[Warning. May Contain Spoilers]
I have been SO excited for this movie. Out of all of the live action classic reboots that have been released over the past few years, for some reason, the trailer to The Jungle Book had me the most pumped. I love the original but I wouldn't class it in my top five faves of all time or anything, so I put this feeling down purely to how epic the trailers and featurettes have been. If you haven't seen the trailer, check it out below before reading on.
I went into the show with very high expectations after all of the teasers, trailers and featurettes and from the moment of disappearance of the Disney Castle as we are swept into the jungle I knew it was going to be epic. Sitting by myself, gripping my tissue tight in my fist, I couldn't help but well up at our first peek at Mowgli (no matter how hard I was trying to keep it together). I knew what was happening so it wasn't the situation of the scene, more so sentimentality.
Sadly, the cinema I was at didn't offer 3D but right from the start you could see which parts would have really been extra enthralling with that option.
So yeah, Mowgli. Neel Sethi is 12 years old, 12!! And this is 100% going to see him shoot to stardom, after having only one short film previously under his belt. I think it takes a special actor to be able to act while having to imagine who you are doing a scene with due to special effects, let alone a child actor. I've read that unlike on some sets that just use big green markers etc, Neel did actually have puppets to help him along but either way he didn't just bring Mowgli to life with his talent, but the animals and their relationships too.
The rest of the casting was spot on aswell. I would go as far as to say I couldn't fault it but my one disappointment through the whole movie (as I had already voiced before seeing it) was Scarlett Johansson has Kaa, I just didn't get it - it didn't click for me. However, Bill Murrary as Baloo, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera and Idris Elba as Shere Khan were my absolute favorites and perfectly personified the huge personalities of my childhood jungle buddies.
Something that bothers a lot of people about the classic animation's live action counter parts is how closely they follow, or conversely, how far they stray from the original plot and although I didn't want to compare those, it's hard not to. As not to include any spoilers, I obviously won't talk about it in too much detail but I will say how I love how much it echoed Cinderella in the amount it followed the 1967 Jungle Book storyline, along with the extra details and family backgrounds. There were moments that suprised me in the plot - namely the ending - which just kept me saying over and over in my head, 'this is amazing'.
It isn't just how the animals look though that had me in awe, but the wonder of the water truce scene and the complete respect they have for each other and the 'circle of life'.
Particularly pinical points to me included that of the bowing to the Elephants. A lot different from the animiation film where the elephants appear aloof and clumsy, here they are wise and great - respected by all. Also the 'lesson' of sorts about man and their destructive nature. It is only natural for Shere Khan, a Bengal Tiger, to fear and want to kill man when it is them who have made his species endangered as well as their threat to the jungle habitat and other animals with the 'red flower'.
To wrap this up (so that I don't go on gushing forever), The Jungle Book 2016 is heartfelt storytelling and usual Disney 'top of it's game' graphics and camera angles. It is an action film that will even interest my non-Disney adoring other half as well as an emotional and sentimental journey for those who the story is close to their heart. I think that both Rudyard Kipling and Walt Disney would be extremely proud of the execution, talent and love that has gone into what I'm sure will be an all time great of our generation in film making.
I would not suggest this for young children as there are animals fighting, death scenes and moments that will make you jump but I always question movie ratings and think that kids see too much too young these days. Articles I've seen online call this a 'dilemma for parents' but how? Disney is NOT and never has been purely for children.
Overall, if you'd hadn't guessed it gets more than my seal of approval and probably is now one of my favorite Disney movies of all time - completely indescribable.
Let me know if you have seen The Jungle Book yet and what you thought! If you haven't do you think you will? If not, how come?!