Cary, NC – Director Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Chef) has successfully adapted another one of Disney’s classic animated tales into a technically dazzling and entertaining live action adventure. Shot entirely on a soundstage, Favreau employs state-of-the-art CGI to bring a jungle and all its talking animals to life and the result is some real deal Hollywood magic.
Another Great Remake By Disney
Disney has been remaking their animated classics for a few years now, including Cinderella and Oz (both of which I thought were great) as well as Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent (both of which I thought were not great). The Jungle Book might have just leapt to the top of the bunch as Favreau brings Baloo, Shere Kahn and all the beloved characters to life in a way that never seemed possible.
Excellent CGI, Even Better Story
I must admit, for the first 15 or 20 minutes or so, I was simply in awe of how realistic and beautiful the imagery on display was. Just about the only real, physical thing in the movie is Neel Sethi, the young actor playing Mowgli (a true scene stealer if there ever was one). Everything else was made in the computer. The real trick, however, is that after those 20 minutes, I was simply caught up in the story.
Favreau cast this movie to the gills with voice talent. Bill Murray as Baloo, Christopher Walken as King Louie, Idris Elba as Shere Kahn, and Scarlett Johansson as Kaa. The world knows just how wonderful Bill Murray is at this point, but the man still knows how to surprise us all, as his Baloo is even more lovable than anticipated. Walken brings humor and gravitas to the great king, but the star of the show is Elba as Kahn. He brings a real menace to the proceedings, and even though this is a Disney movie, it helps add to the belief that this bad guy just might win. The stakes are never too high, or too intense, for little ones but again, it just adds to the great storytelling.
3D Is Immersive
I also have to mention that I chose to see this in 3D, and if you have a trusted theater near you that cares about their projection, I strongly urge you to do the same. Favreau goes the Avatar route, meaning he never just throws things at you, instead using the technology to create an entire environment around you and putting you right into the movie. Extremely impressive.
A Must See!
I really can’t say enough good things about The Jungle Book. A technical marvel, a thrilling adventure, and a classic children’s tale all in one. An absolute must see in the theater!