Aparna (inspirethoughts) wrote,

Movie Critique 2016 – 06/14/2016: The Jungle Book

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a movie review.
Prologue: Go here.

Stars: 5 / 5
Recommendation: An absolutely delightful film that made the book come alive and real.

The Jungle Book is the 2016 American live-action film based on the 1894 book of the same name by Rudyard Kipling produced by Walt Disney Pictures. The movie also picked some elements from the 1967 American animated musical film of the same name - produced by Walt Disney Productions then.

The movie introduced Neel Sethi as the famous Mowgli and features other famous actors in pivotal roles - Bill Murray as Baloo, Ben Kinglsey as Bagheera, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa and Christopher Walken as King Louie (a Gigantopithecus) among others.

The movie plot is well known - a man-cub, Mowgli, brought up by an Indian wolf and her pack is the target of the evil Shere Khan's eye (well, his scarred eye across his face); who decides to leave the pack to avoid a conflict and war; in search of his man-village where he assumes he can be safe from Shere Khan meets some great friends and some unavoidable foes and finally comes back to the pack to face his biggest fear to come out on top.
The CGI effects for this animated movie are beyond compare and very impressive. Although the plot covers only the first three chapters of the original book, it makes up for a complete story. However the plot in this version has lot of differences to the 1967 animated movie as well as to the book. Perhaps leaving it to viewers mind on the concept of a sequel - which seems to be a common thing with movie makers now-a-days. Compared to the 1967 movie, this movie however retained the dark undertones from the book - cruelty of Shere Khan when he swipes at Akela (leader of the wolf pack that raised Mowgli), without a thought and kills him, the subtle rashness in the King Louie who insists Mowgli on getting the "red flower", the hidden cunningness in the python Kaa.

Neel Sethi lived the part as Mowgli. For a child actor debuting in a movie, he has showed immense professionalism in his acting and yet keeping his child-like nature for the role as well as for himself. Him being the only human character in the entire movie, it must have been a tough ride for Neel Sethi to act. However, he made it look like a piece of cake. Kudos the young boy's acting capabilities. I would love to see him in more movies in future and hopefully not fade away like Dev Patel and other Indian-origin actors who act in American and British movies.
I remember Kaa being an ally to Mowgli in all of the cartoon movies I have seen so far. I wonder why the director portrayed Kaa as a foe in this version. Also Kaa was a male in the 1967 version and is a female here.

They also changed King Louie from an Orangutan to a huge ape -  gigantopithecus (an ancestor to Orangutan long extinct before).

This version uses the song Bear Necessities from the 1967 animated movie. Here is the original song:

Mowgli is shown to have advanced human ideas compared to the animals around proving him to be really a man-cub. Here he has invented a bucket with a broken shell for filling water and drinking.

The morals hidden in Rudyard Kipling's book are not completely snuffed off by the Disney Pictures. A scene where Bagheera bows to a pack of Elephants passing through and explains to Mowgli why the Elephants are to be revered and explained - if only humans can realize the importance of existence of every being instead of killing them.

The story also shows an infant Mowgli when his past is revealed. But I don’t remember this either being in the book or the previous movies. Perhaps I might have missed.

I also liked the closing credits, giving life the names. It includes a caricature of Baloo, Bagheera and Mowgli giving us the impression that they are a family now.

A wonderful movie to watch at any time and I enjoyed it thoroughly. As sweet as the book I read and the animated movies I have seen so far, this certainly has made a mark for itself. If you have missed it on the big screen, don’t miss it on the small screen either. Enjoy!

Spoiler Alerts:
1) Have to watch the 1967 original animated movie again. Been a long time. More about that version here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jungle_Book_(1967_film)

2) Infact this were not the only two animated movies made based on the book. There were several:
  a. A TV Spinoff titled Tail Spin was made in 1990 with the character Baloo in it.

  b. A sequel The Jungle Book 2 was made by Disney in 2003 - another animated film.

     c. However the first live-action movie adapted from the original book was made in 1942 and titled as Jungle Book. This movie's plot is based on the third chapter from the original book and Mowgli is a teenager in this.

    d. Soviet Union of Russia also made a movie titled Adventures of Mowgli in 1973. Surprisingly they have kept the plot pretty close to the book. They were released as five separate episode between 1967 and 1971 initially and then released as a complete set in 1973.
    e. Another movie in 1998 came out based on this book titled The Jungle Book: Mowgli’s Story.
3) The Ape King Louie was never a character in original Rudyard Kipling book. However the Disney versions had a real part for this one.
4) The Law of the Jungle narrated by Akela in the film is a poem that appears in Rudyard Kipling's The Second Jungle Book.
Tags: critique by amateur, movies, reviews

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