Review by ROS MARSDEN
Keen to “forget your worries and your strife”? Then treat yourself to a night at the cinema to see the 2016 version of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.
It’s a risk turning up to watch a movie remake that formed part of your childhood and an even greater risk when the movie is adapting a loved book written in 1894. But director Jon Favreau’s new version of this timeless classic is clever, energetic and technically amazing.
The advances in animation are so compelling that it is hard to believe the wolves, tigers, elephants, monkeys, rhinos and deer aren’t real. The rippling movements of the jungle animals’ skin, muscles, eyes, fangs and lips react so accurately that one can only imagine the animators studied animal biology before tackling their characterisations.
Set in the jungles of India, the story of the little boy Mowgli, raised as a man-cub by wolves, is a journey of self-discovery when Mowgli leaves his adopted family following a threat from tiger Shere Khan. Mowgli meets creatures that challenge his naïve innocence in frightening and dangerous ways before reconnecting with his wolf family.
The 1967 animation contained a simple innocence that you won’t discover in this version. Favreau takes you into an atmosphere that is often dark and terrifying. At the screening I attended, two families sitting with little children crept out of the theatre and during one animal chase a small boy in the audience screamed out loudly. The Jungle Book of 2016 is not for toddlers, but older children, teenagers and adults will all find a wonderful story of adventure awaits them.
Starring Neel Sethi as the only actor in the movie and featuring the voices of Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johannsson and the recently deceased Garry Shandling, this movie is a ‘necessity of life’ to attend.