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Director: Jon Favreau
We’ll start by saying that we grew up watching Walt Disney’s 1967 The Jungle Book every other week, so Jon Favreau had some big shoes to fill. The film follows the narrative of Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 novel, but breathes new life into the series, turning it into a fun, thoughtful, and at times slightly scary adventure for adults and children alike.
Through a combination of incredible CGI, great choices in matching actors voices to the loveable characters, and some impressive acting from newcomer Neel Sethi as Mowgli, Favreau has hit the mark in this 2016 remake.
Mowgli, a man-cub raised by wolves, decides to leave the pack after receiving threats from the jungle tyrant Shere Khan (fantastically voiced by Idris Elba): a fearsome tiger with a disfigured face after a run-in with man’s “red flower” (fire). He sets off with Bagheera (voiced by Ben Kingsley)—his strict, but kind father figure—on a journey that is as much about self-discovery as it is about evading the dangers of the jungle. Along the way, Mowgli makes friends with the loveable bear Baloo (Bill Murray) who encourages him that his human ‘tricks’ should be embraced, and might just be the “bare necessities” of human life in the jungle.
One of the most noteworthy scenes of the film is Mowgli’s encounter with the king of the jungle—King Louie. Voiced by none other than Christopher Walken, King Louie brings a Italian mobster styled flavour to the role, channeling something simialar to Al Pacino’s The Godfather. His humorous jokes are as short lived as his temper, and after discovering that Mowgli cannot summon the ‘red flower’ he embarks on a destructive rampage, resulting in the destruction of his empire and Mowgli, Bagheera, and Baloo’s narrow escape.
The Jungle Book is definitely a must see.