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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » Film Handlers' Movie Reviews   » The Jungle Book (2016)

   
Author Topic: The Jungle Book (2016)
Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12448
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 04-24-2016 01:06 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
With the huge success of this, I suppose the idea is now cast in stone at Disney: "We don't need to acquire new properties; let's just remake our animated movies and theme park rides, and cash in." We know this because a live-action Beauty and the Beast is on the way, and they're also doing movies based on the Jungle Cruise and It's a Small World rides.

That said -- if they do those movies right, they can just keep on doing 'em because I liked this one a lot.

In this one, of course, the animated animals are the stars and while they still look persistently phony in spots (because they're talking, mostly), the realism is pretty amazing. In fact I kept finding myself thinking that the jungle itself looked more artificial than the animals did. I suppose within the next 10 years we won't need actors and actresses anymore; they'll just pull up the Tom Cruise "file" and he can be in any movie he wants, at any age he wants to be.

Anyway, this movie sticks fairly closely to the story told in the 1967 animated movie -- Mowgli, an orphan boy, is found by Bagheera the panther after having been abandoned in the jungle. Bagheera assigns Mowgli to a pack of wolves to be raised, but now, years later, feels he wouldn't be safe in the jungle due to the various dangers there. Adding to his concern is that Mowgli is now old enough to be inventive, and keeps resorting to forbidden human "tricks" to make things and do things that the animals can't. So Bagheera proceeds to escort Mowgli to the "man village" in order for him to rejoin his own kind.

While the buildup is the same, the ending is different this time -- to allow for sequels, of course. However, the ending to this movie makes a lot more sense than the cartoon one did -- that ending seemed tacked on, to me, and this ending seems more true to the Mowgli character.

The voice actors are really what make the movie stand out. I mean, c'mon...Bill Murray as a lazy bear? Best idea ever. And Christopher Walken is suitably creepy as King Louie, the big ape who wants to obtain "man's red fire." Idris Elba is great as Shere Khan the tiger, and Ben Kingsley's Bagheera was perfect too.

Scarlett Johannson was underused as Kaa, the snake; she disappears and then doesn't come back, and even her song was relegated to the end credits. Maybe she'll figure more prominently in the sequel (which has already been announced).

I was glad to see they kept some of the songs from the '67 version. I didn't like the way "Bare Necessities" was done, but Walken's take on "I Wanna Be Like You" was a real hoot.

Special mention should be given to Neel Sethi, the only human in the movie, who plays Mowgli. He did a fine job, especially considering all the physical challenges in the movie, and acting against a bunch of characters who weren't actually there during the filming had to be a chore. He will only get better with age.

The end credits are great fun to watch -- I was really surprised they added that on, considering it wasn't necessary for the story and couldn't have been cheap. I'm glad Disney is seeing the value in these little extra "easter eggs" and putting forth the effort. It's been largely without reward here though...about 90% of the crowds have been walking out during this amazing segment, which is baffling to me.

After the heavy-handed Zootopia, I was expecting this movie to layer on a few more helpings of environmental "we must preserve the jungle" propaganda, but thankfully that didn't happen. It's just a good old fun story, brought back to the screen successfully once again.

4 out of 5 stars.

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Martin McCaffery
Film God

Posts: 2353
From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 04-24-2016 01:54 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mike Blakesley
I suppose the idea is now cast in stone at Disney: "We don't need to acquire new properties; let's just remake our animated movies and theme park rides, and cash in."
I anxiously await the Pretty Woman ride (the movie that saved Disney) [evil]

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Joseph L. Kleiman
Master Film Handler

Posts: 378
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Apr 2005


 - posted 04-24-2016 04:09 PM      Profile for Joseph L. Kleiman   Email Joseph L. Kleiman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Pretty sure Pretty Woman was Disney's first attempt at a live action Cinderella.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12448
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 04-25-2016 10:16 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It also breaks a few of the current kid-film conventions:

- There are no fart jokes
- There are no poop jokes
- There's no dancing, fireworks or party at the end

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Jonathan Goeldner
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1330
From: Washington, District of Columbia
Registered: Jun 2008


 - posted 05-20-2016 02:40 PM      Profile for Jonathan Goeldner   Email Jonathan Goeldner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Jon Favreau really knocked this out of the park - great translation of the Disney animated version to live action - impressive FX - and technically one of the best IMAX-laser presentations I've seen so far

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12448
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-26-2017 10:26 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects, beating out Doctor Strange, Rogue One, Kubo & the Two Strings, and Deepwater Horizon. Well deserved in a really good field.

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