Review: The Jungle Book

Jungle Book

Published: Thursday 12th May 2016 by Rich Sutherland

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It’s hard to believe that any adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book can beat the cartoon version from the 1960s, with its swinging tunes and groove-dancing animals. However, this year’s movie release, also by Disney, is in my opinion even more gripping, heartfelt and satisfying.

It opens with the man cub Mowgli, a young boy separated from his kind as a baby, running with the caring and protective wolves that accepted him into their pack as one of their own. Accompanied by the highly intelligent and humourless Bagheera, a black panther who provides wisdom and guidance, everything seems fine and dandy. That is until the fearsome Shere Khan appears with a grudge to bear, turning the status quo upside-down with his cool, calm and collected manner that barely disguises a longing for blood.

What follows is a familiar tale of action, peril, selflessness, curiosity, friendship, betrayal, reconciliation, and most importantly of all, courage. Filled with humour and charm, this retelling of the classic tale is an absolute delight from start to finish. Despite every character but Mowgli being computer-generated (beautifully, might I add), it only takes a few minutes to become sucked into their tropical world and believe that no green screen or CGI tricks were ever involved. Add to that an excellent cast of voice actors that include Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johansson and Idris Elba, and you have yourself one awesome adventure. Then of course there’s Christopher Walken, who is absolutely spot on as King Louie, the enormous orangutan with a taste for papaya and a hunger for control over “the red flower”.

As for Mowgli, Neel Sethi does an incredible job of depicting the young boy, from sprinting through the plains of India and jumping between tree branches, to demonstrating the compassion, ingenuity and spirit that being human is all about.

Catch The Jungle Book at cinemas while you can and look out for its DVD release. Whilst it may prove a little frightening for young ones in parts due to its impressive realism, it truly is a family film that can be enjoyed time and time again.

Published: Thursday 12th May 2016 by Rich Sutherland

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