Disney’s revamped quasi live-action Jungle Book is the harbinger of an era of hyper realistic animation. Hopefully they make more films like this, but part of me thinks this technology might serve nefarious purposes as well. The images look so realistic now that without my contact lenses I might even mistake them for real images (except bears and pythons and shit are talking). Someday will we be shocked to learn the cronies of a famous politician or celebrity have “kept alive” the person years after their death by fooling the public with realistic computer generated images? Such were the thoughts in my mind while watching this iteration of Disney’s The Jungle Book. Loosely based on the Rudyard Kipling classic, The Jungle Book depicts the journey of Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves. A sociopathic tiger named Shere Khan (Idris Elba) hunts Mowgli with a vengeance, since the boy’s father burned out his eye with fire (fair enough). Along the way Mowgli encounters various beasts and creatures, as the coming-of-age tale leads to Mowgli’s discovery of “fire” and purpose.
The original animated Jungle Book (1967) will remain my favorite Jungle Book for the same reason the original Willy Wonka is still my favorite Chocolate Factory. The first films had a lot of love in them. The newer ones—though superior in many ways—still felt to me like Hollywood cash grabs. Though the old one will look hopelessly dated and cheesy to kids today, I think the original versions of the jaunty songs such as “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wanna Be Like You” are superior just for the 1960’s joie de vivre they embodied. That being said, a mega-watt A-List lineup of actors such as Bill Murray and Christopher Walken deliver these songs with great gusto, that by the time you hear Scarlett Johansson as the Python croon “Trust in Me” you may be a full fan of the new Jungle Book.
Verdict: #RingingEndorsement go see it.
Photo via Disney
The Jungle Book movie review