REVIEW: ‘The Jungle Book’ enchants a new generation

Movie Review: Live-action remake of 1967 animated Disney film holds it own

By Damian Giampietro

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

“The Jungle Book” takes the bare necessities and revamps the entire jungle, creating an exciting piece of film that could pass for visual art.

This modern version makes younger audiences apart of an adventure that would have been too outdated if they only stumbled across the animated musical.

The live-action family film, released April 15, became an instant success with audiences and critics by captivating a new generation with another reimagining of Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 book, “The Jungle Book,” while also satisfying fans of the original 1967 animated musical made by Walt Disney Productions.

Starring newcomer Neel Sethi with voice appearances from Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito and Christopher Walken.

The movie opens to a young boy, Mowgli (Sethi) running with young wolves through the jungle while being chased by Bagheera (Kingsley) in order to test their skills and become one with the pack.

Mowgli ultimately fails and is quickly comforted by his wolfmother, Raksha (Nyong’o), and given words of wisdom from the pack leader, Akela (Esposito).

Not soon after, the dry season hits the jungle and water becomes scarce, causing all the animals to call a ‘peacetime’ as predator and prey alike gather to drink from the only watering hole.

The most feared predator, a Bengal tiger named Shere Khan (Elba), approaches the creatures and threatens the wolves to hand over the mancub because man is not allowed to be around the animals due to humans being a threat to their way of life.

This begins Mowgli’s long journey home, and he meets a few animals along the way like a goofy brown bear, Baloo (Murray), a hypnotizing python, Kaa (Johansson), and an orangutan-like Gigantopithecus, King Louie (Walken).

The movie’s use of CGI was tasteful and made the animals and setting more majestic and lifelike than just shooting in an actual jungle.

Plus, the cinematography was crisp, capturing the fun and idyllic feel of the original animated version of the film.

Casting for the film was obviously well thought out with each voice encapsulating the characters and their personalities perfectly.

The decision to change Kaa from a male to female was an interesting choice made by the director, Jon Favreau, and quite beneficial as it helped to make the movie more female-friendly instead of having a mainly male cast.

The soundtrack was lively and entertaining, while also lightly incorporating a few songs from the animated version like “The Bare Necessities,” “I Wan’na Be Like You” and “Trust in Me.”

With its box office success, it is already being rumored that a sequel may be in the works or coming to fruition soon.

Though some audiences are disappointed at yet another movie getting a reboot, Favreau and Walt Disney Productions created a remake that could quite possibly be better than the original.