Friday, April 22, 2016

Review: The Jungle Book (2016)

                    'The Jungle Book' Has Me Wanting To Swing Back

               As I went in to actually see the film, it didn't occur to me until then that I went to go see this on Earth Day. Now it sort of makes sense why I saw it. That and the fact that this is one heck of a fun time!

     The Jungle Book is a retelling of the classic tale of a boy named Mowgli (Neel Sethi) who is forced out of the jungle he has always called his home by a bengal tiger known as Shere Khan (Idris Elba). The rest of the film deals with the bonds between him and the animals in his forest as well as him fighting to claim back his jungle.
   What I thought was most impressive was the visual effects. The movie consists of Neel Sethi acting in front a green screen and yet the forest setting along with the animals both look very real. Before seeing the film, I was unsure how it would translate into a live-action adaptation. But it translated very well.

   Speaking of Neel Sethi, I thought he was tremendous. For such a young child actor, he was able to carry the entire film that consists of him acting in front of a green screen. Here is hoping he has a decent career out of this.

   I also really liked the voices behind the animals. A few standouts include Bill Murray as the bear Baloo who was hilarious yet at times heartfelt. Also, Idris Elba brought incredible menace to the role of Shere Khan, demonstrating his vocal range as this is a completely different role from Zootopia where he played the straight-laced yet well-meaning Chief Bogo. Lupita Nyong'o also has a role as Mowgli's adoptive wolf mother Raksha and I was surprised at how big of a role she had. They didn't really advertise her character in the commercials or the trailers so I feared she had a minor role. But it was bigger than the trailers suggested. She did a good job with what she was given and she has me longing to see her back in live action. Thankfully, Queen of Katwe doesn't come out until September.

   Another thing that made this thing very special is how director Jon Favreau is able to weave in different genre elements. It's very funny at times yet there were a few points where I thought I would cry. Even though it's a children's movie, there are still some scenes of great intensity, but it also has some musical numbers. So it's got a little something for everyone, taking an old classic tale and creating an eclectic film going experience that makes a classic.


   Overall, The Jungle Book is an amazing experience for the whole family that adapts a classic story and creates a film that contains what makes a classic piece of cinema: It's funny, sad, musical, intense, and all around, just a great time at the movies. Don't miss it!

Grade: A+