The Jungle Book Movie Review, A Visual Spectacle

Disney’s “The Jungle Book” is now out in theaters and if you’ve been on the fence about watching it, I reccomend you buy a ticket and just watch it. I also reccomend not watching any of the clips that have been uploaded throughout the internet since you will enjoy the scenes more in the theater. Most of you are probably familiar with The Jungle Book thanks to the books or the 1967 animated movie by Disney.

It goes without saying that this movie looks amazing, it’s the most amazing use of CGI that I have seen to date. Everything looks like it was actually shot in a jungle and some animals are so well done that they just look like the real thing. There are a few things in the movie that are different from the animated movie which I find to be a good thing. There are only two songs in the movie and they aren’t even full songs. One is just Mowgli and Baloo kind of singing while the other does have some more instrumentals and a Disney song vibe but neither take you out of the movie. The songs did a great job of paying homage to the originals and provided some relief from the tension throughout the movie.

If you are unfamiliar with “The Jungle Book” then here is Disney’s description of the movie:

Directed by Jon Favreau, based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, “The Jungle Book” is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli, a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan, who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat.

That is all you need to know going into this movie, if you know more then you will still enjoy the movie. The main animals in the movie are voice by Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, and Christopher Walken. I enjoyed all of the voice acting in the movie with the exception of Scarlett Johansson who does the voice of Kaa (the python), the problem is that her voice doesn’t blend into the tone of the scene. Kaa has always been voiced by a man and Kaa’s scene would have been much better if Johansson’s voice had been tweaked or if a guy would have voiced it. My parents, who aren’t good at recognizing voices, immediately noticed that it was Johansson’s voice which I don’t see as a good thing. Even Christopher Walken had a slightly different voice which gave King Louie a personality.

The movie is pretty much an animated movie but it’s so well done that at no moment did I say “that’s clearly a prop and that’s clearly a green screen”. Below is a video that will give you an idea of what went into creating “The Jungle Book” but I suggest you watch the movie before watching the video as it might ruin the effect of it all.

It would take 30-40 hours per frame, and since it’s stereo [or 3D], it requires two frames to produce one frame of the movie — at 2K, not even 4K,” Legato said. “So you can tell how much the computer has to figure out, exactly what it’s doing, how it’s bouncing, how much of the light is absorbed, because when it hits an object, some gets absorbed and some gets reflected.

I think they started using the Google cloud, which has tens of thousands of computers, and sometimes it would take two or three days to render a shot, he said, exasperated at the mere thought of the process. As powerful as the computers were, they ultimately were just taking cues from the human innovators who spent years on the film.

— Inverse

There is only one living thing in this movie and that’s Mowgli played by Neel Sethi (10 yrs old) who is new to acting. Sethi is able to hold this whole movie together with great acting especially when you take into account that he is just talking to puppets or people dressed in green leotards. In the end, this movie is visually breathtaking and is 100% worth watching in theaters. The story is solid, effects are flawless, and it’s shot wonderfully. As a rating I give The Jungle Book an 85 out of 100 which is 5 points less than I gave Disney’s Zootopia. Basically “The Jungle Book” is a great movie but not one I would buy on Blu-Ray since I wouldn’t enjoy it as much on the second viewing.