26 September 2023

The Jungle Book

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Reviewed by Victor Rebikoff.

Director: Jon Favreau, Walt Disney Pictures, PG, 106 Minutes.

Rudyard Kipling’s timeless tale of Mowgli the man-cub orphan raised by wolves in the Indian jungle is beautifully told and brought to the big screen by ‘Iron Man’ director Jon Favreau using a variety of spectacular visual imagery.

Newcomer Neel Sethi makes his screen debut as Mowgli appearing in the opening scenes in a lush-green jungle setting with his black panther companion (voiced by Ben Kingsley – ‘The Walk’) who also acts as the narrator throughout the movie.

After rejoining his family of wolves including his adoptive wolf mother Raksha (Lupita Nyong’o – ‘Non-Stop’), Mowgli is told of an impending threat from the scorned tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba – ‘The Dark Tower’).

To avoid being caught Mowgli reluctantly leaves the jungle, escorted by Bagheera, and together they begin the trek back to his own people in the man village.

Along the way Mowgli is suddenly separated from Bagheera only to be later saved by the friendly, fun-loving bear Baloo (Bill Murray – ‘St. Vincent’) from the evil intentions of the softly-spoken smarmy snake Kaa (Scarlett Johansson – ‘Lucy’).

After rewarding Baloo for saving his life Mowgli is accompanied by Baloo for the rest of the journey before being kidnapped by monkeys and taken to their leader, the huge ape, King Louie (Christopher Walken – ‘Click’) inside a broken-down building.

When Mowgli is finally reunited with Bagheera and told of the tragedy that has befallen his wolf family he immediately heads home together with his friends Bagheera and Baloo to confront the scourge of the jungle Shere Khan.

As Mowgli is the only real life character in the entire movie Favreau has cleverly adapted photorealistic techniques and motion-capture for the celebrated cast involved in voicing the key animals such as Kingsley, Murray, Elba, Johansson and Walken.

Favreau’s enjoyable storyline is further enhanced by the innovative techniques used in bringing the amazing animals to life in addition to incorporating such popular songs as “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wanna be like you”.

The live action adaptation of the Kipling novel ‘The Jungle Book’ is even far superior to the 1967 animated version having been brilliantly reimagined into a thoroughly enjoyable magical movie and one not be missed.

The Jungle Book will be shown on Channel 7flix on SATURDAY 16 MAY at 7.00PM

Vic’s Verdict: 4 ½ Stars

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