From Walt Disney Pictures comes the live action/CGI reimagining of the 1967 animated version of The Jungle Book, based off of the novel by Rudyard Kipling. The new version of The Jungle Book has all of the characters from the original, along with a storyline that follows, but adds onto, the older animated plot.
The movie starts off with Mowgli (Neel Sethi) running through the jungle with the pack of wolves that took him in as a baby and raised him as one of their own. After falling behind the wolves, Mowgli is told by Bagheera (Ben Kingsley), the black panther that acts kind of like Mowgli’s guardian, that he has to learn to run with the wolves if he is going to survive in the jungle since he is a man-cub. Soon after this, the dry season begins and dries up a good majority of the water in the jungle. During a water truce, where every animal can come to the Peace Rock watering hole with no fear of being hunted or eaten, the tiger, Shere Khan (Idris Elba) sees Mowgli and threatens that if the wolves don’t bring Mowgli to him when the dry season ends, Shere Khan will go and take the man-cub and kill anyone who stands in his way. Once the dry season ends and the rains come back, Mowgli makes the decision to leave the pack in order to save them. Bagheera goes with him, saying that Mowgli’s only chance of surviving being hunted by the ferocious tiger would be to go to the man village. On the way there, they are attacked by Shere Khan and separated. Afterwards, Mowgli comes to a very thick canopy in a dark part of the jungle. Here, he meets Kaa (Scarlett Johansson), an absolutely enormous Indian python, who hypnotizes the young man-cub and shows him a vision of Mowgli’s father defending baby Mowgli from Shere Khan and dying. Just before the snake can eat the hypnotized boy, something comes and attacks her, saving Mowgli. This turns out to be a himalayan brown bear named Baloo (Bill Murray), who, after saving Mowgli, gets him to gather a bunch of honey combs from some nearby cliffs. From here, Mowgli, Baloo and a few others go through the jungle, with various problems arising, like Mowgli being kidnapped by the gigantic orangutan, King Louie (Christopher Walken), and eventually culminating in having to stop Shere Khan from trying to kill Mowgli.
So many things about this movie were good, one thing that I liked a bunch was the CGI of the movie. The fact is, there were only two actors actually in the movie, the rest being voice actors for CGI animals. Everything was so well done and smooth, including the entirety of the jungle, all of the animals, and how they talked. Except for the animals, it was really hard to tell what in the movie was computer generated and what was real, which really says something about the work put into making everything look as real as possible.
Another fantastic aspect of the movie was the story. While they had to follow the original Rudyard Kipling novel, they also kept true to some of the story in the old 1967 animated version, including Baloo singing the song “The Bare Necessities”, and King Louie singing “I Wanna Be Like You” (which Christopher Walken did a fantastic job of singing). But Disney decided to change up the story some, taking a risk that many movie remakes end up paying for. But in this case, that risk paid off and the plot of the movie was absolutely fantastic, keeping you engrossed in the movie for the entire time.
In all honesty, I cannot find anything about this movie that I didn’t love. The only thing that I thought would be good was if Kaa had a little more screen time than she ended up with. She had a certain creep factor that gave you chills. But that was the only thing that could have made the movie a bit better.
This Disney remake was overall amazing and a must see for any fans of The Jungle Book. From the CGI, to the updated story and characters, nothing about this movie was done poorly or anything along those lines. So overall, I give The Jungle Book four out of four stars.