Review: “The Jungle Book” takes the classic tale to a new level

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Review: “The Jungle Book” takes the classic tale to a new level

Julia Fickenscher

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From Cinderella to Alice in Wonderland to Maleficent, Disney has recently been bringing classic animated movies to life. Their newest live action remake, The Jungle Book, may be the most unique and clever rendition yet.  

Following the same plot as the 1967 film, a human “man cub” named Mowgli is raised with wolves and a black panther in the jungle. Although most animals see Mowgli as nothing more than a peculiar creature, a stubborn tiger named Shere Khan sees all humans as a vicious being because of their possession of the “red flower” (known to humans as fire). In order to protect Mowgli, he must head towards the “man village.” Getting lost along the way, he meets a hypnotizing snake, a powerful monkey and friendly bear who teaches him all about living with the “bare necessities.”

Ultimately, Mowgli has to learn that embracing his “human tricks” while still following the “wolf life” in the jungle can help him accomplish anything, whether that be stealing some honey from a beehive or fighting off a certain tiger.

Director Jon Favreau did an exceptional job bringing each animal to life, balancing their personality with a realistic appearance.  The whole movie was shot on a soundstage in downtown Los Angeles, featuring one main actor and Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) animals.

To replicate animal’s movement, photo and video references were used to make sure everything was exact, from the way each animal walked to their jaw movement. A variety of softwares were used to change the shading and lighting until everything was exactly right.

 

 

Mowgli is played by 12-year-old Neel Sethi, who really completes the whole movie. Not only does his physical appearance perfectly resemble that of the animated character, but he does an excellent job acting with the various animals who weren’t physically there when filming.

Well-known actors and actresses voice the 70 different species of animals in the movie. Bill Murray, featured in various comedies such as Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day, plays Baloo (the bear). The snake is voiced by Scarlett Johansson, known for her role as Charlotte in Lost in Translation and Black Widow in The Avengers. Oscar award winner Lupita Nyong’o is the Mother Wolf in the film.

A live action version of The Jungle Book may have seemed unrealistic, but the cast and crew really bring the film to life in incredible ways. The computer-generated animals appear completely lifelike and real, and are able to speak and move their lips in a way that is believable. The film does a good job of balancing out the kid-friendly comedy that the original movie had with more intense, action-filled scenes to draw in a more mature audience.  

Disney’s 1967 version of The Jungle Book is famous for its soundtrack, and although the new film does not have all the original songs, they made sure to include “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wanna Be Like You” to bring back childhood memories for viewers.

The movie is so far proving to be successful. It earned a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as an 8.1/10 rating on IMDb, and $32.4 million were earned on opening day.

Between the catchy music, playful humor, intense action and adorable animals, The Jungle Book is the perfect movie for any time.  An impressive cast and crew definitely delivered a stellar performance for this highly anticipated movie.  Overall, The Jungle Book does an excellent job of bringing the original animated film to life.

 

Background Movie Poster Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

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