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   Movie Reviews: The Jungle Book
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Studio:
     Disney (1hr. 51 min.)
Plot:
     A retelling of Rudyard Kipling’s classic.
Cast:
     Neel Sethi, Idris Elba, Bill Murray, Lupita Nyong’o, Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johansson
Rating:
     PG
Bottom Line:
     ***

Coverage:
by
Jon Rutledge

“The Jungle Book” perfectly blends live action and CGI, giving this movie the magical feel that Disney is known for. The old adage in Hollywood is never work with animals will need an update to say unless they are CGI. They superbly capture the majesty of wildlife and blend them seamlessly with the live actor.

As an update to the original 1967 version they preserved the story but added just enough updates to create a new classic. I find having the target audience along to watch a kid’s movie helps me with perspective, so I brought my son. He loved it. For my part, I was so caught up; I had fewer notes in my journal than I normally do when reviewing. This is a movie you can easily get lost in.

The songs are updated to match the new medium, and most of them transition well; however what really sets this move apart is the outstanding cast. Idris Elba as Shere Khan gives the tiger more depth than in the original. His deep voice makes the character’s charm colder and gives his fury more thunder. Baloo the bear has always been likable, but Bill Murray’s portrayal gives him an enjoyable dry sense of humor.

Neel Sethi, as Mowgli, the main character, is a charming and an outstanding performer. His authenticity shows through and that can be challenging when acting in front of a green screen. He seems right at home in the jungle.

Jon Favreau can count this among his successes. His update to this movie honors the original story and introduces it to a new age. His rich visuals and excellent character development make this film assessable to a broad audience and will spark the imagination in new viewers but also give those of us nostalgic for the original something to appreciate.

It’s interesting that a story about animals can show us the worst aspects of humanity, but also most of its strengths. This show is great for all ages, however because of the realism, some of the fight scenes and action may be too intense for very young viewers.

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