The jungle book is one of the most successful films that is currently running in Indian cinemas. Almost every major show is booked, it is literally impossible to get the ticket unless you have referred the online booking site atleast 4 days before the show. This phenomenon was last seen when James Cameron’s Avatar was released, back in 2009. The jungle book is the successful and celebrated children’s book written by Rudyard Kipling. The popularity of the jungle book in India is immense owing to the fact that most of the people in visual effects team are from India, and the story takes place in an Indian jungle.
Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is a young cheerful boy, raised by the wolves. He is looked after by the compassionate Raksha (Lupita Nyongo) and he was brought to the wolf pack by the black panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) who cares for him. One day, when the drought hit the animal community, during the water truce they are met by Shere Khan (Idris Elba), a nerveracking half-blind tiger who smells the human presence. It wants Mowgli to be handed over to and vows to come back after the rainy season. Mowgli chooses to leave the wolf pack in order to protect them and Bagheera agrees to take him to a village occupied by people. The rest of the story is about Mowgli’s adventures and his meeting with friendly Baloo the bear (Bill Murray).
Overall, this is a family entertainer that can be enjoyed well by children. There are no gory violence sequences, the language usage is clean and the story is very simple and straight forward. Almost every school going kid is aware of the jungle book and the characters depcited. So, there are no great suspense as such in terms of plot structure, we know what kind of an individual Mowgli is even though he is raised among the animals. The characters have incredible depth which is very done in terms of scripting. Mowgli is cute and funny, and we see him evolve as a human as he learns how to create weapons and tricks. His love for the jungle is incredible, thus highlighting nature loving attitude of humanity as opposed to the selfish, greedy and destructive side. Baloo is my favorite character from this film, Baloo is funny, cute, caring and determined. It was moving to see it’s love and compassion for Mowgli even though they knew eachother for just few days. Baloo climbed the hill (daunting task as it spend most of it’s days as a sloth), fought with monkeys and Shere Khan for Mowgli. It gave up it’s procrastinating behavior eventually, it was a nice turn of it’s personality as the film went on. Bagheera is the authority when it comes to Mowgli’s life and protection, but at times even the panther was ready to step down for the sake of his protection. Raksha is another sweet character voiced with passion by Lupita Nyogo, enhancing mother’s love. Idris Elba sounds daunting as Shere Khan and we could feel Shere’s selfishness, cruelty and the need for power in his voice; characterization with it’s disfigured face and a blind eye is apt.
Justin Marks’s screenplay, along with great character depth, gave scope to an awesome visual treat. The visuals, ranging from cinematography, special effects, settings and 3D effects were immense enough to keep the audience glued to the screen. You won’t feel the time passing. The major fault of this film is the predictability. We know exactly what is going to happen and other than the visual aspects, there are no elements of surprise. The scene with the python looked unnecessary although we get to experience Scarlett Johansson’s soothing voice. We are introduced to Baloo in that scene of course, the fact that Mowgli was almost eaten by the snake is quite cheesy. Another over the top aspect is the rap song by the ape which reminded me of Oompa Loopma’s songs in Charlie and the chocolate factory, it seemed to have affected the pacing a lot and looked more like a tribute to Bollywood film structure.
The end result is an awesome visual experience that can be enjoyed over and over again. It a perfect film for children but it is not as great as per what the media hype generated.
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