While I don’t normally do movie reviews, I have to make an exception for the visually spectacular The Jungle Book. As it was a remake of the Disney classic, I wasn’t sure it would be able to shine, given that it was standing in the rather long shadow of its predeccesor.
However, Jon Favreau’s stunning movie does succeed, and it stands apart as a great film in its own right. Rather than opting for the laidback, more comic storyline of the first, the movie takes a more exciting path. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so much emotional turmoil in the time span of two hours.
There is one thing I must admit, however. There is a chance that it might have exceeded my expectations by such a large margin because I didn’t have any expectations for it. Watching the trailer didn’t exactly convince me of it’s brilliance. I love the songs in the movie, and I wasn’t sure how a CGI bear would pull off singing and dancing Bare Neccesities. Something about the panther’s face looked vaguely stuffed and somewhat fake. But I had to watch it because it was The Jungle Book, and I must know about every remake to the beloved original. Maybe not the most rational reason to watch a movie, but there it is. Luckily, it was fantastic. The CGI bear does pull of singing, though thankfully, not dancing. It never once ocurred to me whether the panther was fake-looking or not while I watched the movie. It may be that I was too preoccupied with Mowgli’s concerns to notice, or maybe it wasn’t as fake-looking on a giant screen as it was on my desktop.
The 3D is absolutely beautiful. The titular jungle might be among the most gorgeous visuals I’ve ever seen. This is may not be a completely novel experience if you have played a video game with particularly stunning graphics, but then, it wasn’t three-dimensional.
The storyline has been changed from the 1967 classic. Regardless of that, even the most loyal fan will appreciate that it does not detract from the enjoyment of the movie. All the larger-than-life (in some cases, literally) animals had plenty of character. They were quite relatable. The personalities of the animals has remained true, for the most part. At first, Baloo appears to be a little less amicable than what we’re used to, but he is redeemed as the film develops. Bagheera nags Mowgli incessantly, thus proving that all is right with the world. Kaa once again displays the magnificience of her creepy hypnotic eyes. However, Shere Khan might be the best of all. His thirst for revenge and permanent grudge against all humankind really endears him to me.
This version of The Jungle Book might be well on its way to becoming a classic, too.