The Jungle Book (2016) Film Review

Like most individuals my age, when I first heard about them doing a new The Jungle Book film, I had many parts of my childhood flash before my eyes.  From dancing and singing along to The Bare Necessities, to watching both the 1967 animated film and then the live action film done in 1994- I could not wait to see how Jon Favreau would adapt the film this time around.

I absolutely loved this movie.  With a star studded cast doing the voice talent, including Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson (the first time the two have been reunited since Lost in Translation), Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba and of course Christopher Walken, it was a fun ride even for the adults in the audience.  Believe me, when you see King Louie and hear Walken, a smile will instantly appear on your face.  Murray has the perfect voice for Baloo and adds the perfect amount of comic relief to the film.

Of course, we can’t forget about Mowgli played by Neel Sethi in his debut film.  He does a wonderful job and portrays Mowgli perfectly.  At times, you forget that it is an adventure film for children because let’s face it, this film can be a bit scary for the younger crowd, but then Sethi says a few of his lines and you’re instantly reminded that children will relate to this character.

The film is rated PG but there were a few times when my 6 year old Step Son said that he was scared.  It is completely understandable that younger children would get a bit scared because of Shere Khan, or the snake (I admit, I highly dislike snakes and Johansson’s character Kaa was not enjoyable, even for me, to watch).  While Kaa is far from being my favorite character, the way they told Mowgli’s story during this scene was extremely well done and I give them credit for using the snake eyes in the way that they did.  Just be ready for the possibility that your child may get a bit frightened but for the majority of the film, they will be entranced by all the animals- “That’s a LOT of animals!” my step-son exclaimed.  During the King Louie part, he got afraid but then would call out everything he saw “Oh, a monkey!  Temple, Mowgli, monkey, Baloo!, Bagheera, Ape, ape, monkey, orangutan…” it went on and on.

Overall, I believe it is a fun film for the whole family, just be aware that some parts are a bit scary for the younger generation.  As an adult, now watching one of my favorite childhood films, it brought with it a lot of nostalgia.  I was almost tearing up at a few points just because of the instrumental version of The Bare Necessities that is played throughout the film.  I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience and I left wanting to watch the animated version so I can see King Louie dancing during his musical break.

Jon Favreau has done it again- I’m beginning to think there’s nothing he can do that won’t impress me.

Did you enjoy the film?  Did you watch it with younger children in tow?  If so, was the PG rating they gave it acceptable or do you think it was a bit too scary for children?

-JLA

 

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