Story by Jake Eccleston, Reporter
Growing up, I was one of those children who always enjoyed a good Disney movie. One that stood out in my mind as being my all-time favorite was “The Jungle Book.” What is not to love about a group of jungle animals rearing a human “man cub”? So, of course, when I began seeing commercials promoting an all-star cast of characters in a remake that would not be using animation but, rather, CGI, I was intrigued.
“The Jungle Book” is masterful and I fully expect the movie to be nominated for some special effects awards during this year’s awards ceremony. While talking animals does indeed seem strange, once you get over the initial shock, you realize that their jaws even move as to lend their voices to the production. With Ben Kingsley voicing Bagheera, a black panther, and Bill Murray as Baloo, a hungry bear, these characters help to protect Mowgli from other predators in the jungle. Whether it be Kaa, voiced by Scarlett Johansson, who hypnotizes Mowgli and shows him how he came to be left in the jungle, or King Louie, voiced by Christopher Walken, a enormous orangutan who tries to streak a Mafia-style deal with Mowgli in exchange for fire, “The Jungle Book” proves to be a movie with diverse characters . But, who could forget the scarred Shere Khan, whose voice is lent by Idris Elba, who wants nothing more than to kill Mowgli because of his father’s actions that caused Khan’s disfigurement.
Each character is brought to life in a way that would make Walt Disney proud, and truly shows the strides that movie-making and animation has made since 1967 when the original “The Jungle Book” premiered in theaters. Neel Sethi, who plays Mowgli, does a wonderful job portraying a childhood hero as the only actor that is humanly portrayed in the movie. Whether he is fighting with Shere Khan or singing “The Bear Necessities” with Baloo, he embodies his part as Mowgli.
I highly recommend that if you were a lover of “The Jungle Book” as a child then go and see this version; it has a more grown-up feel that adults can enjoy.