The Jungle Book is a live-adaptation of the story written by Rudyard Kipling more than a 100 years ago and shouldn’t really need any introduction, yet for those that have been living under a rock for all their life, here it goes. The jungle book tells the story of a young boy, Mowgli, who lives in the jungle and is being raised by wolves who are teaching him, how to be a wolf and not a man.
Neel Sethi, who portrays Mowgli, is basically the only non-CG creature that appears in the movie (at least for the most part, even he can’t escape the claws of CGI in some intense moments). The young actor does an admirable job in the lead of this movie and never looks out of place, especially considering that nothing was shot on location and mostly everything he interacts with doesn’t exist in more than a puppeteering form when shooting the scenes. For those that have watched the original 1967 animation, they will be feel very familiar with the character as the performance by Sethi is “cartoonish” and spot on.
The voice acting in the movie is spectacular, all the casting choices for all the actors taking the lead roles nailed it. Bill Murray as Baloo, is as funny as he has ever been and he really is the soul of the movie. Sir Ben Kingsley as Bagheera is also exceptional, bringing that wisdom to the character. However, my personal favourite has to be Idris Elba as Shere Khan, who gives a scintillating voice acting performance; he is haunting, intimidating and everything you’d want from a terrifying villain.
As mentioned, this movie was completely shot in a studio, never on location. It is almost a hundred percent computer generated images, and still, somehow nothing ever looks fake or unrealistic. The animals look spectacular and the jungle looks more alive than ever. Credit has to go to Jon Favreau, whose direction has really taken this movie to another level. He really gets the what it takes to make a huge blockbuster. He has recreated the jungle book with his own ideas imprinted, changing a few things, but keeping the essence of the story intact and achieving the emotional ups and downs in Mowgli’s journey and the interchanging feelings extremely well with his filmmaking style.
A brilliant movie in its own right, but also as a recreation of a classic Disney animation. Credit to the animators and visual FX people for a spectacular and jaw dropping job.