This is what I call a live action remake! This is the 1967 classic story made for a new generation of children. This film is firing on all cylinders and a replica of what every one of these remakes should be like. It’s the perfect blend of the classic story and a new twist to make the story stand on its own.
This film is directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man). His attention to detail is incredible and one of the reasons this film is so great! This is a visual masterpiece and will stand up over time. From the opening you are immediately sucked into the story and you feel as if you are right there in the middle of the jungle. All of the elements and effects keep you engrossed in the story until the end credits are rolling.
Now as for actor talk, there is only one, and as this is his first film I cannot wait to see what else this child actor has in store. Neel Sethi delivers a spectacular performance here. His facial expressions, body language and execution of the role are all spot-on. If you consider what he had to work with, it could have been terrible! I am speculating that he is acting across from a green tennis ball as a point of reference for the CGI characters. Imagine having to act as if this green ball is a nurturing mama wolf or a terrifying snake! The Blu Ray special features will be great to see how this was actually done behind the scenes.
Although Sethi was great, this is probably the best voice cast I’ve seen since Toy Story and The Lego Movie. This is a star cast that disappears into these characters. Not once during this film do you say “Oh, that’s this actor from that movie”. From Scarlett Johanson as Kaa to Christopher Walken as King Louie, I enjoyed every voice on this cast. There were some stand outs with Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, and Bill Murray as Baloo. These actors did great expressing the overall essence of the characters and work well together to really bring this story to life.
You cannot have a great story without an amazing villain. Idris Elba brings the character of Shere Khan to life and this is what villains should be made of! With Elba’s delivery, you are hanging on every word and motion of the character. Everyone that was involved in the making of Shere Khan should be proud as he is one of the best villains I’ve seen in a long time. You hate him from the start due to his pure evil intent. However, you just can’t help but hang onto every word he says and you find yourself enjoying every bit of it!
The Jungle Book is a combination of great story telling and magnificent visual production! The film is well paced and a good time for everyone involved. We would caution bringing small children to the film as there is some animal violence. Cinema Wise gives the Jungle Book a 5 out of 5! A must see in theaters. So be like me and show that you know the Bare Necessities of life and see the Jungle book in theaters!
Review by Ryan Wolfe