Friday, April 22, 2016

The Jungle Book: In Review

The Jungle Book is a movie that I hold near and dear to my heart as it is a Disney classic. If you know anything about me, you know that I love Disney: Disneyland, Disney movies, Disney merchandise, and as of late, Disney remakes. With a plethora of sequels and live action movies popping up left and right from the Disney studios, I have been teeming with excitement for all of them. I have to admit that I wasn't the biggest fan of the latest Cinderella movie, but I chalk that up to simply loving the original and it's music and animation endlessly. The new film just didn't hold the same classic magic for me.

The Jungle Book didn't either, yet I loved it. The Jungle Book did something drastically differently than Cinderella did though. Instead of simply trying to recreate the animated 1967 movie of the same name, the 2016 version of The Jungle Book went back to where it began. It brought to life the vivacious man cub Mowgli, the sloth bear Baloo, the mysterious panther Bagheera, the villainous tiger Shere Khan, the once amusing orangutan King Louie, and the mesmerizing snake Kaa in ways that the 20th century film left out. Naturally, being live action and being a film in this decade, this century, this film had to have a little more action and a little less comedy. Disney did what was only natural: explore the roots of this story. The Jungle Book has been updated, yet still reaches back to the original novel to gather its tale in 2016.

New characters are introduced and songs are interwoven throughout the film without making it gimmicky or like an off-kilter musical. Without spoiling anything, I cried and laughed and "aww'd" throughout the entire film. What I was consistently amazed with was the CGI of the animals. It almost feels wrong to call this movie live action since it was filmed on a set in downtown Los Angeles and since the only real, breathing, moving thing being filmed in that studio was Neel Sethi, playing Mowgli. That being said, Sethi's acting was nothing short of someone who was literally surrounded by these animals. Cute wolf pups and terrifying scarred tigers were digitally imposed into this movie, yet to the unknowing watcher, one would think they trained these animals to talk and act.

Overall, this new adaptation of The Jungle Book was amazing. It kept me on edge the entire movie and surprised me in the end. The visuals were stunning, the acting from Sethi amazing, and the soundtrack subtle and nostalgic. Certainly more nail biting than the original, with a certain charm to it, I certainly recommend anyone who is even slightly interested to go check out Disney's 2016 version of The Jungle Book.

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