Movie: The Jungle Book
Direction: Jon Favreau
Cast: Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Walken, Neel Sethi
Music: John Debney
Cinematographer: Bill Pope
Editor: Mark Livolsi
Genre: Drama, Adventure, Family, Fantasy
What is it about: It’s an adaptation from Disney’s classic “The Jungle Book”, and the characters taken from the actual book by Rudyard Kipling. It’s a story of an infant lost in the woods and raised by a pack of wolves and a panther. How the kid adapts the wild forms the crux of the story directed by Jon Favreau.
Why it’s disappointing: This sections stays definitely put for this movie.
What to watch out for: Millions of us grew up watching this classic animation “The Jungle Book”. This animated series had a special space in every child back then. The Sundays wouldn’t be Sundays if it doesn’t start with this cartoon feature. Disney has been re-creating the classic stories with advanced animation and 3D technology, which in fact is reviving the fan following for the classics.
Mowgli is an emotion which got infused in to many kids. An 80’s kid will very well relate to that emotion and would agree that this re-creation is like a great presentation. Director Jon Favreau stays loyal to the original and hardly has tampered the essence of it. In fact has re-created the central characters, which splendidly blend in to life like creatures. The animation and VFX was delectable and watching the 2D characters coming alive in 3D animation was a treat to the eyes. Every texture was detailed to its perfection. Right from the shine on “Bhageera” skin to the sparkle in “Kaa” eyes. The jungle looked green when sunny and really dark when it goes down. The scene involving “Kaa” was spectacularly shot with amazing SFX, which gives you sweet creeps. The pounce of “Shere Khan” was treacherous and his roar was dreading. Every Character was detailed to perfection.
What made this film more special were the voices lent by a spectacular cast. Every one of them suited their respective characters and my favourite were “Kaa” and “Baloo”. One is evil another is hilarious.
Neel Sethi as Mowgli was a great find by Jon, he played the role with great dedication and fit the bill perfectly. His lisp added more character to “Mowgli”. He was adorable and at the same time took charge of the character when required and gave a commendable performance. Because churning out a performance when you have to act with no co-actors around is a tough one, and for a debut he did that with élan.
Sir Ben Kingsley as “Bagheera” was great. His voice had that protective instinct, which was perfectly fitting the character. Then comes “Baloo” voiced by Bill Murray, was hands down the best suit for the character. He cracks you at every tense moment in the film and was great to see him work. Followed well was “King Louie” voiced by Christopher Walken, it had the cunning and a colourful character voiced and captured well. Lupita Nyong’o as “Raksha” was a great surprise and was the perfect one.
The star voices of “The Jungle Book” are “Kaa” & “Shere Khan”. Their voices had distinctive characters. “Kaa” was mesmerizing and seductive just like Scarlett Johansson, whereas “Shere Khan” was demanding and dominating like Idris Elba. Perfect suit and was great to see their voices come alive on screen.
The cinematography by Bill Pope was spectacular, capturing the nuances of an animated film where most of the shots would have been in a closed studio is a grave task, and he did that with great style. It was crisply edited by Mark Livolsi. This film had amazing VFX and SFX which was rendered well to give you a delectable experience.
Verdict: Jon Favreau did a spectacular job in re-creating the Disney classic, which makes you re-live the childhood moments in advanced technology. The films is technically sound and is a one which has to be cherished at a well-equipped theatre to experience it to the fullest. My suggestion would be IMAX if possible. A worthy watch this summer, definitely a film for all ages, the older will refresh their memories and the younger will create new ones.