Disney’s The Jungle Book (2016) Film Review

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Some of you may know that both myself and my dear Sasha, (aka fellow Heroes of Geek member and my beloved Little Vamp) enjoy a good film and can regularly be seen in the cinema. This week’s outing was into the deepest jungle as I said hello to Disney’s newest addition to their live action remakes: The Jungle Book.

Directed by Jon Favreau (you may remember him as Happy Hogan, the body guard to Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies) based on Rudyard Kipling’s classic stories and inspired by Disney’s 1967 animated film.

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The Jungle Book is an all-new live-action adventure about Mowgli (played by young newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. Mowgli suddenly finds he can no longer stay in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voiced by the epic Idris Elba) who bears the scars of Man’s fire, promises to eliminate him as threat and those who harbour him. Forced to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a journey of self-discovery guided by the panther saviour turned mentor Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley) and the free-spirited bear Baloo (voice of Bill Murray). Along the way Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa the python (voice of Scarlett Johansson) and the smooth-talking King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken).

If you’re expecting a direct reproduction of the classic Disney adaptation converted into live action, you may be a tad disappointed, especially if you’re expecting lots of songs. Instead I’d say this film is more of an amalgamation of Rudyard Kipling’s works and Disney’s magic, leaning more towards the original books, as there are noticeable differences to the Disney story. However this could be seen as a way of keeping the tale fresh and accessible to a new generation of fans.

To start with, the 3D on this film is absolutely fantastic. Within the first five minutes, the vibrancy of the jungle really comes alive. The colours, sounds and with animals so stunningly animated you’d swear they were real! Not to mention how flawlessly it’s all integrated together but you’d expect no less from Disney.

Newcomer Neel Sethi performance as young Mowgli was energetic and entertaining – There’s some hilarious dialogue with Bill Murray’s Baloo.

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Ben Kingsley’s performance as Bagheera was outstanding and for me, was easily the best casting and performance of all the voice actors in this film. His stern but caring manner towards Mowgli gave a strong feeling of their bond and faithfulness to the character many grew up with.

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Idris Elba was wonderful as Shere Khan and he nailed his mannerisms but at times, his voice felt slightly forced and disjointed from the character.

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Scarlett Johansson as Kaa seemed very wasted in my opinion and as much as I enjoyed Christopher Walken’s performance, it was just another signature Christopher Walken outing – whilst there’s nothing wrong with that coz let’s face it, the man’s a legend it just didn’t quite work. They might as well of called him King Walken rather then King Louie.

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Also on occasion, you could of easily been mistaken in thinking that you had tripped into the Lion King (if your a fan of the film, you will understand ).

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Nothing special is saved for after the end credits so no need to hang back whilst the cinema empties but there are a few humorous scenes and songs on whilst the credits roll.

All in all it was a decent film that should hopefully keep fans old and new alike happy for a little under 2 hours. Even if your not a fan, it’s a treat for the eyes and I would recommend a watch. Bring on the next Disney film to get the live-action treatment! Heroes of Geek awesomeness rating: 8.5/10

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