Get ready for some eye-poppingly spectacular CGI in Disney’s remake of its classic The Jungle Book. You’re plunged into a misty jungle of gnarled trees, lush vegetation and tumbling waterfalls – sets reminiscent of the 1967 animation, but looking as real as a National Geographic documentary.
The animals are even more stunning. Every muscle movement and individual hair is perfect, and the addition of facial expressions brings out their personalties.
Director Jon Favreau has chosen to make this film a darker version of its predecessor. The villains – tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba), giant ape King Louie (Christopher Walken) and anaconda Kaa (Scarlett Johansson) – have never been more terrifying, and when Walken growls the song I Wanna Be Like You, it’s nothing like the chipper original, but a terrifying proclamation of chilling ambition.
Baloo the bear (Bill Murray) provides the comic relief the film greatly needs. It’s when he appears in the second half of the film that it reaches its peak, balancing action, comedy and song to touch viewers with relatable themes of friendship, family, and self-discovery.
Neel Sethi is the only human to appear. He plays Mowgli, a boy raised among wolves who must leave the jungle because Shere Khan has vowed to kill him. Neel’s energetic performance sometimes feels rushed, but considering he was acting opposite thin air, it’s a very impressive debut.