Monday, August 14, 2017

1036. The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book
2016
Directed by Jon Favreau







Lately I have been determining which List movies to watch based on what is available on Netflix Instant.  Unfortunately for me, this meant seeing The Jungle Book.  Well, I suppose it was harmless enough so I'll try to be nice.

Mowgli is a ten year old "man cub" who has been raised by wolves in the jungle.  His father was killed when he was an infant and he was rescued by Bagheera, a panther who, for some reason, didn't eat him.  Bagheera raised him to....or the wolves raised him to...oh whatever.  In any case, Mowgli has been discouraged from using tools, because doing things efficiently conflicts with Wolf Law.  One day at the watering hole, Shere Khan, a vicious disfigured tiger promises to kill Mowgli when the drought ends.  Mowgli must leave the jungle for safety, so Bagheera begins to guide him to a man village.  Mowgli meets many creatures on his journey, including Baloo, King Louie, and Kaa.

I was never a fan of The Jungle Book growing up (not enough good songs), so I wasn't exactly eager to see this film.  I guess this is the future of animation, though; kids don't want to see handdrawn movies anymore.  People want realism and they get it with CGI...well, sort of.  I don't really care too much about graphics, which I suspect is why I disliked this film.

Everything about it seemed done before.  Now, I realize that is a rather unfair complaint to have against a remake, but I found it to be a really boring experience.  Mowgli's escapes, which grew increasingly ridiculous, the ho-hum dialogue, and the cringe-worthy inclusions of songs...all of it combined to make a completely forgettable movie.  I was particularly disappointed with the scene when Baloo is stalling.  Clearly, Bill Murray was given room to improvise and that's all he could come up with?  Come on, Bill.  I expect more from you.

Anyway, I am being too harsh.  The actor that played Mowgli was actually really good; I wasn't actively rooting for him to die like I do with some child actors.  Perhaps I shouldn't admit that.  It was also interesting to see the shifting themes compared to the 1967 version.  But entirely skippable.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Over 2,000 children auditioned for the role of Mowgli.

The Genie's lamp from Aladdin can be seen in King Louie's temple.

All the locations in the film are computed generated VFX.