For special effects-obsessed film fans, Jon Favreau’s live-action remake of 1967’s The Jungle Book will have them hooked from the beginning. Previous trailers offered a good helping of what was to be expected, but watching the whole thing has a rather spectacular effect on the soul, particularly on those who adored the cartoon and Rudyard Kipling’s books.
With a glorious lineup of stars voicing the CGI animals, and a promising young talent in Neel Sethi (who plays Mowgli), The Jungle Book never ceases to impress. The animated Disney cartoon is one many older audiences will be familiar with, and for the most part Favreau hasn’t diverted from this. But that’s not to say the film’s story isn’t just as captivating the second time around. With the added benefit of CGI animals (from adorable to downright terrifying), breathtaking shots and an updated score, Mowgli’s fight for survival against Shere Khan (Idris Elba) feels even more real…the stakes even higher.
I hadn’t expected newcomer Sethi to steal the show as much as he did, but this is one fearsome man cub. Every bit as spirited as the character he plays so brilliantly, Sethi shines the most during his final showdown with Shere Khan, and makes it very clear that he’s a talent to watch.
While Favreau hired the best of the best to voice the famous animal characters, from Scarlett Johansson as Kaa to Bill Murray as Baloo, it was most definitely Sir Ben Kingsley as Bagheera who helped carry the film, along with a perfectly cast Idris Elba as Khan.
Visually this was an outstanding accomplishment and a great win for Favreau’s directing career. Take the family, and hum along to some familiar tunes.
Image source: Walt Disney Pictures.