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The Jungle Book (2016) Reviewed By Jay

United States, 25 December 2015


Jay´s Review

Art+Science=Animatronics, which makes it possible to create a film with fierce life-like animals who interrelate with a human child and no creature is harmed! After all, this Disney production is rated PG, so even though some of the scenes may scare the piddle out of a youngster, it will still be family fare. As Rudyard Kipling's classic tale of a boy raised in the jungle comes to life once again, I can't help but smile as I imagine his amazement if he could see what stunning things can be done with his stories these days.

Director Jon Favreau ("Iron Man"), working with Justin Marks who adapted Kipling's book, has stayed reasonably true to the original as the quest for fire becomes a central issue. His blending of CGI and real life is seamless and the involving story sweeps us along at a break-neck speed.

Here are some of the voices:

  • * Neel Sethi (in his first feature-length film) is Mowgli, the man cub raised by a pack of wolves, a black panther, and a bear. The motto of the wolf pack is important!
  • * Ben Kinglsey ("Exodus: Gods and Kings") Bageera is one of Mowgli's foster parents. In fact, he's the one who brought a frightened little orphan to the wolf pack.
  • * Bill Murray ("Fantastic Mr. Fox") We all love Baloo and are glad to see this happy soul again. The animation is terrific, his dialogue is very funny and he has a good, good heart.
  • * Lupita Nyong'o ("Star Wars") Raksha is a gentle mother, but do NOT threaten her cubs!
  • Scarlett Johansson ("Lucy") Kaa is a silky-voiced python who can hypnotize Mowgli. She wants to be his close, close friend....
  • * Idris Elba ("Zootopia") Shere Kahn, scarred and half blinded by Man's fire, vows to rid the jungle of humans, particularly Mowgli. His passion for revenge leaps off the screen.
  • * Christopher Walken ("Eddie the Eagle") I always thought King Louie would be associated with Louis Armstrong, but Walken steps into those big shoes and I am impressed!.

All in all, we loved the animals: the porcupine ("It's MINE!"), the elephants in all their majesty, the snoopy armadillo-like critter, the slow-moving tortoises, the darling wolf cubs, the ever-alert meerkat, the lumbering rhinos and the cape buffalo (although their stampede was pretty scary!). I found the monkeys to be upsetting, so to me, that scene lasted a bit too long.

The 3D only made me jump once, although there are several "Gotcha!" moments. This movie is a wonder! The story is intelligent, some of the situations are very funny, and Shere Kahn is genuinely terrifying. The children in the audience were riveted! (So was I...)

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