Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Jungle Book takes CGI to a new level

Movie Title:      The Jungle Book

Grade:   A

Rating:   PG, 1 hour 51 minutes

In a Nutshell:    What do you get when you mix 90% CGI with a Rudyard Kipling remake?  Surprisingly, a beautiful family friendly film.  

Director Jon Favreau gives a respectful nod to the 1967 Disney original, while crafting a new one that is fresh and full of heart.  See it in 3D if you can.

Uplifting theme: 
  •  Baloo says, “Everyone’s got a song.” A strong message that comes out in the film is to be yourself, your best self.  We all have our unique strengths and others around us will be blessed when we are true to ourselves and use our talents.
  • Another wise thing Baloo says is, “You say you want to go the man village.  I say you can be a man right here.”  We need to stop waiting for something to happen before we live up to our potential.
  • Friendship, courage, love.

Things I liked:
  • Neel Sethi plays Mowgli, the only human in the movie, yet there is great humanity in the film.  He does an excellent job and is completely adorable.  I love the realistic detail of some scars on his shoulder and chest.  
  • Even if we don’t get to see the talented Ben Kingsley, it’s a pleasure to hear his voice as the protective teacher Bagheera.
  • Who doesn’t love the carefree Baloo?  Bill Murray’s voice fits perfectly and provides plenty of comic relief, making the audience I sat with laugh almost every time the lovable bear was on the screen.  This ain’t no bear from The Revenant!
  • Casting Christopher Walken as the creepy, funny King Louie was perfect. Walken has that reputation in Hollywood.
  • Idris Elba voices the scary Shere Khan and provides a villain who is frightening, yet not so much that young children won’t be able to watch the movie.
  • Scarlett Johansson’s soothing, tempting voice was also a great choice for Kaa.
  • The wolf oath has been borrowed by the Boy Scouts of America, because it teaches some important principles still today!  The 8 year old boys in Cub Scouts repeat a somewhat different version each week in their gatherings.
  • Adorable, yet realistic creatures in the jungle.  The porcupine was an especially popular character for the audience.   
  • Pay close attention to this fascinating detail…there is a water scene where you actually see water splashes on the camera…but is there really a camera there or was it all CGI?
  • Honey IS actually good for scratches and bee stings!

Things I didn’t like:
  • There is nothing at the end of credits, so feel free to leave the theater after the last scene.  I was disappointed, because they could have easily added any number of fun nuggets to surprise and delight audiences.
  • Some of the CGI looks a little fake, but most of it is actually stunning.


Funny lines:
  •  “Bears don’t hibernate in the jungle.” – Bagheera 
“Not full hibernation, but I nap…a lot.” – Baloo

  • I realize you weren’t born a wolf, but couldn’t you just act like one?” - Bagheera
  • “If you can’t learn to run with the pack, one of these days, you’ll be someone’s dinner.” – Bagheera
  • “He’s walking on two legs!” – animal child at Peace Rock
“Don’t stare!” – animal’s shocked mother
  • “What did I tell you?  He’s special.” – Baloo talking about Mowgli
“I know.  I raised him.” - Bagheera

Interesting lines:
  • “If it’s meant to be, it will be.” – Raksha (Lupita Nyong’o)
  • “You have never been a more endangered species than you are in this moment.” - Baloo 
Tips for parents:   

  • There are some animal fight scenes that might frighten very young children.
  • Shere Khan has a scarred eye that makes him look scary.
  • No profanity.

Other great versions I loved of The Jungle Book :
    
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