FILM REVIEW: THE JUNGLE BOOK
Release date: 15/04/2016
147 mins | PG
Writer: Justin Marks
Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Walken , Lupita Nyong’o
Outstanding, beautiful and daring!
The Jungle Book is a magnificent work of art and an outstanding performance. Tales of friendship, family and loyalty, this well-loved masterpiece has been superbly adapted from Disney’s 1967 fun-filled musical animation, which itself was inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s book published in 1894.
Mowgli, an orphaned young boy, finds himself lost and abandoned in the Jungle as a very small infant. He is found by a wise and sympathetic Panther called Bagheera who believes the boy would do well being raised by a wolf pack. For many years Mowgli is taken in by the wolves and is raised as one of their own until a great drought sweeps the Jungle and a ‘water truce’ is declared and every species of animal may drink at the ‘peace rock’ (when uncovered as a result of lack of water, there is peace). It is here Shere Khan learns of Mowgli’s existence and pledges that, once the truce is over and the peace rock is once again submerged under water, Mowgli shall be hunted and killed. It is here Mowgli’s true adventure begins.
While staying as close to the original animation as can be possible for live action, The Jungle Book pulls off the representation of the animal’s characters without making the film too childish or the animals too silly. At the same time, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, there is a perfect equilibrium of the fun and the serious themes running throughout. One of the most impressive features of the film is the musical integration, the songs are well performed, well adapted and fit well within the overall feel of the film.
Mowgli is a clever young boy, and extremely resourceful. The Jungle Book has had a long standing affiliation with the Cub Scouts of the Scout Association, this film definitely exemplifies and strengthens this bond with Mowgli’s inspired and practical ‘man tricks’, which is first rejected by the animals of the Jungle, particularly Bagheera, Akela and the wolf pack. However, Mowgli uses his intelligence and creations to help save a life, showing Bagheera and the jungle that humans aren’t all bad, and represents a possible union between man and animal.
There is only one thing that was a tad excessive and that is King Louie’s sheer size, especially when contrasted to the orangutan the character is modelled after. King Louie could have maintained his regal and threatening demeanour while also being a metre or two smaller!
The personalities of each character were beautifully crafted and tailored using the well-defined template provided by the previous Disney adaptation. While Baloo is fun-loving bear filled with life, song and a sense of humour, Shere Khan is a deranged, evil and bloodthirsty tiger whose animosity escapes no creature lurking in the jungle.
The Jungle Book is definitely worthy of any praise it receives, it is a fantastic, adventure filled and magical experience!