Friday, April 15, 2016

The Jungle Book

I don't know about you, but The Jungle Book was a very significant part of my youth.  In many ways it represents to me the care free innocence of those days.  Sadly, those days are long gone, as this man cub has grown up.  But I was hoping that this remake of the 1967 Disney classic would bring back those happy, child-like feelings.  Unfortunately the opposite was true.  It really mostly made me sad.  You really can't go home again.  Especially when they remade your home with fancy CGI, forced homages, and a live action Mowgli who really underwhelms.  Sure, the CGI is impressive.  It's downright amazing what you can do with technology.  But the charms of the original are almost completely absent.  The animals look too real, and seeing their mouths move and human voices come out is just weird.  And the voices themselves just don't feel right.  When I was a kid, Baloo's voice was Baloo.  Now it's Bill Murray being pretty much Bill Murray.  I don't understand why they need the most famous voices for animated films.  It just takes me out of the story.  (Garry Shandling in particular, in his last role undoubtedly, as the voice of a porcupine, made me further sad.)  And of all the kids out there, of which I'm sure they auditioned many, I can't believe that Neel Sethi is the best they could find to play Mowgli.  Sorry, but he's not even close to fit for such an iconic role.  I love director Jon Favreau, but this whole project was a mistake.

Grade:  C+

Who is this movie for?  I'm sure your kids will love it.  But as a huge fan of the original I wish I hadn't seen it.  In retrospect it was as bad an idea as remaking Casablanca would be.

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