Remakes are hard films to mold because the anticipation and expectations from the audience is very high. Audience members have formed an attachment with the original and those feeling can be hard to change.
In the latest adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s novel, “The Jungle Book,” filmmakers have made something that is truly memorable.
“The Jungle Book”tells the story of Mowgli (Neel Sethi) who is found in the jungle all alone. Mowgli is taken in by a pack of wolves who raise him, teach him values and give him a home. His mentor and friend is a black panther by the name of Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) who teaches Mowgli about honor. When Shere Khan, the tiger (Idris Elba), threatens Mowgli’s life, Mowgli leaves the jungle. He the makes the journey back to civilization.
One of the strong points in this film is the casting, which was truly inspiring. The one character that helps to bridge the serious parts together with humor is Baloo, the bear. Bill Murray voices Baloo. Walking into the theater, I never really thought or pictured Murray as an 8-foot tall, portly bear, but he really makes the character come alive.
A scene that demonstrates this humor is when Baloo convinces Mowgli to collect honey for him by telling him he needs it so he can pack on weight before he hibernates for the winter. When Baloo is made, he tells Mowgli that it's “Not a full hibernation, but I nap a lot.”
Another inspired casting choice was selecting Christopher Walken to voice King Louie, a giant Orangutan that rules over a group of monkeys. In every great story, there needs to be a great villain. Throughout the years, Walken has played some odd and evil characters such as James Bond villain Max Zorin in “A View to Kill.” Walken taps into that reservoir, giving the audience chills in “The Jungle Book.”A scene that shows this is when King Louie offers Mowgli a place to stay at his palace.
“You're the man-cub who wants to stay in the jungle,”Louie said to Mowgli.
“How do you know that?”Mowgli asks.
“Kid, I got ears. My ears got ears. Only I can protect you.” Louis said.
Disney redeems itself from the terrible 1994 version of “The Jungle Book.” That movie felt more like the stories of Tarzan, Mowgli and George of the Jungle were blended together. The result was something uninspiring and forgetful.
This is a film that is worth making a trip to the theater. However, I would caution parents to taking young children to see this film because of intense action scenes. Overall, this movie takes audiences on a journey they won’t soon forget. “The Jungle Book” is rated PG for some sequences of scary action and peril and runs 105 minutes.
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