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There is truly nothing new under the sun. If you want a fresh take on an old story watch the Rogue One trailer. Otherwise, feel free to take the children in your life to see The Jungle Book, available only in 3D. It’s easier than a trip to the zoo!

The Jungle Book is a story as old as our time, or at least as old as whenever Walt Disney Rudyard Kipling wrote it in the late 1800’s. Ol’ Rudy was probably teased in the play-yard for having a name like that and retreated into his imagination to create this lush storyscape. My imagination is obviously not as good as his was. I don’t even like going outside when it’s humid, so fuck a jungle. 

A classic children’s story that has been adapted many times, this iteration was created by screenwriter Justin Marks and director Jon Favreau, with Neel Sethi playing an imperial pint sized, picture perfect real-live-action young Man Who Would Be King of the digital jungle.

Sethi’s appearance as Mowgli fits the character description perfectly. His cherry-chapstick lip color matches the Calvin Klein-esque red loincloth exactly like his perfectly placed scars, abrasions and dirt match the slight tinges of whine in his lines. The man-cub only grows mildly petulant as he journeys at becoming more autonomous. Although incredibly agile and swiftly adept at tying knots like a good cub-scout, he’s mostly very fortunate to have such good friends in the animal kingdom.  

The-Jungle-Book

During this “novel,” epic journey Mowgli is nurtured by wolf-mother Raksha (Lupita Nyong’O), learns from his protective panther pal, Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) and meets a bear named Baloo (Bill Murray). He also encounters a snake named Kaa (Ssscarlett Johanssson as Her) and gargantuan gangster King Louie the ape (the great Christopher Walken), all while constantly evading the blood-thirsty tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba, sounding pawsitively menacing).

Man-hating is the one thing the fearsome tiger exists for, as humans are depicted as bonfire loving drunks who created the “red flower” (fire) that’s described as bringing “warmth and light and destruction to all that it to all that it touches.”The “red flower” is portrayed as evil, and man as having invented fire, which is bullshit by the way. Yes, fire is terrible and destructive and looks hellish and is used to (gasp) cook animals (haven’t you seen Chef?) but have you ever fuckin’ heard of lightning?

Imminent death and fiery destruction aside, the imagery is really enchanting, so this is a visually immersive must-see for fans of CGI. Perfectly matching the incredibly well-made animal animation, the voice talent is also on point. Bill Murray’s Baloo provides actual comedic relief, not just the bare necessities. Favreau’s kid Max and friends provide supplemental dialogue as young wolves. Baby’s first passion project? That’s extra adorable, like the cute animals paraded all the way through the end credits.

Rated PG for: personal guidance through vague biblical references. The extremely young or pure-of-heart should be cautioned that there is plenty of depicted violence with some battles resulting in highly-stylized wounds, and some in death. This isn’t Planet Earth on Discovery; just be warned in case you get triggered by the natural way of world (which includes humans projecting their morality and mortality into cartoon animals), and hell-flame propaganda about how humans are basically revelrous and destructive ignoble beasts (we are).

Maybe if you’re going to blindly propagate an ages-old diatribe about how humans and their supposed inventions are detrimental to the Earth, don’t offer your movie in 3D with all those terrible plastic glasses.

6/10

Game of Thrones spoiler: The Jungle Book (1994) has both dire-wolves and Lena Headey in it, and Cary Elwes who was also in The Princess Bride (which is the ultimate tale of ‘coming back from being not quite completely dead’) so this means Jon Snow is alive, as you wish.

 

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