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The Jungle Book (2016) - Review

This movie is a live retelling of the classic Jungle Book story. The story follows Mowgli, a young human child, who is being raised by a pack of wolves until a vicious tiger known as Shere Khan intervenes and threatens him, forcing Mowgli to flee.

Neel Sethi plays as Mowgli in his first ever film and to me, he was the weakest thing in the movie. Now that isn't to say he was utterly bad or anything, it is just that this being his first film, and the film being completely CGI, asked a lot from him, and you could tell he struggled with it. The performance was good enough that it didn't ruin the movie or anything like that. Also, the kid was up against a full studded cast.

The movie features a great A-List cast of voice actors like Ben Kingsley (Voices Bagheera, the panther), Bill Murray (Voices Baloo, the bear), Idris Elba (Voices Shere khan, the tiger), Christopher Walken (Voices King Louie, the giant orangutan) to name a few. And all of them did a terrific job. The only one that didn't fit was Scarlett Johanson as Kaa, the giant snake. She just felt like Scarlet Johanson doing voice over instead of her being the character herself.

Bill Murray as Baloo was like the best thing ever. He had fun one liners, laid back lazy attitude and just an overall likeness to him. Ben Kingsley as Bagheera was like this friend/father/mentor figure, and he nailed it. Christopher Walken as the giant orangutan, singing a song, is something everyone must see. And who better to cast as the vicious Shere Khan then Idris Elba. He killed it in his role. There was this aura around him whenever he was onscreen. Elegant, powerful and vicious. Great villain.

Of course, this movie would be nothing if it wasn't for the technical feat it was able to deliver. I mean HOLY SHIT. The CGI in this movie is absolutely amazing. Everything except Mowgli is CGI. The environments, the animals, everything. And man oh man did they deliver. The environments looked so realistic, and the animals, so terrific. Seriously, this is one great looking film. A new standard in full on CGI work. Just WOW.

While the movie is rated PG, I'm glad Disney didn't made it completely children friendly. There is stuff in it that I was surprised to see, in a supposedly kids movie, which makes it all the more enjoyable for adults.

My issues with the film, alongside Scarlett Johanson's casting and Neel Sethi's acting, is that it was perhaps a bit too short, which kinda cuts the development in some areas short, leaving you feeling unfulfilled and wanting more. More scenes with the wolves, with Baloo and Mowgli, or Mowgli and Bagheera, or all three would have been great. Because the movie makes it seem like they have this special bond, but doesn't give enough time developing it.

Overall, Director Jon Favreau did a great job creating a fun, enjoyable movie that everyone can enjoy, which will instill Nostalgia among those who have seen previous incarnations of this story. And it is a technical masterpiece. I definitely recommend it.



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