Saturday, December 7, 2019

Jungle Book (2016)

Disney live action update of their classic animated film is a mixed bag. The story of a boy raised by wolves and hunted by a tiger  while being protected by a panther and bear is a stirring adventure. The trouble is that the need to stick to the source film occasionally spins the film in to groaner territory.

The problem with the film is that in order to shoe horn bits and references to the animated film like King Louie the film has to take some odd turns. The Louie section is simply a call back to the earlier film. I don't really see why the film had to include it. While other references to the earlier film like Kaa work well more often than not the need to echo weakens the film.Worst of all the film includes versions of both Bear Necessities and I Wanna Be Like You neither of which really work.

Part of the problem with the earlier references is the films tone is all over the place. While the addition of real world violence to the story is a step up, the insistence that the film have a sweetness with say the wolf cubs or some other bits weakens the film because it makes clear the film isn't for all ages but one age.

Reservations aside I really like the film a great deal. When the film works, which is often, the film is grand adventure with a real sense of danger. I like that the film doesn't mirror the original film to the point that that I think the best moments are the bits that aren't carried over. I know some people hate the talking animals but at the same time once you'reabout 15 or 20 minutes in things settle down and it works.

I do have to say that with something like THE JUNGLE BOOK one has to admit that this film is pretty much a de facto animated film. After all outside of the actor playing Mowgli the whole film was done in a computer. Its well done but it makes you wonder how many "live action" film could  or should be up for best animated film.

Ultimately THE JUNGLE BOOK is a good adventure that is recommended.(Though Andy Serkis' MOWGLI is infinitely better)

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