#REVIEW: “THE JUNGLE BOOK”
Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
Director Jon Favreau brings to life The Jungle Book for an entirely new generation of kids. This CGI/Live-Action comes with a fresh perspective and tone. By contrast, this take on the Rudyard Kipling literary classic is much darker and heavier than the 1967 animated version we have come to love, hence young children be warned. For 105 minutes, we are in a complete state of bliss knowing that the story has been adapted so faithfully, even if the musical aspects we loved so much are gone.
The Movie starts off with us meeting Mowgli (Neel Sethi) as he is running throughout the jungle, training how to be a wolf with Black Panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley). As time progresses, we learn that there is a drought within the jungle and all the animals have to put aside their differences for a time being to live in harmony, sharing their limited water supply from the river. This is where we understand more that the Tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba) is not a fan of Mowgli and wants him killed. This causes problems amongst the animals, especially between Shere Khan and the wolves led by mother Raksha (Lupita Nyong’o). After Shere Khan gets the upper hand, Bagheera instructs Mowgli to run through the jungle to safety and thus his journey begins. However whether Mowgli can survive on his own without the help of his family, is the biggest obstacle he faces.
The Jungle Book is defined by its performances. Its breakout star Neel Sethi manages to do an excellent job, channeling a wide range of emotions and carrying the weight of the Film on his own while his Co-Stars have the luxury of being animated. Idris Elba as Shere Khan is truly mesmerizing as his voice possesses a daunting power that gives this version of The Jungle Book an added depth and intensity. Ben Kingsley as mentor Bagheera works perfectly with the role with his commanding strength. Raksha, voiced by Lupita Nyong’o is full of grace and nurturing and despite her being a wolf, we see her fully as a mother to Mowgli.
The Jungle Book despite having left an indelible mark on a generation, stands on its own merit with Favreau and this Cast reaching successfully a new generation of Fans with this timeless tale.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada release THE JUNGLE BOOK in theatres on Friday, April 15, 2016.