Monday 11 April 2016

The Jungle Book (2016) Movie Review!!!

The Superhero here is the movie itself!!! Read our review for more!

Jungle Book, just like Lady and the Tramp, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White et al, is a true classic of the Disney stable.

They’re classics for a reason.  Despite the animation and drawing styles perhaps appearing slightly dated, their stories are definitely not.  These are timeless classics that both kids and grown ups can enjoy.

Many who used to enjoy these movies as kids will likely now be adults enjoying these movies with their own kids.

But if the originals are such classics, then why even bother to remake these films?

This Jungle Book movie just gave us the perfect reason!

How many of you have actually revisited the original Disney cartoon in recent years?

The sad truth is that a lot of these classics are simply lost on people today. 

Out here in Singapore, the number of people I meet who haven’t seen Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Ghost Busters, The Goonies as well as most Disney classics, is simply criminal.

If you ask me, it should be made compulsory viewing in schools!

So if these remakes are helping to introduce these classics to a whole new generation then I’m all for it, especially when the remakes are made with as much love, respect and skill as Iron Man director Jon Favreau has put into his Jungle Book.

Favreau set out to remind us why we loved the original so much and he’s definitely succeeded, so much so that Warner Brothers have pushed back their own version back even further to 2018.

This is a heart felt remake, respectful to the original and even more faithful to the original Rudyard Kipling story than the 1967 cartoon was.

I loved it!

The story of a little boy called Mowgli (Neel Sethi), raised by wolves and then hunted by fearsome tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba) has never looked so good.

Mowgli must try to out-smart Shere Khan while deciding where he belongs – in the jungle or back in the so-called safety of the human world.

But fear not, Mowgli has help from trustworthy and noble panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) and of course everyone’s favourite bear, Baloo (Bill Murray). 

Did you know Murray's older brother, Brian-Doyle Murray, in fact voiced Baloo in a 1998 version of the story!  Pretty cool!

The names of the animals are in fact the Indian names of those animals (Baloo means bear in Hindi), which is what author Rudyard Kipling incorporated into his tales published all those years ago in 1894.

The effects are fantastic and Favreu's decision to keep animals looking like animals rather than simply superimposing motion captured human expressions onto the animals faces (like they did in Planet of the Apes) is a masterful one.

The story telling is very smart, keeping the core of the story intact but at the same time making it relatable for modern day audiences.  I especially loved how they portrayed the animals’ perception of fire, but it’s the voice casting which really seals the deal – it’s absolutely spot on!

Murray and Ben Kingsley are simply fantastic, though I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention Christopher Walken as King Louie.

Neel Sethi does a fantastic job as the young Mowgli, the only non-CGI thing on screen.  

After a chance audition, his world must’ve been seriously flipped upside down after getting this role.

I love reading and hearing about how he now hangs out with ‘that guy from Ghostbusters’! So cool!!

Yes, unlike the Cinderella remake, this remake does features a few songs and musical numbers but it works! 

Further proof of his respect for the original, director Jon Favreau ensured it was Richard M. Sherman himself, the man who wrote all the catchy songs for the original 1967 cartoon, that wrote and re-worked the classic jingles for this remake! 

The balance achieved is just right so you don’t feel like you’re watching a full on musical and it never detracts from the action elements of the movie.

I caught a pretty late showing of the movie but it’s the first time I’ve seen such a wide range of ages coming to see a film. 

There were little kids (miraculously they remained engaged and silent for the most part) and there were lots of older people with their walking frames and walking aids, it’s a testament to how much the original is loved.

They all came out smiling, the old folk probably having relived fond memories from their youth while the youth were probably making memories they’ll be able to look back fondly on when they’re old.

This is the beauty of good cinema.  It’s not just passing the time for a few hours, it’s creating memories and dreams, it’s creating childhoods, it’s magic!

You don’t need a degree in comic books to enjoy the Jungle Book.

First Cinderella and now Jungle Book, thanks to Disney, people are actually looking forward to remakes.  I can’t wait for Beauty and the Beast to get the re-do treatment!

There are funny moments (thanks Bill), there are suspenseful and heartfelt moments, there are scary moments and of course there are lots of happy moments.  

This is a movie that will go down in history as a classic.  

I'm already looking forward to getting my paws on the Blu-ray & fingers crossed it'll keep its Dolby Atmos soundrack!!

Rating 5 out of 5.


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