After a threat from the tiger Shere Khan forces him to flee the jungle, a man-cub named Mowgli embarks on a journey of self discovery with the help of panther, Bagheera, and free spirited bear, Baloo.
The Jungle Book is beautifully crafted film that will win over children and adults alike. It pays homage to the original 1967 version but manages to be distinctly modern; a fresh take on the beloved tale.
It’s easy to forget that you’re watching an animated film as the animals and scenery are so photorealistic you feel as if you’re actually watching the events unfold in a real jungle. I’d imagine this effect would be heightened if seen in 3D, but even in 2D it’s pretty incredible. Rather than stealing the show from the plot, the brilliant animation allows you to become fully immersed in Mowgli’s world.
The animals are voiced by an all-star cast who are perfectly suited for their roles, and Neel Sethi was really great as Mowgli. The film never feels scripted, and Mowgli really comes across as a kid naturally reacting to the events that take place. Petulant, creative and exuberant, he’s just like any 12 year old trying to find his place in the world, and he’s at once easy to relate to and root for.
The movie balances action scenes with lighter humourous ones so it’s at turns thrilling and funny. From Shere Khan terrorizing the wolves to Baloo and Mowgli singing together in the river, The Jungle Book is a roller coaster of emotions and memorable moments. The movie is also quite darker than expected, in part due to the realism of the setting, making stakes of survival feel very real. Mowgli is continually scratched up and death is a very real possibility. In all though, it was great fun, the kind of movie you can watch multiple times.
I took two messages away from this film. The first is that it’s important to be yourself and to let others be themselves. Mowgli is continually pressured into behaving in accordance with the rules of the pack and to be less ‘human’. However, it’s Mowgli’s human ingenuity that saves the day in the end and his differences are clearly not something the animals should be afraid of. The second and related message is a reminder that humans and animals can peacefully coexist, that it is not inevitable that humans will destroy nature. Mowgli can help the animals with his inventions and live comfortably among them.
Though the animation is certainly The Jungle Book’s most impressive feature, the acting and plot are also really well done, and in all the movie is an immersive and exiting tale. Recommended.