The Jungle Book

A review of the 2016 film.

JungleBookDisney studios first made The jungle Book in cartoon format nearly 50 years ago, in 1967. In 2016 it has been updated to live action, amazing CGI and 3D, rendering the animals as believable creatures, albeit talking ones.

I have seen both versions. The 2016 movie is by far the closest of the two to Rudyard Kipling’s original story, from 1894.

Neel Sethi was excellent as the man-cub, Mowgle, and well supported by the voices of Ben Kingsley, Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Christopher Walken and Scarlet Johansson.

Unlike so many Disney films, this did not attempt to ‘sugar coat’ everything, so adults should find it equally appealing. Though there were a few slightly saccharine moments, that are easily forgiven and forgotten.

It doesn’t have so much music as the 1967 cartoon. It has retained two of the most memorable songs, Baloo’s Bare Necessities, and King Louie’s I Wanna Be Like You. The movie would have worked just fine without these and the better of the two was King Loui’s song.

I might be a little biased about Baloo’s song, because my favourite song was always Bare Necessities, sung in the original cartoon by the late great Phil Harris. I just don’t think anyone else can match his rendition.

Director John Favreau has made a film that adults and children should all enjoy. Or maybe I should say children and us big kids who never quite grew out of the stories we were told as children.


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