Kipling would have been astounded. When he wrote Jungle Book in 1894 for his little daughter, he never would have imagined that his stories would be brought to life in such an awe-inspiring fashion.
For that is what Jungle Book 2016 is. Awe-inspiring. Scary and loud in parts. But awe-inspiring.
Forty eight years ago, I saw Disney’s animated version of Jungle Book and it gave me goose bumps. Jon Favreau’s modern-day version of Kipling’s classic had the same effect on me, its dark tones notwithstanding.
Disney’s 1967 version took hand-drawn animation to a new level with the use of xerography, hand-painted multiple layers, and animation inspired by live-action animals and humans. Five decades later, the movie is still worth watching.
In its current avatar, Favreau uses CGI, motion capture technology and photorealistic rendering with spectacular results. It is virtually impossible to tell the difference between the live-action and the CGI.
The voice casting is impeccable, notably Ben Kingsley as the story narrator and Bagheera the panther, Bill Murray as Baloo the bear, Scarlet Johansson as Kaa (mmm…that sensuous, sibilant and utterly sexy voice), and Idris Elba as Shere Khan. And thank you Favreau, for retaining the best songs from the original, albeit in a refurbished form.
Technology or not, movie-making is still an art. And movie scenes still need to be properly composed and the story’s characters still need to be well developed. Favreau scores full marks here. The story flows easily from one scene to the next and the tension is maintained all through. The characters are well fleshed out and believable, just as they were in the 1967 version.
3D technology keeps getting better. For a change, I didn’t have a headache at the end, in spite of the crappy 3D glasses you always are given in Indian theaters. Next time, I’ll take my own.
One wonders how far CGI and photorealistic rendering will go. Seems to me that in the near future, human actors will become obsolete!
Mr Pahalaj Nihalani is right for once. Mukesh Bhatt and his ilk can rave and rant all they want. Bhatt’s rants are simply silly. One fails to see how national prestige can be affected by giving Jungle Book a UA certification. This time, CBFC is totally right. Jungle Book 2016 does not have the cheerful, bubbly tone of its predecessor. This is a dark movie.
This is a 3D movie, and the action is sometimes too real, especially for children. Some scenes, like Shere Khan suddenly bursting out of the undergrowth and the like, can scare little children. They certainly scared the wits out of me! And some of the sound effects were too loud.
To his credit, Nihalani did not lop those scenes off, but merely insisted on UA certification. And he is not incorrect. Adult guidance is certainly called for. This is not a movie that children should watch unsupervised. Not that any parent would send kids to a movie without an adult chaperone.
Be that as it may, Jungle Book 2016 is simply not to be missed by children, of all ages. The movie’s plot is well known. If you don’t know the plot, then shame on you. Go read the book.
So gather round the kids, go forth and enjoy Jungle Book. And wait for the sequel, which I am told, has already been planned.
Cheers … Srini.