may be fairly predictable, it’s still exciting, entertaining, and heartfelt.
It’s the best of the Disney reboots so far, and I would argue that, without the nostalgia goggles on, it’s actually a better film than the original Disney classic. I will warn you though that if you’re wanting to hear all the music from that first film, you’ll be sad to hear there are only a few minutes of songs in this updated edition. But that doesn’t matter because this film has much more than just the ‘Bare Necesities’ of an entertaining film, it’s one of the best so far this year.