Movie Review -- 'The Jungle Book' is a New Disney Classic
Posted by Jason Ingolfsland on Friday, April 15, 2016 at 12:00 AM By Jason Ingolfsland / April 15, 2016 Comment
Despite all the state-of-the-art technology and CGI, and make no mistake it’s really good, what truly impressed me was the writing. Marks and Favreau did a great job crafting a story that stuck to the original while diverting into other areas, but were still able to keep the narrative on track, making it more interesting than the original. Everything they added felt intentional and necessary to the story. The elements they removed from the old cartoon improved the story and they made sure to keep the best pieces stuff from the original, too. Again, doing this is a difficult tight rope, and they walked it well. Instead of Mowgli wandering around in the jungle randomly, there’s a lot more purpose behind the adventure and the beats in the story are tightened and finely tuned. Mowgli, played by Neel Sethi, goes beyond the clueless and bumbling character we knew in the cartoon and digs a little deeper. While Mowgli still has a lot to learn, especially in the common sense department, we find out more about his character including his “tricks” that are forbidden by Bagheera and the wolf pack. Mowgli’s character becomes useful to not only Baloo, but also to other animals in the jungle, heightening his role from the helpless, whiney nuisance that Bagheera wants to abandon all the time, to a brave and clever hero, willing to take on greatest of challenges. Because of this change, you can connect with Mowgli much more than you ever could in the cartoon. However, the biggest downside to Mowgli was the performance by Neel Sethi. His performance lacked consistency with too many sketchy moments of poor line delivery, over acting, and flat acting. This film provides a great escape for the whole family back into a familiar story full of danger, laughter, love, and excitement. It would have been easy for Favreau to play it safe and follow the old cartoon line by line. Thankfully, he didn’t stick to the bare necessities, but went further, and in doing so, created a new classic in the making.