The other weekend we enjoyed a trip to the cinema to see Disney’s ‘live action’ remake of the classic ‘The Jungle Book’. I’m going to use the term ‘live action’ very loosely as around 80% must have been CGI, right? However that is my only gripe, let’s lavish praise on this thing…
First up that CGI is simply stunning. Absolutely flawless. The fur, the lip synching, the movement, the emotion and the interaction with the actor playing Mowgli, perfection. I’m not a fan of snakes at all so the sequence with Kaa really had me sitting uncomfortably, such was the realism. This CGI is groundbreaking, a real revolution.
The voice cast is off the scale. Bill Murray is good in everything he does if you ask me but casting him as the laid-back Baloo was pure genius. He’s brilliant. Then there’s Ben Kingsley and Idris Elba, not to mention Lupita Nyong’o and Scarlett Johansson. All amazing. Finally the incredible Christopher Walken who is simply stunning as King Louie.
Neel Sethi as Mowgli is faultless. For such a young actor to perform in such a manner is incredible. Least we forget that most of his acting was done before animal puppet figures provided by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. His performance is one to be celebrated and his career from here one to be watched with excitement.
Musically the score is drawn from the original by George Bruns. It underpins the drama beautifully. Though I’m pleased they didn’t go for the musical approach that was the 1967 animated ‘The Jungle Book’ I was thrilled to hear the classics ‘The Bare Necessities’ and ‘I Wan’na Be Like You’ feature. Both fitting nicely with the acting and story at the time.
Jon Favrearu’s direction throughout is marvellous. The darkness of the jungle a stark contrast to the films more well lit moments, showing the depth within. The action is delivered at times at such a frantic pace while the drama is slowed to an intensifying crawl, bringing a great balance. Then there are the nods to the past; the opening hand painted cel-animated Disney logo and the most charming ending which features the physical book that started the 1967 animated movie. Little touches like these show the love for Disney and it’s rich past.
Seriously if you haven’t see this film, do. It will not disappoint.