Quick DVD Review – ‘The Jungle Book’ (2016)

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

This year, I saw the 2019 remake of ‘The Lion King’ in July. Whilst I don’t consider that to be better than the original cartoon film, I did enjoy it in some measure. Before that movie, the director Jon Favreau directed the 2016 remake of ‘The Jungle Book’. And I’m so pleased to say, I’ve at last seen it!

I purchased the live-action remake of ‘The Jungle Book’ on DVD back in 2016 for my parents when I was on holiday in Weston-super-Mare. But for whatever reason, we never got around to seeing it. Thankfully three years later, my Dad suggested watching the film last weekend. I’m very glad we did.

‘The Jungle Book’ remake is based on the original book by Rudyard Kipling. I’ve never read that book as a child as I grew up with the Disney animated film made in 1967. I do like that animated film and even enjoyed its prequel series ‘Jungle Cubs’ when I watched it on VHS and on TV back in the 1990s.

I didn’t watch the 2016 live-action remake at the cinema because…well, I wasn’t really into Disney live-action remakes by that point. Also, didn’t they make a live-action film of ‘The Jungle Book’ already? That film made back in 1994? That film directed by that guy who did ‘The Mummy’ movies?

Anyway, I purchased the DVD for the 2016 film after it came out at the cinema. Now that my parents and I have seen it years later in 2019, I can give you my honest thoughts on it. And my thoughts are…I found it very good. No joke, I found it to be quite a unique interpretation of ‘The Jungle Book’.

In no way is the 2016 remake good as the 1967 film. There are elements of the 1967 film put into this 2016 remake which I enjoyed. But there seems to be elements derived from the Rudyard Kipling book, making it an intriguing and unusual balance. I’m not sure if that balance works out for the film.

For those who don’t know the story, ‘The Jungle Book’ follows the adventures of Mowgli, a man-cub who gets raised in the Indian jungle by a family of wolves. Very soon, Mowgli’s life becomes at stake when the fearsome tiger called Shere Khan wants to kill the boy. Mowgli has to leave his wolf family.

On the journey to the man village, Mowgli meets up with Baloo the bear who he befriends in the jungle. Gradually as the film progresses, Mowgli has to make choices in whether he’s going to stay in the jungle or not. He also has to face Shere Khan who challenges his instincts to survive in the jungle.

Like ‘The Lion King’ 2019 remake, ‘The Jungle Book’ 2016 remake features life-like CGI animals against photographic backdrops of the Indian jungle. This film though has a difference. The boy Mowgli is a real live-action boy played by a live-action actor interacting with the CGI animals here. 😀

Neel Sethi stars as Mowgli. I found Neel Sethi very good as Mowgli, especially when he demonstrates resourcefulness in terms of surviving in the jungle. This contrasts differently to how Mowgli gets portrayed in the 1967 film. In the 2016 film, Mowgli uses his ‘tricks’ to help the animals.

This includes Mowgli helping the elephants to save a baby elephant. He also uses his skills to help Baloo get some honey from bees. It was interesting to see how Mowgli reacts to the news that Shere Khan is threatening the wolf family he left behind before he eventually returns to confront the tiger.

The cast is mostly CGI animals voiced by the actors. There’s Baloo the bear, voiced by Bill Murray of ‘Ghostbusters’ fame; Bagheera the panther, voiced by Sir Ben Kingsley and Shere Khan the tiger, voiced by Idris Elba, who played Heimdall in the ‘Thor’ movies and he was Krall in ‘Star Trek Beyond’.

There’s also Raksha, Mowgli’s adoptive wolf mother, voiced by Lupita Nyong’o of ‘Star Wars’ fame. There’s also Kaa the snake, voiced by Scarlett Johansson, well-known as Black Widow in the ‘MCU’ film series and there’s Akela, the leader of the wolf pack who is voiced by Giancarlo Esposito in this.

There’s also King Louie, voiced by Christopher Walken in the film. I was disappointed that Colonel Hathi and the elephants weren’t voiced in the film as they’re all silent when Mowgli meets and bows to them. It means we don’t have the ‘Colonel Hathi’s March’ song featured in this live-action movie.

Speaking of which, we do get to have the famous ‘Bare Necessities’ song performed by Mowgli and Baloo in the film as it was in the 1967 film. There’s also ‘I Wanna Be Like You’ performed by King Louie, which I enjoyed. There’s a full version of the song sung by Christopher Walken during the movie’s end credits as well as that song ‘Trust In Me’ that’s performed by Scarlett Johansson as Kaa.

My parents and I enjoyed the 2016 live-action remake of ‘The Jungle Book’. I found it an enjoyably unique version of the story. It seemed to combine elements of both Rudyard Kipling’s book and the 1967 film into one piece. This was intriguing. It’s not good as the original film, but it’s very enjoyable.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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