Jon Favreau’s adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling classic The Jungle Book is awe-inspiring in its visuals and immensely entertaining in its story.
Mowgli, an orphan boy, is raised in the jungle by wolves, with the help of panther Bagera. When fearsome tiger Shere Khan asserts his dominance, Mowgli must leave the only home he has ever known…
Viewers would be forgiven for being skeptical when a live-action remake of the Disney animated classic The Jungle Book was announced. Thankfully, Favreau’s film quickly assuages any fears. This new version of the film is captivating, distinguishing itself sufficiently from its animated predecessor.
Favreau plays homage to the 1968 animation with this film. The most obvious nod is the music; some of the songs from the original film are adapted well in this new version. Favreau distinguishes the new adaptation in terms of tone. Whilst there is still a playfulness in many scenes, The Jungle Book has more darkness than its predecessor. Rather than a moodiness, this comes across as a desire to depict the brutality of the jungle. There is more of a realism to this version; it does not shy away from some blunt events. Whilst a couple of sequences may be frightening to very young viewers, the tone works overall.
The Jungle Book is well paced; with the narrative progressing well over the running time and momentum building to the climax. The main characters are developed succinctly, but with enough depth to make the audience care about their fates. There is a good balance of humour, adventure and peril, all of which is suitable for a family audience.
Special effects in the film are fantastic; the rendering of all the animals are immensely realistic and believable. The soundtrack is a wonderful accompaniment. Neel Sethi makes a charming young Mowgli. Idris Elba brings striking presence as Shere Khan, and Bill Murray makes a wonderful Baloo.
The Jungle Book is a fantastic adventure, one that brings to life its amazing source material.