The Jungle Book (2016) ★★☆☆☆

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.

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26 thoughts on “The Jungle Book (2016) ★★☆☆☆

      • It’s set to be truer to the original book and much darker than this film seems to be. It’s a Warner Bros. production though, so it’ll have nothing to do with the Disney movie (none of the songs, no King Louie).

        It was originally planned for this year, then got moved to next year, and now, to my chagrin, moved again to 2018. It was originally called ‘Jungle Book: Origins’ which makes me think it was gonna be some sort of prequel film.

        Andy Serkis is directing it and will play Baloo. (Everything’s gonna be motion-captured). Bale is Bagheera, Cumberbatch is Shere Khan, Blanchett is Kaa, etc.

        You can find its IMDB page here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2388771/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_1

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    • Me too! This is great!! I honestly don’t understand the exceptionally high ratings that are floating around…Disney have run out of ideas, and they should be focusing on creating original ideas, which always turn out to be great, not remakes of wonderful films that shouldn’t be messed with!

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  1. I agree 100% ! But I’m afraid we’re gonna keep getting disappointing reboots. I also want to say, you’re so right about the fact this movie is actually quite scary. I’m 21 and King Louie scared the crap out of me 😦

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  2. Oh don’t let the remake ruin the original. It’s still here and we can still enjoy it.
    I liked Jungle Book. I thought it was an immersive experience and enjoyed the new take on it. However, the middle dragged a bit and I felt the songs didnt really fit with darker tone. But I enjoyed it

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  3. Interesting take. I found it to be a nice addition to the lore, and I thought it’s darker tone served well to provide an alternative to the original. I had problems with it though like how it portrayed the villains, I felt more ambiguity would have really made the film special. Anyhow, it’s interesting to see all the different takes on the film 🙂 Read mine if you can!

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  4. To some the CGI was too much, but I thought it was so well done that it didn’t take away from the film. It’ll be interesting to see if Serkis can get his done because it sounds like The Jungle Book 2 might come out when his does.

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      • I absolutely love Serkis and what he does with anything he gets to do, but we’ll see if it still gets made. I’m hoping it gets made as a fan, but I just don’t know if people will go back out to see another Jungle Book movie that isn’t a sequel.

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  5. I can understand all your points! I myself am in the minority in that I did not grow up on the original Disney cartoon; I certainly watched it a couple of times, but I could’t have told you the main character’s names or the plot before seeing this update. That fresh perspective did probably contribute to my experience with this new one. Completely agreed on the “not for little kids” point. I say if your child is younger than eight or nine-and that might even still be pushing it-then stay away from this one, because it will indeed frighten them! And you are right that the most intense moments were given away in the trailer, although it didn’t bother me too terribly much. Nice review-from one film nut to another! You write really well, and you have a new follower 🙂

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  6. I think we agree on this one, but for different reasons. I personally don’t think I’ll like the film because I don’t really like films that take place in the wilderness. I just really don’t like the locale and I don’t like a kid protagonist leading the film. It’s always been a pet peeve of mine. So…completely different reasons, but the end result’s what counts 😉

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      • It just feels too grimy for me I guess. It’s partially because I’m pretty germophobic with that kind of thing, but it just hurts everything for me. Even following the dialogue is a little harder because I’m distracted at how muddy and dirty everyone’s getting. It’s not always the case as it can be styalized to the point where it doesn’t feel like the wilderness like in Maleficent, but when it’s not super fantasy esque, it just doesn’t feel right. Snow helps to mitigate this though. I’m just super picky with the backdrop at times. I also don’t like the desert, which hurts films like Clash of the Titans, but that’s another story heh heh.

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  7. Pingback: Top Ten: Worst Films of 2016 | Film Reviews

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