Deandre Sugandhi’s thirst for a brilliant new Disney films is quenched.
What Jon Favreau had constructed in the last couple of years is not exactly a film, but a world in itself; a magical, verdant territory where computer-generated fauna had vivid, colourful personalities and behave like humans do. I walked into The Jungle Book with a smile, and walked out with an even bigger one.
We all know the story of the man-cub Mowgli (Neel Sethi), was born and raised in the jungle by wolves. After growing up to a certain age, he was forced to choose a life in a human village with their notorious invention the ‘red flower’, or in the jungle, where a scarred Bengal tiger promised = to eat the man-cub alive. Savage.
Mowgli is accompanied into the jungle to make his choice by black panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) and a honey-loving bear named Baloo (Bill Murray). And since this is the jungle we are talking about, there is bound to be all forms of menace and jeopardy leading to sensational epic adventures, from the deathly embrace of the seductive snake Kaa (Scarlett Johansson) to compromising with Gigantopithecus King Louie (Christopher Walken).
One of the highlights of the film, is of course, the CGI. The film, though rather clichéd and awkward at some points, is a fascinating one, but it is the CGI that holds the key to promoting the film’s status from simply fascinating to utterly breathtaking. As impressive as Avatar (2009) was, the amount of detail in the film’s computer generated images, both for the backgrounds and the characters themselves, is insanely meticulous.
Unfortunately, the film may be a little too reliant on its wonderful graphics, at the expense of story pace. Is it then Favreau’s mistake in directing? The scriptwriters’ mistake in writing dialogues? Or is it a fault in my judgement due to the fondness and intense nostalgia I felt towards the original Jungle Book? Honestly, I don’t know. I clearly remember the chills that ran down my skin when the Bare Neccessities, a lovely, tranquilizing tune that I adored as a kid, was played in the new Jungle Book film. Nostalgia is indeed one of the major assets of the movie.
Like other great classic Disney films (Pinnocchio, Bambi, Hercules, and Finding Nemo for example), the original Jungle Book had the potential to be quite disturbing films especially for children. Thanks to Favreau, the new Jungle Book may be frightening for some, but not in a way where it becomes too disturbing to be pleasant. The Jungle Book has evolved from a trippy, insensitive adventure to an epic tale of survival. A solid three-and-a-half out of five.