The Jungle Book (2016)

the_jungle_book_28201629In 1967, Rudyard Kipling’s collection of stories was adapted to what we know as the musical animated film “The Jungle Book”. Almost 50 years later, Jon Favreau makes a valiant effort to replace the original’s charm with a live-action adaptation that tries (and mostly succeeds) in staying true to the animated version. Gorgeous CGI visuals teem with life, and though the lush nature sometimes seems just too vivid to be true, it leaves a message for young audiences that resonates in today’s climate of xenophobia and segregation: with Mowgli the outsider in a world he doesn’t quite belong. The voice cast is truly impressive, with the likes of Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, and Christopher Walken amongst others. Sadly, the same can’t be said about the main child actor, who doesn’t quite transmit any “oomph” through his actions or expressions; merely reciting his lines – which sometimes leads to his character feeling obnoxious to audiences. In a case of quality vs quantity, the 2016 film has almost double the running time than the original, yet somehow feels emptier in its story and, case in point, diverges substantially in its ending and presentation of the full cast of characters that the 1967 version had. Even so, it might be worth watching for audiences that haven’t been able to experience any of Kipling’s adaptations throughout the years.

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