2016 ( UK | USA ) ( Adventure, Drama, Family )
Starring: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken
Director: Jon Favreau
The story is the same as the original, which follows a young boy named Mowgli (played by newcomer Neel Sethi) raised by panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) and a pack of wolves. However, this latest attempt to bring Rudyard Kipling’s Mowgli to the screen is a triumph – a painstakingly crafted digital CGI movie whose astonishing visual effects are complemented by very sure-footed storytelling and tremendous voice-work.
This is a far darker film than the 1967 cartoon. There’s a hint of jungle gothic about several of the scenes. Mowgli’s journey, against his will, to the ruined temple presided over by the obese orang-utan King Louis (voiced in purring mobster-like tones by Christopher Walken) could be something out of a horror movie. So could the scene when the little boy is mesmerised by the python Kaa which wraps its coils around him. There’s nothing cosy either about the elemental sequences – the landslides, storms, buffalo stampedes or the fire – “red flower” – in the forest.
As lovely to behold as it is engrossing to watch, The Jungle Book is the rare remake that actually improves upon its predecessors — all while setting a new standard for CGI.