<script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <!-- Showbiz Portal Bottom 1 300x250, created 10/15/10 --> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px" data-ad-client="ca-pub-1272644781333770" data-ad-slot="2530175011"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script>
Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Apr 27, 2016

The Jungle Book Movie Review: Stunning Visuals And Good Storytelling Makes This A Very Entertaining Film For The Whole Family

RUDYARD KIPLING’s collection of stories called “The Jungle Book” was first made by Disney into an animated film in 1967 and it’s one of the most well loved cartoon flicks in the Disney library. Now, nearly 50 years later, they present a new green screen, live action version with visually stunning computer generated images.

The movie is not a musical but, as a tribute to the first movie, two songs from it are heard in this new version, “I Wanna Be Like You” and “Trust in Me”, and one song, “The Bare Necessities”, is spoken not sung. The complete songs are later played in full in the closing credits. Definitely one of the year’s best pics made for the whole family, it offers not only just spectacular visuals but involving storytelling, great action-adventure sequences and lots of humor.

The story is about a “man cub” named Mowgli (Neel Sethi), who is adopted and raised in the Indian jungle by a pack of wolves. He considers Raksha (voice by Lupita Nyong’o) and Akela (Giancarlo Esposito) as his parents even if he’s human and doesn’t not belong to the animal species. A villainous tiger who hates humans, Shere Khan (Idris Elba), wants to get Mowgli as the boy’s father wounded him before. So the kind panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) sends Mowgli to flee to a “man village” for his own safety.

During his journey, the boy meets a friendly and endearing bear called Baloo (Bill Murray) who provides lots of fun while in pursuit of honey, a snake called Kaa with hypnotic powers (Scarlett Johannson) that dangerously coils itself around Mowgli, and a giant orangutan ala-King Kong called King Louie who wants to harness the power of fire which he calls the red flower (Christopher Walken). They all behave like real characters, not just cartoons or caricatures, made all the more lifelike by the very engrossing storytelling.

Director Jon Favreau makes the new “Jungle Book” a pleasure to watch, turning the jungle into vibrant and colorful environment with a disarming sense of wonder. The CGI animals are all done so realistically (reminds us of the bear in “The Revenant”). They’re so life-like you won’t think they’re just rendered on computers with motion capture techniques. It’s only child actor Neel Sethi who is real and his scenes were filmed on a green screen where everything else is a product of CGI. The real actors chosen to voice the lines of the various animals are good across the board.

A darker version than the cartoon one, some scenes showing animals fighting each other can be violent and there are sequences where Mother Nature goes on rampage like landslides, storms and the climactic fire in the forest. New child actor Neel Sethi gives a pretty astonishing performance, considering that he filmed his scenes while he’s all alone and the animal characters he interacts with are just added in later on through computers. The effect is really nothing less than magical.