The Jungle Book Review

The Jungle Book is a 2016 fantasy adventure film directed by Jon Favreau, starring Neel Sethi, featuring the voices of Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito, and Christopher Walken.  The story follows an orphaned human boy named Mowgli (Sethi), who, guided by his animal guardians, sets out on a journey of self-discovery while evading the threatening Shere Khan (Elba).


Positives:

  • Terrific voice performances
  • Terrific visuals
  • Compelling story
  • Great score
  • Great direction

Negatives:

  • Mixed performance by Sethi
  • Conveniences in the script

Plot:  Pretty compelling story that goes at slow pace but is utilized to flesh out the characters.  There are some really thrilling moments as well as moving ones. Shere Kahn has sworn vengeance against Mowgli because he’s human which keeps the story tension filled.  Mowgli trying to find his place in the world is a great story especially with the character development he gets. (4 out of 5)

Characters: Mowgli is the main protagonist and is a sympathetic character trying to find his way in the world.  Baloo is a likable character who is fun and adds humor to the mix.  Shere Kahn is the main antagonist and absolutely and is just a hateful character.  Bagheera is likable and shows a lot of heart as Mowgli’s teacher.  King Louie is a great character and his mobster-like personality makes his standout. (4 out of 5)

Cast: Great performances by a stand up cast; Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’O, Scarlett Johanssen, Giancarlo Esposito, Christoph Walken, and Jon Favreau. Sethi is decent for his first major role though it wasn’t like he was perfect cast. (4 out of 5)

Visuals:  The animal effects are just phenomenal as well as the beautifully crafted landscapes. The way the film is shot Mowgli is so vulnerable in this large and vast jungle.  All of the animals are bigger than him and that makes him seem much more vulnerable. (5 out of 5)

Score: Great score by John Debney.  Terrific voice performances.  The beauty of the soundtrack gives the scenery a very magical quality.  It does pay homage as a couple of the original music make a return. (5 out of 5)

Writing: The story is well-written.  One aspect of the script that could’ve been ironed out a bit better is Mowgli’s use of tools and crafting.  If he were raised in the wild he wouldn’t have use for them as heavily as he did.  There is a scene in which a large group of animals are drinking from a watering hole and Mowgli uses a bowl he crafted.  Really felt out of place.  Well-written dialogue.  Favreau does an exceptional job directing the film and definitely deserves a thumbs up. (4 out of 5)


The Verdict: In the end, The Jungle Book is actually really good film, one of the best of 2016.  Despite some of the conveniences within the script and some emotional pitfalls by Sethi, the film has terrific voice performances, terrific cast, terrific visuals, compelling story, great score, and great direction.  The Jungle Book gets 4 out of 5.

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