When I was little, one of the first movies I ever watched was Disney’s The Jungle Book. It was one of my favorite movies to watch as a kid, with my favorite part of the movie being the “Bare Necessities” song, where Baloo sings about how to relax. Because I loved this movie so much, I wasn’t too excited to hear that Disney was going to make it into a live-action film. From the trailers, the film just seemed too serious of a movie to capture the childhood wonder that was present in the 1967 version. I was also scared that it may end up in the cinematic dungeon where other Disney live-action adaptations reside.
To Disney’s credit, I was wrong. Very wrong.
The Jungle Book was spectacular. Firstly, the casting was excellent. Bill Murray played a fantastic Baloo,and managed to capture his lazy and carefree attitude perfectly. Christopher Walken’s impression of King Louie was bone-chilling, especially when he sang “I Wan’na Be Like You”.
Secondly, the animation in the movie was phenomenal. The animals in the movie look so lifelike, it feels as if Mowgli (played by Neel Sethi) is actually talking to Bagheera (played by Ben Kingsley) instead of empty air. The scenes in the movie are so wonderfully animated that you almost feel like you’re in the jungles of India, watching the events of the movie unfold.
Lastly, the film included things from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book that weren’t in the original movie. I won’t spoil anything but don’t be surprised if this version isn’t exactly the same as the one we know and love.
There wasn’t much to dislike about the movie. It does leave off on a cliffhanger, but that seems reasonable as Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book is a diverse book with lots of material to cover. The film omits more than half of the material in the book, including a story about a mongoose that protects its family from a pair of cobras (Chuck Jones made a cartoon about it) and a story about Mowgli being adopted by humans.
Rudyard Kipling also wrote a second Jungle Book, so there are even more stories about Mowgli and the jungle animals to base films on.
My only real problem with the movie is that, to me anyway, it will never match up to the classic cartoon. There will always be something so magical about the way Disney interpreted the book in a cartoon form, whether it be how they showed Mowgli being hypnotized by Kaa, or how they depicted the monkeys sing and dance.
However, the movie is still a home run on Disney’s part, and I give it a 9/10, based on its animation, acting, songs, and story.