“The Jungle Book” #ConTENders 2016

2016 is picking up. The third #ConTENder for the year is the live action adaptation for the Walt Disney Classic: The Jungle Book.

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Now I must say that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the 1967 animated film version, and I’m not sure as to why. I surmise it was due to the fact that I had only seen it once, or perhaps it just didn’t resonate with me. At any rate, the story of Mowgli, Baloo, Bagheera and their plight against Shere Khan wasn’t compelling enough at the time.

As for this live-action version, the first trailer didn’t look like anything special. I mean, it was a CGI version of something that I didn’t particularly care for as a child. Whoop-de-doo. Yet, the early buzz on the film was extraordinary, and it colored me intrigued. Without the stellar voice cast and Jon Favreau as the director, I just may have passed on this altogether.

 

Then I saw the second trailer. Okay, now that was one hell of a trailer and then I knew that I would be checking this out. I mean, I aim to go to the theaters every week, at least once, so this wasn’t a hard decision.

 

This voice cast nailed the tone of the original film. Bill Murray as Baloo. We thought Garfield was the perfect voice role for him, and then it was released… He was the best part of that movie; I’ll give him that. Baloo came to life with Bill.

 

Ben Kingsley’s soothing, yet stern tone, aptly matched Bagheera so it made sense for him to play Mowgli’s caretaker. Favreau chose to give Kaa the snake a female voice simply because he felt the original film didn’t have enough female characters, so he enlisted frequent collaborator Scarlett Johansson to give life to the “charming” boa.

 

But the best pairing of character and actor award goes to Shere Khan and Idris Elba. Elba imbues the menacing tiger with a level of immense power. Khan is the one of the best on-screen villains this side of Darth Vader. Not only is he pure evil, but his evil has motivation. You can understand his methods. He was hurt by a human, and therefore has immense trust issues. He sees humans as reckless meatbags of destruction. And he’s right. So you can understand his point of view.

 

The Jungle Book has some intense moments for children, but honestly, it’s mostly family-friendly fare. It evokes the fine line family movies used to cross in the yesteryears of film. The 80s were the last era where this type of film was the norm, so it was refreshing to see such a film today.

 

Go see The Jungle Book, you will not be disappointed.


 

-Jamie (@GuyOnAWire)

Keep up to date with which films may make my Top 10 of 2016 by clicking here.

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