This live action adaptation of the famous Rudyard Kipling novel remains faithful to the novel and the animated Disney classic. Although it does lose some of the songs, it more than makes up for it with beautiful cinematography and great performances from the cast. The masterpiece was directed by the multi-talented Jon Favreau, who has directed films such as Iron Man and Elf. Some of you may also remember him for playing Monica Geller’s wealthy boyfriend Pete Becker in Friends. Favreau takes into account that although the film would undoubtedly be popular with the younger audience it shouldn’t just cater to a specific age group and in that he succeeds masterfully, with the audiences indulging in heart pounding action sequences that are appreciated by both adults and children alike.
The film however may not have been as memorable if it wasn’t for its star-studded cast, which included Bill Murray as Baloo who did not disappoint and played the part of the lovable bear with more than just the bare necessities. Ben Kinglsey was another veteran actor who played his part perfectly and gave an extra dimension to Bagheera which was maybe lacking in the animated version.
Who else other than Scarlett Johansson could make a snake sound seductive and sinister and the same time. Her sultry voice gives Kaa an extra sense of cynicism which serpent definitely lacked in the animated version. Lupita N’yongo portrayal of Raksha, who is Mowgli’s adoptive wolf mother, is emotional and heart-warming, she also produces one of the most emotional scenes in the film when there’s talk of Mowgli having to leave the pride for his own safety.
Idris Elba may have been born to play Shere Khan, his performance really did bring the beast to life and I know what you’re thinking “why do British actors always play the bad guys in films?” and I think it may be down to great performances from British actors that leave you with a shiver down your spine. Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lector, Tom Hiddleston as Loki and now you can add Idris Elba as Shere Khan to the list of British actors that have nailed the villainous roles and made it their own.
Is there a more iconic and recognisable voice in Hollywood than Christopher Walken’s? If there is then I am yet to hear it. Christopher Walken as King Louie was hands down my favourite character in the film. It was as if King Louie was playing Christopher Walken and who wouldn’t want to see that.
Now to the stand out performer of the film which was none other than the man cub Mowgli who was brilliantly portrayed by Neel Sethi. Even though he was amongst some of the biggest names in the industry he made the character stand out. Neel conveyed all the emotions Mowgli went through to perfection whether it was the grief Mowgli felt when he left the wolf pack, his joy when he was singing with his best friend Baloo and his anger at the end when he faces the malicious Shere Khan. After watching the film I came to a conclusion that Neel Sethi is the best on screen Mowgli I have ever seen.
If you are looking to watch a film with the family that everyone will enjoy equally then I definitely recommend The Jungle Book. Because it not only takes you down memory lane but also reminds you of the sacred bond between animals and humans. It is also a reminder that nature can be dangerous and unpredictable but it can also be beautiful and mesmerising and that we should strive to preserve it for the future generations.