Olly Cobb from Vue Gateshead gives The Jungle Book the thumbs up, awarding the film 4.5 out of 5! Read on:
First and foremost, credit must be given to the visuals in the film. Not only are the vast landscapes of the jungle rich and beautiful, but the CGI characters are wonderfully detailed and defined. Fur is masterfully rendered on many of the animals, including Baloo and the wolves. Their mannerisms are painstakingly recreated in the digital world, by far the best use of animal CGI in recent memory. Favreau and his excellent team of artists have created a world in which every scene attacks the sensory pallet; greens are the greenest, water is brilliantly textured and there is definitely a sense that this world is real, that you could go there.
There is some outstanding acting in this movie. Idris Elba’s Shere Khan is wonderfully detestable; his very presence is terrifying and the sense of danger is real. Bill Murray’s Baloo offers some brilliant comic relief and his chemistry with Mowgli is just as fun to watch as in the original. A slight disappointment is in Scarlett Johansson’s Kaa the snake, who is only in one very short scene and without her iconic song (although this is played in the credits with Johansson singing). Johansson plays the role beautifully, but not for long enough. The same can be said for Christopher Walken’s King Louie, who admittedly has more screen time than Kaa but still feels underdeveloped. A scene that takes place in an abandoned temple where King Louie resides is engaging, but rushed; it feels like the movie wants to get to the intense final battle all too quickly and because of this the movie suffers. Having said that, it does not outshine the brilliant casting and memorable performances in this movie. Neel Sethi is introduced in his biggest role to date as Mowgli, and it is certainly one to remember. His charisma and boyish charm are assets to the tone of ‘The Jungle Book’.
There aren’t many shortcomings in Disney’s remake of ‘The Jungle Book’. The most important thing to remember is that this is a fun movie for people that like going to see fun movies. Its cinematography and design is flawless, and with an outstanding cast it is hard to criticise its place in the Disney movie-verse.