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It’s always difficult for fans anytime it’s announced that a classic film or favorite movie is being reimagined. 2016’s The Jungle Book is one of the rare movies that actually got it right. The 1967 Disney classic was such a staple of childhood, and this new version, directed by Jon Favreau, is sure to be a new favorite, for old and new fans alike.
At it’s core, The Jungle Book is a story about family and friendship. Director Jon Favreau did an amazing job balancing what we loved about the old classic while adding his own updated flavor to the film. Mowgli’s adventure has changed slightly, but not enough to disrupt the loyalty to the story, and Kaa, traditionally a male character, is voiced by Scarlett Johansson.
Did you know? The Jungle Book is just one of three Disney projects for which Idris Elba stars as an animated voice talent? He’s also provides his voice to characters in Zootopia and Finding Dory.
I was lucky enough to preview the film in 3D which truly makes you feel as though you’re truly immersed in Mowgli’s world. Newcomer Neel Sethi – the only human in the forest and the only in cast of computer generated animals – plays Mowgli, the man-cub. As a baby, Mowgli’s father is murdered and he is discovered by the panther Bagheera (voiced by Ben Kingsley) and cared for by wolves Raksha (Lupita Nyong’o) and Akela (Giancarlo Esposito).
Brilliantly voiced by Idris Elba, Shere Khan, a Bengal tiger, threatens the wolf family and seeks out to kill Mowgli, so they decide that the best place for him would be with man. Bagheera and Mowgli set out on an amazing adventure through the woods where they meet Kaa, King Louie (brilliantly voiced by Christopher Walken), and the fan favorite, Baloo (the hilarious Bill Murray)!
Did you know? Director Jon Favreau opted not to make his version of the classic a musical. However, he did decide to keep the classics “The Bare Necessities“, sung by Baloo and Mowgli as well as “I Wanna Be Like You“, sung by King Louie.
Though there is sadness and tragedy at times, there’s nothing that is too graphic or disturbing for kids. The overall feel of the film is obviously darker than the 1967 animated version, but one that will almost make you forget that most of the film’s spectacular characters are CGI.
Disney’s The Jungle Book opens in theaters today.
Did you know? Richard M. Sherman, one of the original film’s lyricist, helped to create songs for the new film. He had help from his brother, Robert, who passed away in 2012.