A retelling of Disney classic The Jungle Book using modern CGI
Directed by Jon Favreau
Starring Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, and Idris Elba
Initial Review by Bryan Hartman
The Jungle Book does a lot of things well. Once you get past the first scene, the CGI is nearly flawless. I’m not sure if my brain needed time to adjust or the CGI legitimately improved, but I was worried for my senses after Mowgli’s first sprint through the jungle. By the end, I hadn’t given the CGI another thought – it was spot on.
The major downfall of many movies directed towards youth is a lull in the middle. The Jungle Book avoids this flaw. Maybe Baloo’s honey gathering could be The Jungle Book’s lull, but I didn’t mind it – I felt it gave a bit more character to Baloo and Mowgli.
The Jungle Book felt interactive, quick, and to the point, but it wasn’t without a couple of hiccups. Choosing actors and actresses with recognizable voices is downright distracting. The opening CGI, as mentioned, wasn’t top touch. Relying on cute timing during the first Shere Khan escape and water buffalo ride were not great ways to advance the plot. Last, it could have used an extra 15 minutes split among some of the side characters. I never felt fully vested.
TL;DR Mowgli’s innonce against Shere Khan’s ruthlessness, a host of memorable characters, and a quick story were tied together well for The Jungle Book. B+
PS: No, my 4-year-old daughter can’t watch this anytime soon. I’d rather not deal with weeks of nightmares.