Posted in Film reviews

The Jungle Book (2016)

Ever since I was little, The Jungle Book has had a special place in my heart. Whether it be because it was about India, a foreign and exotic place that has always fascinated me through my grandmother’s stories, or the lovable Baloo. I just couldn’t get enough.

When I was seven years old, I remember my parents taking me to see The Jungle Book 2 in the cinema. In retrospect, the film couldn’t hold up to what the original 1967 film created, as most sequels often find, but neither can the 2016 adaptation.

Now I know that this is supposed to be an adaptation of the same story created by Rudyard Kipling, but I found that the film was a literal copy of the cartoon. Although Scarlet Johanson voice as Kaa is more disturbing than in the cartoon (and not in a good way).

I honestly did not enjoy this film. There’s really no point talking about the plot in detail as it one that many would already know, and this adaptation did nothing to alter that linear. So all I can really do is talk about the performance of the actors.

So let’s begin; Neel Sethi was perfect for Mowgli and he acted his little bottom off in this film. Honestly, he is the greatest thing to come from this adaptation. He is sweet and charming, and I honestly want to see Sethi in more films in the future.

Bill Murray is perfect as Baloo, but it wasn’t really a challenging career move for Murray. Baloo is a lazy schemer, a role that Murray is born for. None-the-less, Murray still killed it as Baloo and I can’t imagine a better man for the role.

On that note, Ben Kingsley and Idris Elba nailed it. Bagheera (Kingsley) was the supportive voice of reason for Mowgli, and Khan (Elba) was perfectly sinister. Honestly, the directors made the right move with their castings.

The only off voice was Johanson. Now that is not a dig at the actress. She is fantastic and I love her, but she came off more sexually seductive than entrancing seductive, which was weird.Well, I suppose both are kind of weird, but her performance was the only thing about the film I don’t like. I find myself distracted by her voice as it did not fit the character and couldn’t help imagine the original actor (and let’s face it, nobody is going to beat Sterling Holloway at voice acting, may he rest in peace).

So, to cut to the chase, I am really glad this film was made. I may have found it repetitive and a bit boring, but the film would introduce a whole new generation to the beauty that is Jungle Book, and for that I cannot be mad.

I would recommend this film purely for the simple pleasure of re-experiencing Jungle Book, for everyone should be reminded of what a gem this story is.

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I'm currently working my way through a Creative and Professional Writing degree in London.

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