The Jungle Book (2016) Movie Review
This latest adaptation of the original tale of “The Jungle Book” once again tells the story of Mowgli (Neel Sethi) an orphan boy who has been raised by wolves for his entire life. However, once Shere Khan (Idris Elba) arrives and wants him banished from the jungle, Mowgli journeys through The Jungle. There he discovers new friends and enemies and he discovers himself along the way in this truly great adventure.
It’s clear from the opening scene of this latest remake of the “Jungle Book” that were are in for an intense and exciting adventure. And the film keeps it’s promise until the very last scene. What proves in between is even more special.
In this day and age of cinema, remakes and sequels and reboots are all around us. There is no getting rid of them, that’s a fact- no matter how unnecessary some of them are. So here we must hold on to hope and hopefully a good one comes out once in awhile. And the reason why this film is such a great remake is that it breaths new life and excitement into an already exciting story, but it doesn’t ruin the original tale or the charm, it brings it forward. No matter how dark this film can get at times, the filmmakers haven’t forgotten how to bring soul, heart and charm into this already much darker adaptation (the darkest in fact..)
This film couldn’t have been so exciting without director Jon Favreau behind the camera. He has been the director of films like “Iron Man” and “Cowboys Vs Aliens,” so him taking on another action-filled adventure isn’t a big surprise. His careful attention to the soul of the film while making it much darker is balanced thoroughly, and the action he has crafted here is fantastic. All of the action sequencing are tense and polished visually, however, the visuals never outshine the action and characters which should and are the standouts of the action, not what’s around it. Yet, there is still an eye for visuals. In fact, the whole movie is computer generated with no real set and yet it all looks so real. It’s absolutely outstanding how basically everything is computer generated yet it looks so real and feels so real. The audio is mixed in extremely well and the sound effects are fantastic. It’s mind-blowing how this movie looks so real yet it’s not. In fact, this whole movie is mind-blowing and an engaging entertaining adventure.
The characters are all excellently realized and developed. Baloo (voiced by Bill Murray) really is the heart of the film, he’s hilarious and he is probably my favorite character in the entire film. The main villain of the film, Shere Khan is a fantastic villain. You can understand why he is doing what he is doing, even if you don’t agree with it- which is what a great villain should be like. His scenes are extremely intense and Idris Elba’s voice was perfect for the role. The rest of the voice cast is absolutely fantastic and the casting is really great. The only actor in the film who didn’t contribute just their voice is Neel Sethi, the only non CGI generated part of the whole film. He does a great job playing Mowgli, especially considering that he wasn’t working with actual actors- he was interacting with nothing during filming. You can tell he puts a lot of effort into his physical performance and he delivers one of the better child performances of the past couple of years.
Obviously, one of the better aspects of older “Jungle Book” adaptations was the music. And once again, it’s great. The musical score is fitting and creates for some really memorable tense sequences. The musical numbers are amazing, the very few in it. They do feel a little phoned in, but they work. Especially “The Bare Necessities.” It’s simply one of the highlights of this film.
The writing is solid here. Of course, since it’s a kid film, you can expect some cliches like the main protagonist being saved seconds before death a few times, or an exposition heavy scene with Kaa that just felt really out of place. It’s just little things like that that make a few spots a little lazy but other than that, the writing was just fine. The characters were well-written and had their respectable character arcs. The narrative keeps the film moving at a fine pace and overall keeps a good tone throughout.
Really, this is truly an exciting adventure that had me on the edge of my seat and it had me laughing quite a bit. It’s dark yet it never forgets to have a core charm and soul and I can’t say I was ever bored while watching this film. There are a few small issues with the film, but otherwise, this is a fantastic remake that is definitely recommended. It’s a total blast and the world that it pulls the audience into is truly breath-taking. It’s an adventure for the big screen, and one that has even some strong themes as well. Bring your family or friends to see this film, it’s worth a theater trip for sure!
CONSENSUS: This latest remake of the original “Jungle Book” classic offers exciting action, great characters for everybody to enjoy and manages to breaths new life into the story without ruining it, as well as setting a new standard for modern-day CGI. It’s the rare remake that is better than what it’s remaking.