Bagheera (Ben Kingsley)

Bagheera (Ben Kingsley)

Reel Reviews: Forget about your worries over this re-make

Mowgli takes a beating in the real world version of The Jungle Book.

  • Apr. 24, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Left in the wild jungle as a toddler, young Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is accepted and raised by a pack of wolves.

Threatened by the tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba), Mowgli leaves the pack to return to the man village accompanied by panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) and the bear Baloo (Bill Murray).

After overcoming many jungle trials with human ingenuity, Mowgli and his friends return to the jungle to face Shere Khan.

We say, “Mowgli takes a beating in the real world.”

HOWE: So Disney has taken one of their all-time classics, Jungle Book, and turned it from a cartoon into a live action, computer-animated film. But did they do it any justice?

I for one am not that impressed when you have live animals acting then superimposing mouth movements to make them look like they are talking. However, within the first five minutes of this, it made me forget that I was watching cheesy talking animals. It was very well done.

Gone are all but two of the songs. That isn’t a bad thing, as it gives this new version a more grown up feel to it. The two they left are the classics sang by Baloo (Bill Murray) and King Louie (the great Christopher Walken) and they are a little different from the originals.

FENIN: I liked that there was lots of action in it. I really liked that Mowgli invented things to help Baloo get his honey. He is so smart. Shere Khan, the tiger, looked scary with his white eyes and scars. I wouldn’t like him chasing me through the jungle.

TAYLOR: It took me only a very short time to get used to the idea of talking animals and then I enjoyed myself immensely. If anything, I believed the animals more than the kid, perhaps only because Mowgli had such social mannerisms and wasn’t particularly animalistic. However, this is not going to be noticed by the target audience.

The feel of the film is upbeat action-adventure, with constant threat coming from somewhere. King Louie is a little bit scary, but he sings a song, so it’s not so bad. All in all, it’s a big Disney picture. Characters are going to die. It’s a jungle out there.

HOWE: Like I said earlier, this has a more grown-up feel to it, which will keep the adults happy as well as the children. It certainly kept me entertained for the hour and 30 minutes. Director Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Avengers) has done this classic proud and yes justice has been done.

– Fenin gives The Jungle Book 3 honeycombs out of 5.

– Howe gives it 4 jungle vines out of 5.

– Taylor gives it 4.5 cowbells out of 5.

Reel Reviews with Brian Taylor and Peter Howe appears in The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.

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