North India Times

The Jungle Book Movie Review

jungle-book-movieIt’s an engrossing, humorous, and fast-paced adventure drama. The cast of characters in the film represents human emotions. The live-action and CGI animation combo is top notch, and seamless and gives the film the look of reality.

For various reasons most of the scenes are set in the night and frames are generally dark, which will make it unsuitable for large single screen theatres in remote locations of India that are equipped with low end digital projection systems with woefully low luminance levels.

The story is set in the Jungles of ancient India and revolves around Mowgli (Neel Sethi), the boy raised by a family of wolves with male wolf Akela (Giancarlo Esposito) as its head and Raksha (Lupita Nyong’o) as its matriarch. Mowgli was saved by Bagheera, the black panther (Ben Kingsley), after his father was killed by Shere Khan (Idris Elba), the tiger whose writ runs large in the jungle. Shere Khan hates humans and as he learns about Mowgli’s presence, he issues a warning to Akela that after the end of the dry season, a period of truce in the jungle, he will kill Mowgli.

As the dry season comes to an end, Akela and Raksha, the foster parents of Mowgli, have no option but to send him to a human settlement to save him. Bagheera is assigned the task. This is much against the wish of Mowgli. On the way to human settlement Bagheera is attacked by Shere Khan and Mowgli is separated from him. He survives thanks to a herd of bulls but is nearly eaten up by Kaa (Scarlett Johansson), the bewitching python. Baloo the bear (Bill Murray) saves him in the nick of time. The lazy bear cajoles the kid into slaving for him as a honey collector. That’s when latent human inventiveness of Mowgli begins to flower.

In the mean time an angry Shere Khan kills Akela for letting Mowgli get away. Bagheera finds Mowgli and chides Baloo for exploiting the kid. Mowgli’s woes are not yet over. He is kidnapped by monkeys and delivered to King Louie (Christopher Walken), the giant orangutan, who wants the boy to get ‘red flower’ (fire) for him so that he can become as powerful as humans and complete the Darwinian missing link. Mowgli survives this but when he learns that Akela is killed, he decides to return to his foster family to end Shere Khan’s tyranny, with Baloo and Bagheera with him.

The story has clearly defined heros and villains and follows the classic storytelling format, making it accessible and enjoyable for all kinds of audiences. Baloo’s appearance lightens up the proceedings and adds a smart and mature humorous dimension to them, which should please older audiences. In spite of the fact that the film is shot on sound stages and largely created through CGI and various other state of the art post-production animation and visual effect tools, it looks quite real. The hard work of technicians has paid off. The music plays a very important role in the film, nearly turning it into a high octane ‘musical’. The voices have been cast perfectly and the kid is quite likeable.

The Jungle Book Cast & Crew
Producer : Brigham Taylor, Jon FavreauProduction Company(S) : Fairview Entertainment, Walt Disney Pictures
Director : Jon Favreau
Artists (Cast) : Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Giancarlo Esposito, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong’o
Music Director : John Debney

—————Rajesh Kumar Singh

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