Disney’s live action take on the immortal story of the jungle boy Mowgli, The Jungle Book opens in theatres today.
The Jon Favreau-directed film immediately introduces us to the main character, Mowgli, a child who’s lost in the jungle and his high-jumping, carefree life.
Mowgli (Neel Sethi) lives a charmed life in the jungle surrounded by his adoptive wolf family, comprising Akela (Giancarlo Esposito), the head of the wolf pack, Raksha (Lupita Nyong’o) – his companion and their children.
The kid is mentored by Bagheera (Ben Kingsley), a Panther, who has decided a long time back that Mowgli will live alongside the wolves and not use any of his ‘tricks’ – as in, use his intelligence to solve issues – something that Mowgli finds difficult to conform to.
But that charmed life is endangered when Shere Khan (Idris Elba), the Tiger, returns to the jungle and deems that no human should co-exist with animals.
Of course, there’s a story to why Shere Khan believes so. How that makes a difference to little Mowgli’s life is what forms the rest of the film.
Disney has gone all out in creating 'Mowgliverse' and it’s astounding. The Jungle Book is one of the few movies that succeed in creating an environment that’s as rich and full of emotions as the characters are.
Evidently, a lot of thought has gone into how the movie should shape up. Disney took the right step by keeping the film as well as the end animations similar to the style that reminds one of the original books.
The centre of Disney’s 'Mowgliverse' is Neel Sethi, who does an amazing job as Mowgli. It is the child actor who brings to life all the emotions that the script has. Neel’s expressions and mannerisms add a whole new dimension to what happens on screen. It is also interesting how he got all the mannerisms that one would expect of a boy who’s grown in the jungle. Here’s an actor if you ever wanted one.
Supporting him and making taking the film to a whole new level are the voice actors – who are some of the best in Hollywood today.
The Jungle Book is a near-perfect film that’s a great weekend watch for children and adults as well. However, there’s this rankling point about the blink-and-miss – maybe menacing and mysterious – appearance of Kaa (Scarlett Johannson).
Also noticeable is the awkward, immediate, off-camera death scene of another critical character in the 'Mowgliverse'. We aren’t sure whether that was how it was supposed to be or was snipped by the Censors.
At the end of it all, the film accepts the age-old cliché of an epic, action-packed climax in the night. Why Hollywood movies like to wrap their greatest action sequences in the balm of darkness is confusing.
But we’re thinking it’s more good than bad. With the legendary Christopher Walken voicing King Louie having a similar, small appearance and Kaa’s interesting one, are they saved for The Jungle Book 2? Too much ambition?
Image Source: youtube/ZeroMedia