Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Jungle Book

Remakes are all the craze these days. Whilst they have been most prevalent in the superhero genre lately, there has also been some noticeable remakes across other film genres. One of the latest of these is a reliving of Walt Disney’s classic tale, The Jungle Book. What makes this remake particularly remarkable is that instead of the film being a standard animation (like its predecessor), the film has been re-envisioned as a real-life adventure, with of course, a substantial degree of assistance from modern day CGI artistry.

When I first heard that a remake of this scale was being undertaken, I must admit, I was understandably skeptical. How well would the charm and wonder of the original film translate in this new real-life format? Fortunately, Jon Favreau, best known for his directorial credits behind two of the Iron Man films, seems to be fully aware and considerate of the legacy that the film has, providing a cinematic experience that feels both new and charmingly nostalgic.

Not only has Favreau done a great job in introducing this enchanting tale to a modern day audience, but he has also managed to imbue the film with a unique atmosphere, which effectively distinguishes it from its original source material. Where the original Jungle Book was mostly known for its distinct sense of charm, Favreau’s version adds a deliberate sprinkling of tension and even, dark drama. Noted that the original film did also have some tense and darker moments, but in the new film, Favreau utilises his real-life canvas masterfully to amplify the inherently darker side of the Jungle Book tale.Whilst I must admit, I’m not sure if this new version is as suitable for kids of all ages (as the original), it does make for a captivating and addictively tense adventure film.

"Not only has Favreau done a great job in introducing this enchanting tale to a modern day audience, but he has also managed to imbue the film with a unique atmosphere, which effectively distinguishes it from its original source material."

The best achievement here, is that this darker and tenser atmosphere does not come at the expense of the original film’s characteristic charm - Favreau has managed to perfectly balance the film’s darker moments with poignant and whimsical feel-good moments, which are helped along greatly by including renditions of some of the orginal film’s signature musical pieces. 

All the necessities of a classic.
Another standout aspect of the film is its stellar CGI effects that make it possible to tell the Jungle Book story in a way that would never before have been possible. These amazing effects are also complemented with powerful performances from an A-list Hollywood voice acting cast, which include Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley and the film’s brightest star, Neel Sethi fulfilling the role of the film’s beloved protagonist, Mowgli.

The truth of the matter is that there really isn’t much to fault when it comes to this film. Not only does this new take on Jungle Book do justice to the film’s respected heritage, but it also imbues it with new qualities, that take it beyond the labeling of a mere remake. It’s a film that needs to be seen by both fans of the original and those that are still to be mesmerised by its legacy. 

Highlight: King Louie's scene is terrifying and wondrous all at once. A perfect example of all the elements that make this film exceptional.