Who wanted a remake of The Jungle Book?…Nobody.
Mowgli (Neel Sethi), the ‘man cub’, is raised by Raksha and Akela and the rest of the wolf pack in the jungle. Bagheera (Ben Kingsley), guides Mowgli to get to grips with the jungle, but soon finds himself on the run from predators; other animals. Shere Khan (Idris Elba), smells the man cub from a mile away, and vows to hunt him down. On the run from Shere Khan, Mowgli meets a few animals along the way, including Baloo (Bill Murray), Kaa (Scarlet Johansson), and King Louie (Christopher Walken).
You would assume with the technology available to director, Jon Favreau, and his crew, it is an incredible opportunity to present something new about the story, or at least to present it in a new form. Unfortunately, like Cinderella, the film is visually stunning, but fails to immerse viewers in its world. The film’s most intense moments are merely given away in the trailer, leaving a disappointing remake. And as for the film promoting itself as ‘suitable for children’…the size of King Louie alone will scare the living daylights out of the poor kids. The Jungle Book is a lot darker and more sinister than it’s predecessor, therefore children would be wrongly advised to view this. The voice cast on the other hand, is great across the board, particularly Scarlett Johansson’s Kaa, her husky voice suited this perfectly, though she barely featured in the film. Bill Murray and Idris Elba did a convincing job nonetheless. Christopher Walken’s voice however, seemed somewhat misplaced as King Louie. Neel Sethi, who plays the young Mowgli, in his first ever screen appearance does a satisfactory job, but not great. Considering he is the only human on screen, he doesn’t quite pull it off effectively, or to a sense that his acting is believable. Here, the CGI does not help to accompany this, only making matter worse. Another issue that can be brought to light is that there isn’t enough development for each of the characters, making it hard to connect with them, only resulting in audience detachment.
The Jungle Book is far from perfect. Yet another Disney classic that has suffered the live-action remake treatment. Nothing new is brought to the jungle, making this remake particularly flat. Not only is this film forgettable due to its overpowering amount of CGI, but simply because the 1967 version should not have been messed with in the first place.