“The Jungle Book” works with more than just the bear necessities
Nick “Chico” Hernandez
From what could have been a simple live action remake comes instead a full-fledged, well voiced, and seamlessly strung together adventure. Prepare to feel like a child again when recognizing old tunes made new again, and characters brought fully to life.
“The Jungle Book” cartoon has always been a favorite among Disney fans, and Rotten Tomatoes (RT) would proves that the remake is just as good. Critics on RT gave “The Jungle Book” 94% and users gave the movie 92%, both certifying the movie as “fresh”. To fans, some similarities will be as prominent as the differences; however, neither hamper the overall quality of the movie.
All of the animals that surround Mowgli (Neel Sethi) look as if they were plucked straight from the jungle that serves as the background. The scenes transition smoothly, but can sometimes leave the viewer temporarily blinded when one scene is darkly lit and the next displays sun kissed tree tops.
The movements fit each animal from the swift Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), to Baloo’s (voice of Bill Murray) rolling around, and even the swinging antics of King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken) and his army of primates.
Something worth mentioning is how the songs are done, as it differs a bit from the childhood cartoon. Instead of immediately opening up the forest floor to song and dance, the singing is more casual. An example of this is Mowgli singing “Bare Necessities” with Baloo, but it feels more casual, more bare, more real-world. The style would be horrible if the movie were animated, but the fit is perfect inside of this live action movie.
The two things in “The Jungle Book” that left me with questions were very minor in detail. The first was the change regarding the elephants. In the cartoon, they were (albeit comically) militaristic. In the movie, they are regarded more as gods, with some characters saying they “shaped the jungle into what it is.” It doesn’t change the core of the movie, but it is a question worth wondering.
The second thing I have to wonder about is how short Mowgli’s hair is. A rough estimate would put the in-movie boy at about ten years old, but the hair isn’t long enough to warrant that age. A fan theory says Mowgli would cut his hair using sharpened rocks.
Overall, “The Jungle Book” will excite and thrill the younger viewers, and re-ignite the child within the older viewers. This a movie worth watching.