Sorry Andy Serkis but you may want to cancel your Jungle Book film.
The Jungle Book stars Bill Murray (Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters), Ben Kingsley (Schindler’s List, Shutter Island), Idris Elba (Pacific Rim, Thor), Christopher Walken (Catch Me If You Can, The Deer Hunter) and newcomer Neel Sethi. It’s directed by the incredible Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Chef).
When the ferocious tiger Shere Khan threatens the jungle, the man-cub Mowgli must leave. With the guidance of his friends Bagheera and Baloo, Mowgli flees the jungle to find his people.
When it was announced that Jon Favreau was making a Jungle Book film and Andy Serkis was also going to be making one, I was infinitely more excited to see what Serkis would do with the material. I can now say I don’t want to see any other adaptations, not made by Jon Favreau. I was blown away by this film and I’m so excited to see it again in cinemas.
I have to start with the unbelievable effects. I don’t know if this is an animated film or live-action, whatever you want to call it, it’s amazing. I have to say, it took a couple of scenes for my eyes to adjust but after that I was never taken out of the film, by the effects. When Mowgli is running through the jungle, it looks like he actually is there running with a panther and bear. The visuals are breathtaking and beautiful. There’s no possible way to describe how outstanding this film looks, you have to see it, to believe it. When watching this film, I thought I was in India, with Mowgli and all the other animals, I was completely engrossed the entire time.
Neel Sethi who plays Mowgli, has never been in a feature film before but you couldn’t tell. Not only is he the lead character and has to carry the film but he’s also the only human you ever see. He had no other actors to bounce off and work with. So not only was it his first film but he only had green screen animals to interact with. It’s incredible what this kid was able to achieve in this film and a huge credit has to go to Jon Favreau, for being able to direct Sethi to an amazing performance.
The voice cast is spot on, for every character. Bill Murray as Baloo was great casting and he is wonderful as the big, lovable bear. He has great dialogue and some really funny jokes. Ben Kingsley has a very powerful voice and is perfect as the straight man… or straight panther. Lupita Nyong’o and Giancarlo Esposito were both really good as the wolves but didn’t have huge roles. The two characters who really stole the show were King Louie and Shere Khan.
The cast for both Jungle Book films coming out, are amazing but my favorite casting was Christopher Walken as King Louie and he didn’t disappoint. During the build up to his reveal, I had a huge smile on my face, waiting for the scene I was most excited to see and when he final reveals himself, I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing until it was over. I don’t know if it was the nostalgia or how humorous I find Christopher Walken but I lost control in this scene, from pure joy and happiness. I love King Louie in the original 60s film and Walken did a perfect version of one of the best animated characters.
I was intrigued by Shere Khan but I wasn’t prepared for what we were getting in this film. Shere Khan is terrifying and menacing. Every time he comes on screen, he has a powerful presences that puts everyone in the scene and the audience, on edge. Idris Alba is incredible as the voice. He is very intimidating and along with the revolutionary effects, Shere Khan is one of the greatest villain every put to screen. They’re talking about doing an origin story and now I’ve seen the film, I couldn’t be more for it.
Maleficent changed too much, Cinderella didn’t change enough and The Jungle found the perfect medium between the two, creating what will probably be the greatest Jungle Book adaptation ever. They changed things from the original film but everything they changed still stayed true to the essence of the original. The way they used the elephants was magical but had to be different for it to fit the film they were making. Overall this was an amazing adaptation and I’m really excited to see where they take this story in the sequel.
I only have one small complaint. Kaa is one of my favorite characters in the original film and Scarlett Johansson playing the voice is great but she’s not used very much. I didn’t really effect the film, I just wanted to see more of her because the scene she was in was amazing. Also, she does have some very convenient powers to push the story along.
I loved this film and it’s established itself as the film to beat this year. Jon Favreau has done an incredible job again starting a new franchise. The Jungle Book brought me so much joy and you should all go out and see it now!
Have you seen The Jungle Book and what did you think of it?