You have to admit, Disney is laughing their way to the bank by bringing back all their classics as live-action films. Ok, not all of them and I have to admit it is a huge financial risk on their part because those who grew up on the classics may have a difficult time adjusting to the CGI-animated craziness that are Disney live-action movies, but whatever.
They started with Cinderella, which I only liked for Helena Bonham Carter, brought back Tim Burton for Alice in Wonderland, which I only liked for Johnny Depp, and cast Angelina Jolie for Malifacent, which I only liked for her red lipstick. Disney has more classics lined up, like Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, but they recently released the live-action version of The Jungle Book. Let’s discuss!
The story is almost identical to the Disney animated classic, but they’ve included a few dark and scary moments. The wolves, Mowgli’s first animal family, are given a larger role with Lupita Nyong’o voicing Mowgli’s surrogate mother, Raksha. Also, besides Mowgli, played by Neel Sethi, this film is entirely CGI animated. I was amazed by the detail and appreciated all the research invested in creating characters that looked and acted like their real-life counterparts. I particularly liked Baloo; when he walked, he felted like an animal bound by the laws of gravity. Very cool!
The voice actors were beautifully selected. Scarlett Johanson was an amazing choice for Kaa, and Idris Elba and Ben Kingsley were perfect as Bagheera and Shere Khan, respectively. Bill Murray was a wonderful add, but his voice was not as recognizable as ScarJo’s — he may have changed his voice a bit for this film.
Added bonus: You’ll get a musical treat when Baloo and Mowgli sing “The Bare Necessities” as well as some cute side characters.
God, Mowgli’s character was annoyingly naive. I get that he’s a kid but come on, being raised in the wild can’t fry all your brain cells — look at Tarzan! Basically, this kid has no survival instincts and may the Lord bless his animal caretakers for putting up with his shit. Towards the end of the movie, Baloo is bitten in the neck my Shere Khan and I wondered “how did he not die from this?” Also, when Baloo attacked Shere Khan, he received no support from his animal friends — I’m looking at you, Bagherra,
Moreover, the fate of Kaa is unknown.
I cringed when Christopher Walken sang “I Wan’na Be Like You.” Unlike “The Bare Necessities,” Walken’s redition was introduced by dialogue — exactly like a musical — and it was beyond awkward. Speaking of awkward, Rakish, commands the wolves to attack Shere Khan by shouting, “Wolves attack!” Ugh, so awkward.
I give this film a 🐰🐰🐰🐰/5! I enjoyed the story and CGI animation, but the awkward moments definitely take away from the film.