The 1967 animated film adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book was undoubtedly one of the best films of its kind, wildly popular with children and adults alike. Walt Disney’s work of art sets a high benchmark for remakes, but Jon Favreau’s recent attempt meets the lofty standards of the original. Pretty much everything you see on screen, other than Neel Sethi’s Mowgli, is stunningly realistic CGI, and it sets the standard for future potential live-action remakes of animated classics.
The film maintains the family-friendly feeling of Disney’s version but with darker undertones and slight nods to Kipling’s novel. One of my favourite things about it was Idris Elba’s Shere Khan, which was laced with a sinister edge that the Disney’s occasionally comical version didn’t have. The storyline remains largely the same, but in interweaving the strongest elements of Disney’s children’s story and Kipling’s novel, the film becomes something both brilliant and original.
"Christopher Walken’s appearance as King Louie and his musical number are, while strangely unnerving, entertaining; and Scarlett Johansson’s brief appearance as Kaa was excellent yet I was left feeling as though she could’ve featured more"
Another one of my favourite moments was the toned-down Bare Necessities with Bill Murray as CGI-Baloo floating down a stream with Mowgli on his belly. The rest of the cast maintain the eminence of Murray and Elba – Christopher Walken’s appearance as King Louie and his musical number are, while strangely unnerving, entertaining; and Scarlett Johansson’s brief appearance as Kaa was excellent yet I was left feeling as though she could’ve featured more. Ben Kingsley as Bagheera is perfect; it’s hard to imagine the panther with any other voice after watching this film. He, along with Mowgli and Baloo, stand out as skilfully voiced and emotively portrayed, providing the best scenes of the film when on screen together.
Overall, I enjoyed The Jungle Book immensely, as a fan of both the original film and the book. It’s an all-round crowd-pleaser; I loved it, adults will love it, children will love it, and the critics sure seem to love it. Highly recommended!