OK so I saw the live-action Jungle Book recently. And so did Nickie and the kids. AND we saw it with our friends Assaf, Bar and Ben. And I figured I would give you my review. Because people love listening to other people tell them if a movie is good or not.
Since we established that 7 Gary Colemans dressed as Mr. T is THE most Gary Colemans dressed as Mr. T’s you can get back in my Inside Out review, I give this one…
5 Gary Colemans dressed as Mr. T.
Also, I saw it in 4D. I know what you’re like. You’re like 4D. Whaaa? And you would be right in your whaaa-ness.
But yeah, loved the movie. You have all already seen my love for the original Jungle Book here and I am always split on remakes. Some I love, some I feel unnecessary. But here? And live action versions of Disney cartoons seems to be THE THING right now.
Yes I KNOW this was a Rudyard Kipling book before it was a Disney movie. But come on…literally EVERYONE who sees this is going to be comparing it back to the 1977 Disney version. So stop it. And based on that, this actually felt like something new to me. Despite staying somewhat in line with the cartoon version, there are some pretty notable differences here that make this feel like Jon Favreau has breathed some new air into something I already loved. And I dig it. I am gonna try my best to remain spoiler-free here.
First off, I should talk about the effects. The movie? It’s beautiful. The jungle itself is well-crafted here, feeling vibrant and bustling at every turn. And the animals themselves, as they are in the 1977 film, are the stars here. Yes, Mowgli is there but puh-leez. Baloo. King Louie. Bagheera. Shere Kahn. Et cetera et cetera. These are the stars of the film. Sorry Mowgli. It’s not that Neel Sethi didn’t do a fine job. I actually thought he played the part quite well. But I came to see talking bears. Sawreez.
And on that note, the animals were all IMHO perfectly cast. Bill Murray is sort of like a God to me…
Honestly, though. He is pretty much best. We all know this. Let’s stop pretending. And he did a great job here as Baloo. I LOVE Baloo…so I went in expecting a lot. And he delivered for shizz.
Idris Elba was another standout for me. Shere Kahn is straight-up terrifying in this movie, son. And it’s due in large part to Idris Elba. Shiver.
Christopher Walken, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong’o, and ScarJo also all turn in good roles here. ScarJo, for me, felt a tad underutilized but did a lot with what little she had. I mean, her voice is. I mean.
Sorry, blacked out there. ScarJo.
The story is the story. We all pretty much know it but I definitely felt invested throughout. I will always love the cartoon version, but this one offered some more new pieces that I loved. The stronger focus on the wolves was a nice element I thought. It always felt a little off that the wolves were such a small part in the cartoon since they WERE Mowgli’s family and all. So it’s good to see them get more screen time and story here. Plus, I mean…
And while we are comparing to the original, I did quite like that while we may not have gotten full-out musical numbers per se, the nods to both the Bare Necessities and Wanna Be Like You were nice. The one thing I will say that this one lacked was an emotional punch in the gut. The original definitely leaves me in tears at parts where this one didn’t have all that. Again, I was very invested in the story but no tears. None.
What it lacked in emotion though…it made up for in adventure. The movie was a lot of fun to watch from beginning to end. I think this one probably captured more of what Rudyard Kipling wanted to convey in the source material. Adventure was at every turn and I mean…I wouldn’t mind living in the jungle.
In the end, I walked away from the movie with a smile on my face and so did pretty much everyone we were with, kids included. Well, Bar. She was kind of meh about it. But I recently found out she didn’t like Talladega Nights either. So.
Yeah so go see it.
Wait Wayne…what about the 4D?
I should also mention a little bit about the 4D experience. For those that don’t know, 4D is like 3D. Except WAY MORE AWESOME. The seats move, there’s wind and water and SMELLS. Like we smelled fire at one point…and dirt. I swear, it was more pleasant than it sounds. Overall, I thought it was a pretty neat way to see a movie. The seats REALLY moved. And there was even like a back poker thing…there was a scene when this monkey was pushing Mowgli along and every time he poked Mowgli in the back, he was poked in the back. Cool stuff.
Was it worth the heavy ticket price? I think so. At least for the right movie. It was a novel way to see a movie for sure. I will say though…at least in the theater we were at…the movie screen should have been bigger. For me, this was supposed to make us feel “there.” And I think you need a ginormous screen to do that. Overall, it felt cool…and we may do it again, but I think it won’t be a regular occurrence.