Film Review: The Jungle Book (2016)

Rating:

Based on Rudyard Kipling‘s classic collection of stories, and a re-imagining of the 1967 Disney animation, directed by Jon Favreau, The Jungle Book tells the story of Mowgli (Neel Sethi), an orphaned human living in the remote jungle of India. Guided by his guardians – Raksha the wolf (Lupita Nyong’o), Baloo the bear (Bill Murray), and Bagheera the black panther (Ben Kingsley) – Mowgli sets out on a journey of self-discovery, meeting monsters of the jungle – including Kaa (Scarlett Johansson) and King Louie (Christopher Walken) – while evading the threatening Shere Khan (Idris Elba).

The following post is a review of the film only. You can read my review of the book on its own here or my comparison of the film to the book here.

It’s not often that a remake – let alone a CGI-heavy remake – of many of our favourite childhood films is successful, but The Jungle Book has certainly surpassed all of our expectations on that front. With equal measures of action and comedy, Favreau directs this already enjoyable story with real style.

The CGI effects really are some of the best in recent years of film, and as a film that is primarily about a young boy talking to animals, the photorealistic animation looks flawless. Combined with a truly exquisite voice cast, this film is a treat for both the eyes and ears and will undoubtedly fill you with joy on many levels.

Whilst I wouldn’t say that the film improves on its predecessor (because, in my eyes, you can’t beat the Disney classic), there are certainly a few things that this adaptation does better. For one thing, it better portrays Shere Khan’s character, highlighting his limp and scarred face, turning him into the truly scary beast that he is. The film also betters shows the wolves’ relationship with Mowgli, and gives each of the characters an incredibly strong and unique personality.

That being said, this latest adaptation is very much a re-imagining of the Disney film and not a new adaptation of Kipling’s book. This new film does include a few original scenes from the book which the Disney film didn’t show, and even has a much darker edge to it, as Kipling’s story was, but there’s still much that the film changes or misses out on at the same time.

Whilst it is very much a family film, there are quite a few jumpy moments which only adds to the thrilling adventure that this film takes you on. But, with the inclusion of the brilliant Disney songs we all know and love, each with their own unique twist on them, this film will leave audiences of all ages with a huge smile on their face.

This latest version of The Jungle Book is more a re-imagining of the 1967 Disney animation than a new adaptation of Kipling’s classic, but it’s a beautiful and worthy rendition of his work all the same. This is definitely a film that needs to be seen on the big screen.

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