Having been adapted to film before (the 1967 Disney animated film being the most popular) it is safe to say that most people have heard of The Jungle Book. The plot of this new film is basically the same as the animated classic. Mowgli (Sethi), is forced to leave his home when the tiger, Shere Khan (Elba), makes a threat on his life. As he journeys throughout the jungle, Mowgli searches for is truth path in life along with the help of a few friends Baloo (Murray) and Bagheera (Kinglsey). Drawing along those same elements as the original animated classic, the film is able to once again adapt on the main theme of self-discovery. Ultimately this is a story about finding ones self and ones true path in life. Mowgli’s path to self-discovery is filled with many obstacles, but it is with the help of some friends that he is able to overcome them.
The one thing that I did want to mention was how great the casting was. This is Neel Sethi’s first film and he did remarkable job. Being the only one physically acting on the screen is one thing. Having it be your first role is another. He clearly shows that he is able to carry the film and will certainly have a long career in front of him. Elba is casted perfect as Shere Khan. Every time he speaks, you truly are frightened at the sheer power his voice can achieve. A perfect casting. Everyone else is great as usual, with Murray being a standout as the comedic relief and Kinglsey fitting in nicely as the father figure.
Two moments in the film really stood out for me. The first being the scene with Kaa, voiced to perfection by Scarlett Johansson. Even though I felt her character could have used more screen time, it didn't take away from the power she had while she was on screen. I felt as though she was not only inside Mowgli’s head, but mine as well. The second scene was the encounter with King Louie, voiced by Christopher Walken. He does a remarkable job at bringing a new take to this character and making the audience afraid of his every word. A visual grand scene that will certainly excite audiences. Just an all around great casting job.
Bottom Line: The Jungle Book is a visually beautiful film that allows audiences to once again enjoy this classic tale.