Live action version of the “The Jungle Book” nearly identical to original

Nathan Carpenter, Staff Writer

Yet another beloved childhood story is retold for the silver screen in Jon Favreau’s live action version of “The Jungle Book.” Neel Sethi plays Mowgli, the small boy raised entirely by a family of wolves, who must leave his home in the jungle after the evil tiger Shere Kahn (Idris Elba) vows to hunt him down and destroy anything that gets in his way. Guided by the wise no-nonsense Panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley), Mowgli travels through the jungle meeting a plethora of jungle animals along the way, including a hypnotic python, a smooth-talking king ape, and a fun loving bear.

This film accomplishes two major cinematic feats. First, it features an incredible voice acting cast with Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, and even Christopher Walken, all of whom fit and play their roles beautifully. Second, it has some incredible CGI (computer generated imaging), which is certainly needed seeing as poorly animated animals speaking perfect english would only serve to bring people back in to reality.

Even though it’s a remake of the 1967 Walt Disney version, the plot sticks to that of the original where some variation was certainly needed.”

— Nathan Carpenter

Unfortunately, there isn’t really anything else positive to say. Even though it’s a remake of the 1967 Walt Disney version, the plot sticks to that of the original where some variation was certainly needed. However, the intensity level is considerably heightened from the original whimsical cartoon. Mowgli is constantly placed in perilous situations, and the ferocity of tiger Shere Khan is ramped up. These tweaks serve to distinguish this from the original, but the largely cosmetic changes don’t elevate the overall quality.

There were also a number of overused movie cliches including jump-scares and chase scenes. During the opening scene of the movie Mowgli is frantically running through the jungle being chased by a panther, the panther tackles Mowgli teeth bared and what the audience is led to believe will be a gruesome attack turns out to be nothing more than a harmless game of chase. This is a recurring theme throughout the movie, and there are numerous scenes that are intensely built up but result in nothing noteworthy.

This film should captivate the viewer for its entirety and leave a lasting impression, and “The Jungle Book” just doesn’t leave that impression. I mean, after all, the entire plot can be summed up to “boy outsmarts tiger”…roll credits.