Review- Take a fairly well remembered musical from the sixties, cover it in all the CGI 175 million dollars can buy, strip out the songs, color and humor, add in a child actor, then make sure that your film is going to traumatize everyone under 7, not forgetting the completely necessary 3d- and voila! 2016’s The Jungle Book.
I’m not joking either, ‘mild threat’ my right foot! At certain points popcorn was going everywhere as most of my audience (including a certain critics long suffering girlfriend) flew out of their seats.
That’s if you can see whats going on. At times I was wondering if Christopher Nolan had been allowed near the script, so devoid was the film of light and color. And the film was so fixated on asking ‘how many lives is this one man-cubs worth?’ that I began to think it was a ‘child-friendly’ remake of Eye In The Sky.
Most of the voice cast does passable work, although the question of why use famous actors when there are so many amazing voice actors out there was asked and answered by the top of the films posters. (Note: Can someone please get Christopher Walken to release a spoken world album of Disney classics?)
One casting question that wasn’t answered was why Mowgli (played by Neel Sethi) was played by an actual human when literally everything else was CGI. And I mean everything, the locations, props and animals were all CGI which was distracting when Neel (already lumbered by the fact that he is a child actor and therefore only tolerable about 25% of the time) was on screen. Making the film full CGI would have made for a more immersive experience.
Also, the film feels forced to reference the 1961 version, and i’m not just talking about a few notes on the soundtrack and repeated lines- they actually tried to do the songs, and whilst there are many things Bill Murray can do- singing isn’t one of them.
There are already rumblings of a sequel and the film has broken record in India, but walking out of The Jungle Book, I felt pretty much the same as I did when i was walking out of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Migraines- It was dark, grey, should have been a 12 and I have no desire to ever see it ever again.
My Score: If Nothing Else