Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Jungle Book

Plot: A boy named Mowgli is being raised by wolves in the jungle, watched over by Bagherra, a panther. A large tiger says that Mowgli must leave the jungle because he will grow to be a man, and men are bad. Bagharra agrees to take Mowgli to a jungle village so he can be with other people. On the way he meets Baloo, a bear, and decides he does not want to go the village. He goes back to confront the tiger, and that leads to the final scene.  [imdb]    [photos]

Review: Jungle Book looks great, but it takes more than pictures to make a fun movie. This is one of the best animal action CGI movies in terms of technical achievement. The animals are rendered if not realistically, because they talk, but with realistic imagination. The scenes of Mowgli running in the trees at the beginning and the end are great. It is a shame the visuals were wasted on such a bad script.

The movie's story (as distinct from the book) is just another menacing bad guy to run away from. The movie's platitudes fall flat, and some of the humor is for just for kids. (Though happily no fart jokes.)

Once I got tired of the pretty pictures, I wanted a story to engage with. I got bored by 35 minutes in and was wishing for the movie to end quickly. 

Cast: Frequent readers may recognize that I don't credit voice actors since it slights the animation artists who are at least as important. Bill Murray's voice is distracting. His mannerism were too much like his other roles; it pulls me out of the film, to thinking about why Bill Murray is playing a jungle bear.

Directed by:
Jon Favreau

Written by: Justin Marks, based on the book by Rudyard Kipling

The Music:
Orchestral music by John Debney, with a song by Bill Murray and another by Christopher Walken. Both sing in old-school, honky-tonk jazz songs with lots of horns. 

The Visuals:
Tops. Best animation of this kind. 

1.5 stars: I wished I could leave early. 


More: You can't trust critics to review kids movies. They get it wrong so frequently.