The Jungle Book, a movie review

The Jungle book PG/1h46min/ Adventure, drama, family

A movie review by: Lee Sonogan


Inspired by Walt Disney’s 1967 animated film with the same name, the story of Mowgli, an orphaned human boy who, guided by his animal guardians, sets out on a journey of self-discovery while evading the threatening Shere Khan. Its budget was $175,000,000 million and it was able to make $941.2 million in the box office. The film’s cast includes three Oscar winners: Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong’o, and Christopher Walken; and one Oscar nominee: Bill Murray. This portrayal of the Jungle Book looks stunning with impressive CGI.

The film stars Neel Sethi as man-cub Mowgli, but all the main animal characters were created with CGI. The original release date was set to be in October 2015 but was switched with another film to be released 6 months later in 2016. Over 2,000 children auditioned for the part of Mowgli, in his first audition, acting newcomer Neel Sethi won the part.

He said: “I’ve never acted before, it was my first audition. I never thought about acting before but then I thought “alright”.

The animal characters were both motion-captured and performed live on set by puppeteers from the Jim Henson Company. For the on-set performances, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop built elaborate life-sized puppets to act alongside Mowgli and serve as eye-lines. The talking animals in this film were created using animal behaviour, then having the actors copy those movements in motion-capture VFX. The CG character Baloo is so large and furry, he took almost five hours of rendering time per frame.

This is the first time that Kaa the snake is portrayed as a female, rather than a male. Jon Favreau said the change was a deliberate one, as he felt there were too many male characters in The Jungle Book (1967). Kaa the snake is voice acted by Scarlett Johansson. All three of director Jon Favreau’s children have voice roles in the movie. His son Max voices a wolf cub, while his two daughters, Brighton Rose and Madeline voice Gray, another wolf cub.

Despite not being a musical, three songs from The Jungle Book (1967), including “The Bare Necessities”, “Trust In Me” and “I Wanna Be Like You” were included in this film, with the Full Versions being sung in the Credits.

Overall, this movie was much lighter than the original book written by Rudyard Kipling. It has intense CGI fights with the animals,  plenty of destruction and an easy to understanding plot. Enough to keep you watching through the whole movie. Some of its stories are well shown in certain scenes. It is currently the third most grossing movie of 2016. If you enjoy the animated movie or the original story by Rudyard Kipling, you will appreciate this movie.


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