Verdict: A visual treat you’ll remember for a long time.
Irrespective of this review or any other, you know you’re going to watch The Jungle Book at the first opportunity. You have waited for a while for this one. And you must! There are too many memories to be revisited; whether you’ve grown up singing Jungle Jungle Baat Chali Hai or have had friends and family sing it to you.
The Jungle Book in India primarily will play on the very nostalgia factor and win. You get to watch Mowgli, Bagheera, Baloo and of course, Shere Khan come to life all over again like never before. Treat yourself to it.
This latest Disney film takes the fun back to the jungle and the characters immortalized by Rudyard Kipling. Once again, we have Mowgli trying his best to fit in among the wolf pack, there is Bagheera as the wise father figure to him, Baloo as his trusting friend and Shere Khan as the sworn enemy.
The film takes slight liberties with the story but mostly stays true to the original work. Particularly heartening and beautiful is the sequence where the ‘bandar-log’ kidnap Mowgli. It is back to the Cold Lairs then!
The Jungle Book scores big with the visual extravaganza that it is. This could be one of the best 3D experiences you will enjoy at the movies in a long time. You could just sit back and stare in awe as you race through the forest with Mowgli. Watch out for the landslide scene after a buffalo stampede and the part with the monkeys. They will make you want to stand up and applaud. Jon Favreau, take a bow.
The film though seems to suffer from a major The Lion King hangover, which may or may not be deliberate. Child actor Neel Sethi as Mowgli grows on you as the movie progresses.
The Hindi version while boasts of an ensemble cast with Om Puri (Bagheera), Irrfan Khan (Baloo), Nana Patekar (Shere Khan; and further adding to the nostalgia bit) and Priyanka Chopra in a blink-and-miss appearance of Kaa leaves a lot to be desired. It just does not seem like a job neatly done. You will do well to watch the original version featuring Ben Kingsley, Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, and Christopher Walken before dismissing though.
Kaa in the movie is very interestingly interpreted from the original story. It is a tad disappointing you don’t get to see much of the python.
The music, as is typical of a Disney movie works well and several songs from the 1967-version of The Jungle Book have been incorporated. The songs blend beautifully with the story. All thanks to Favreau and composer John Debney. I Wan’na Be like You and Trust In Me featuring the monkeys and Kaa, respectively get the thumbs up. You can’t help but think of Hakuna Matata and Simba, Timon and Pumbaa when Baloo and Mowgli sing The Bare Necessities.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
The Jungle Book will be a nice weekend watch merely for the nostalgia at play and how incredible the movie looks. The story has long stayed with us and will for a while to come. Every return to the jungle must be welcomed.