The Jungle Book (2016): Film Review and Impression

Movie: The Jungle Book
Genre: adventure, family.
Director: Jon Favreau.
Script writer: Justin Marks.
Based on: Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book”
Cast: Neel Sethi (Mowgli), Mill Murray (Baloo’s voice), Ben Kingsley ( Bagheera’s voice), Idris Elba (Shere Khan’s voice), Lupita Nyong’o  (Raksha’s voice), Scarlett Johansson (Kaa’s voice), Giancarlo Esposito (Akela’s voice), Christopher Walken (King Louie’s voice).
Year: 2016.
Country: USA.
Release dates:
– April 4, 2016 (USA);
– April 7, 2016 (Argentina, Australia, Russia, Chile, Philipines);
– April 8, 2016 (India, Indonesia, );
– April 10, 2016 (Mexico);
– April 13, 2016 (Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Thailand, Austria);
– April 14, 2016 (Italy, Israel, Netherlands),
– April 15, 2016 (Canada, China, Spain, UK, Pakistan, USA),
– April 21, 2016 (Greece, Czech Republic),
– May 26, 2016 (Hong Kong),
– August 11, 2016 (Japan),
check for the release date in other countries on IMDb.
Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes.

Official website: http://movies.disney.com/the-jungle-book-2016

Rudyard Kipling’s timeless story of man-cub Mowgli is now revived in the Disney’s 2016 film “The Jungle Book” directed by Jon Favreau and starring a newcomer little actor – Neel Sethi (Mowgli). In its essense the picture is a remake of the Disney’s 1967 animation. In this review we will not tell you the story of Mowgli. If you have never read it, devote some time in your busy schedule and read it in original. It worth it. Believe, you will get much more than just another finished book. Now let’s return to our film.

Yet the creators tried to stay close to the source story, it was not possible to avoid to introduce a few changes. These changes have made the atmosphere of the film and brought unforgettable impressions. First of all, we strongly recommend everyone to watch “The Jungle Book” in 3D. The advance of this technology has enabled the film makers to come closer to the audience and totally drop viewers into the imaginary world. While watching the “Jungle Book” in 3D there will be only one thing you may regret: why cannot we feel the weather and scents?

Landscapes and nature

“The Jungle Book” amazes with the beauty of forest scapes, lanscapes and nature. If you possess a vivid imagination, you will sense the pleasant breeze tickling tree leaves, drops of water jumping on you from the waterfall, fresh heavy drops of monsoon rain on your face and merciless heat when your lips dry and you become ultimately thirsty. All these feelings will come through the pictures and sounds. The team of animators and decorators under the art director who created this wonderful world of wild jungle have really done a great job.

“The Jungle Book” characters

Mowgli

Mowgli, the ‘man cub’, a boy raised in a wolf pack. He is trained to act and think like a wolf by Bagheera the panther. However, Mowgli cannot resist his human nature and uses different tricks which are common only for people. For instant, while racing, the boy runs not only on the ground like his wolf brothers, but also uses tree branches and lianas. In his movements, Mowli proves to be very quick and dexterous. Besides these qualities, the man cub is loyal to his wolf pack, animals and jungles. When he learns that Shere Khan threatens wolves if they don’t give the boy to him, Mowgli decides to leave his “family though he does not want to return to the world of humans. Throughout the story we listen the boy saying “Jungle is my home”. Mowgli treats all the animals with respect. It’s normal for him. He does not hesitate to bow to elephants or share fruit with monkey-like creatures. All of them have become an integral part of his jungle life.

Mowgli has a big kind heart. He easily makes friends due to his openness and sincerity. He is ready to sacrifice. Let’s take his friendship with Baloo the bear. The boy agreed to help the lazy bear to get honeycombs from a stiff cliff. And that is when he resorts to his human nature and engineering talent. Using branches and lianas he makes a contruction which helps to bring down the honeycombs. In the episode we see Mowgli really enjoys helping his new friend Baloo.

Having learnt about the death of Akela, the boy decides to face and give fight to Shere Khan the tiger. Eventually he gets to know that the evil tiger is afraid of fire. And Mowgli uses this weakness against his enemy.

A lot can be said about Mowgli. But one thing we cannot miss talking about this character. In “The Jungle Book” Mowgli is almost always on the move: he runs, climbs trees and lianas, jumps… A challenging task for a child, isn’t it? We can say that Neel Sethi has done great job. His Mowgli is indeed a real boy from the jungles.

Bagheera

Bagheera and Mowgli. The Jungle Book, 2016

Bagheers the panther… what can we say about this character? Bagheera is just like a guru for Mowgli, his life teacher, guardian and protector. Bagheera has put all his believes in the boy. He is happy when Mowgli is successful and feels sad when Mowgli is upset. Bagheera trains Mowgli for wild jungle life. He wants the boy to adopt wolf manners and forget his human nature. For the animals in jungles humans are destroyers of the wild life – cruel and violent. When Mowgli does human-like tricks Bagheera fears that one day the boy will become like other people, will forget them andn finally will do something bad. Eventnually, the panther understands that Mowgli uses his human nature smartly, for that good sake of their home jungle.

Baloo

Baloo and Mowgli

Baloo the bear is a comic character. His behaviour, speaking manner and simplicity cannot leave anyont indifferent. The episodes with Baloo unchangeably bring smiles on the faces of both, little and adult viewers. He becomes friends with Mowgli. Though at first his laziness makes Baloo uses the boy. However, later the bear just as like the panther protects and saves Mowgli. If to look deeper into the character of Baloo, he is in fact a kid himself deep in heart: naive, kind and little naughty. But he knows the value of friendship and sees the big heart and courage of Mowgli.

Shere Khan

Shere Khan the tiger is the evil of the jungle, the only threat to all the wild inhabitants. Everyone frightens of him and he plays on this weakness. In his essense, Shere Khan is an outcast who has became such by his own will, just because he didn’t want to live according to the jungle law which said to respect each and every irrespect of the kind. When all the animals unite agains Shere Khan, he becomes desparate. He has no choice but to chase Mowgli, to face and fight him to prove his superiority  by power. Eventually, his power proved to be nothing in front of the inventnive and vivid smartness of Mowgli.

Almost all criticts pointed out the fine work of the film team concerning the speaking animals. The task to make animals move their lips credibly seems to be impossible to complete. However, the graphis designers or whoever is responsible for that has overcome all the possible and impossible expectations. In “The Jungle Book” animals do speak and they look really convincing. All the jungle inhabitants look as if they are real wild creatures. Their fur, their eyes, their beahaviour and movements – everything is impeccable.

Impression

Elephants in "The Jungle Book", 2016

One of the most memorable things in “The Jnugle Book” is the depiction of elephants. It’s probably the something which has made the film unique and different from the Disney’s 1967 animation. Here elephants are shown as godlike creatures. Other animals do not dare to come close to them. That is not because of fear, but out of great respect and admiration. Notably, Mowgli is the only jungle inhabitant who is shown near these heavenly creatures. He is not simple shown near them – he helps them to drag out a baby elephant from the wallow.

As for the general altmosphere of the film, it is different. In the beginning we are given time to enjoy the beauty of jungle, to get to know Mowgli and his family. Then we are taken on Mowgli’s adventure. And that is the time when we start questoining ourselves: “Will he really go back to the human village?!” And at last we are tensed as the ending is the most violent part of the film. Though the creators tried to avoid blood scenes, some viewers will be able to see the fight scenes only through fingers. The violence will probably make a part of sensitive audience to cover their face and eyes with  their hands.

On the whole, “The Jungle Book” 2016 is worth watching. It’s finely made. The overall critics reviews are strongly positive. At last, it’s a classic story that should be told to every child. It teaches kindness, courage, frienship, respect. And like in any other cinema creation, in “The Jungle Book” we can find answers and solutions to our modern yet timeless problems.

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