The Jungle Book
Release Date: April 15, 2016
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Parents need to know that The Jungle Book is a live-action/CGI update of Rudyard Kipling's classic book of short stories that has many scary/intense scenes involving menacing wild animals. With its blend of live-action and photo-realistic computer-generated effects, this action-packed adventure -- which was inspired by Disney's 1967 animated musical and has an all-star voice cast that includes Idris Elba, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken, and Scarlett Johansson -- tells the story of young Mowgli (Neel Sethi), the orphaned "man cub" raised as a wolf and hated by the jungle's most vicious predator, tiger Shere Khan. There are several jump-worthy, intense moments (including one sudden and particularly sad death and several vicious animal fight sequences involving fangs, fur, claws, snarls, and roars) that are very likely to scare younger viewers (especially when seen in 3-D). Kids who are familiar with the story and know the animals they're seeing aren't real will probably be fine, but preschoolers and younger elementary-aged kids who have trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality may not be able to handle Mowgli's frequent peril. All of that said, on the definite upside, the movie is gorgeous, and there are clear, strong messages about the importance of courage, teamwork, family (especially the non-traditional kind), and friendship.Click here to read the full review
"The Jungle Book" is one of the most effective blends of computer-generated imagery and live action in recent memory.Click here to read the full review
Although not the best live action reinterpretation of an animated film, it’s good enough to make the time and effort to see, especially for fans of the earlier version or the genre. This edition of The Jungle Book may not go down in history as a classic but kids (and maybe their parents) will love it all the same.Click here to read the full review
What Works? The film is certainly a visual feast. Lush jungle landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for adventure. And unlike previous CGI-fests (like Disney’s garish Maleficent), The Jungle Book's graphics don't frantically compete with its characters for the viewer's attention. The structure works well for children: the locations drive the action, and each new place provides a fresh challenge for the young hero. Most importantly, director Jon Favreau provides an interesting angle on the Man vs. Nature motif. Many films pick a side to champion, and then vilify the other. Rather, this story shows that, just as each animal in the jungle has its own beauty and strength, there is something unique and special about humans too, including our ability to make choices based on more than mere instinct. What Doesn't? A few things keep this new Jungle Book from reaching its full potential. While Sethi works hard, one wishes he'd had more to interact with than computer generated creatures; there is no substitute for that spark of human connection on screen to evoke moving performances. Additionally, the movie could have been significantly more coherent had it not been tied to the shadow of the 1967 film. While it isn't too far fetched to see Bill Murray's Baloo break into The Bare Necessities, that was nothing to the bizarre, unsettling rendition of I Wanna Be Like You, performed distinctly out of nowhere by Christopher Walken as King Louie of the Monkey Kingdom. Many Disney remakes seem to falter in deciding what to do with the beloved songs of the original animated versions, and understandably so. But homages truly do nothing positive for this new rendition. The ending also comes abruptly; Mowgli's imminent connection with the nearby human village was not given its due, something that could have helped conquer the lack of human chemistry here.Click here to read the full review
Does a lot of what you've just read feel familiar? It should. The Jungle Book is an audacious—and kind of awesome at times—update of the Rudyard Kipling-written, Disney-appropriated classic tale of the man-cub Mowgli and his jungle animal friends (and enemies). Violent clashes between both beasts and man—shown as if "for real" here, instead of as a cartoony catastrophe—will overwhelm and frighten younger or more sensitive moviegoers. (As might Kaa's misty, creepy, swampy abode.) There's a small handful of twisted-up worldview concerns to navigate as well. But just as the Mouse House did with the live-action reboot of Cinderella in 2015, this 2016 iteration of The Jungle Book delivers a rollicking, breathtaking update to a beloved story about a boy and his remarkable—unlikely—companions. (They're brought to life with computer animation.) And their adventure reinforces important themes about what it means to be family, love one another, resist temptation and sacrifice our own desires when necessary for the good of others.Click here to read the full review
“The Jungle Book (2016)” is an amazing adventure. The film is loaded with talking animals that are vicious and funny and a young, courageous boy named Mowgli (Neel Sethi). The voice talent includes Bill Murray as the comedic bear, Baloo; Idris Elba as Shere Khan, the evil tiger; and Scarlett Johansson as the sly snake, Kaa. Mowgli is friends with the wolves, and their motto is, “The strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.” But Shere Khan doesn’t like them and especially wants to take out the “man cub,” Mowgli. With Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) and others like Baloo helping him, Mowgli has a real chance to survive and defeat Shere Khan.Click here to read the full review
For a second time Disney tackles the task of adapting Rudyard Kipling’s classic novel The Jungle Book for the big screen. In their 1967 version the studio used brightly colored animation and snappy tunes to tell the tale of a young orphan found alone in the jungle, rescued by a concerned panther and raised by a pack of wolves. This time around the story is being presented in live-action, with Neel Sethi playing the man-cub Mowgli, and a herd of humans using their best technical wizardry to bring to life a plethora of wild creatures. Their creative efforts are nothing short of spectacular!Click here to read the full review
Forest, fauna and beast never looked as good as they do in "The Jungle Book" (Disney), a lavish retelling of the 1894 collection of stories by British author Rudyard Kipling. What makes this "live-action" 3-D adaptation particularly compelling is that, apart from the "man-cub" Mowgli (Neel Sethi), everything on screen, from the breathtaking jungle landscapes to the meticulously detailed creatures great and small, was created on a computer. A cheeky line at the end of the credits, "Filmed in Downtown Los Angeles," attests to this surprising fact. Hence, this "Jungle Book" has much in common with another in-house creation, Disney's beloved 1967 animated take on the tales. In fact, director Jon Favreau ("Chef") and screenwriter Justin Marks pay homage to that movie with moments of humor and by incorporating its toe-tapping tunes, "The Bare Necessities" and "I Wanna Be Like You."Click here to read the full review
Fans of the Disney animated musical version will be happy to find some familiar moments within the superb score from John Debney. But this is very much its own film, with stunning integration of the digital animals and the real-life boy. (Disneyphiles may think of Walt’s earliest short films featuring a real-life girl interacting with hand-drawn characters.) The world of the jungle is enchanting and vital, a Rousseauian dream of an Edenic natural world (in this PG film, while there is peril and some characters are injured and killed, any carnivore behavior happens off-screen). Sethi has an engagingly natural quality that is as important in bringing the digital characters to life as the brilliant work of the many, many artists and technicians whose names appear in the credits.Click here to read the full review