Remake of The Jungle Book Receives Critical Acclaim
by Henry Claudy on Friday, April 29th, 2016
On April 15th, 2016, The Jungle Book, based off of Rudyard Kipling’s book of the same name and the Disney adaptation thereof, was released in theaters. This incarnation of The Jungle Book follows the recent trend of remaking classic Disney animated movies into live action films. True to the story many of us know and love, the narrative follows young Mowgli’s adventures in the Indian jungle. Critics have praised the film, and it is on track to gross over one billion dollars.
The film’s plot does not stray too far from the original Disney film’s. After being deserted in the jungle as an infant, Mowgli, played by Neel Sethi, is adopted by the black panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) and cared for by a pack of wolves. The story then follows Mowgli and his quest to fit into jungle life; the film mostly focuses on the issue of belonging, as it becomes apparent that the jungle is not fit for a “man-cub”. The movie, however, is much more action-focused than the original Disney animation. Despite having many intense action sequences and chase scenes, the film never rose above a PG rating — and I found myself laughing quite a bit in between action scenes.
The cast of the movie is certainly star-studded. Bill Murray provides the voice for the lazy and carefree bear Baloo; Idris Elba voices the cruel and intense tiger Shere Khan; Lupita Nyong’o portrays the loving mother wolf Raksha; and Christopher Walken voices the pseudo-mob boss, a Gigantopithecus monkey named King Louie. All of the voice acting in the film is top notch and not the least bit distracting.
One fear I had walking into the theater was whether or not the movie would preserve the songs that made the original movie so lovable. Much to my pleasure, the most popular songs from the 1967 Disney original were indeed represented in this new movie. A large grin plastered across my face, I heard Bill Murray hum and sing along to the classic “Bare Necessities” and listened to Christopher Walken’s distinctive voice in “I Wanna Be Like You”.
This film is also visually stunning and well thought out. The sprawling jungles, ancient ruins, and jungle animals — from the smallest rodents to the largest elephants — are shown in such detail that it is sometimes unbelievable that they were created digitally. In fact, the only thing not created via special effects was the boy Mowgli. The visuals of The Jungle Book create a truly engaging and entirely believable world… well as much as a world with talking animals can be believed.
Overall, I would highly recommend this reimagining of The Jungle Book. The cast brings so much talent to the table. While we all know the storyline, this newest version has captured everyone’s fascination with the original tale. Will Pincince (II) described the film as “absolutely stunning; a great rendition of a classic movie”. No matter your age or interest in the original movie, the remake will capture your attention and your imagination; all elements of The Jungle Book unite to create a beautiful and charming story that will be held in high regard for many years to come.
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