I had one massive concern coming into The Jungle Book that I really hoped it didn’t come true. I really hoped this wasn’t another Avatar. For me, Avatar was visually stunning to watch, but after an hour, the visuals just wore off and the basic boring story came through. Story is important to me. While something can look all nice and pretty, if theres no substance then theres nothing. I had this fear for The Jungle Book. After hearing about all work that went into this film and how the only real life aspect was the boy, I really hoped the story backed up. And it did.
I saw the original cartoon Jungle Book back when I was a kid but my memories of it is vague. So for me this was like seeing a new movie, which was even more important that the story hit and stuck. I thought they did it really well. The pacing was great, nothing felt rushed and it really took its time allowing us as the audience to connect to the story and the characters. The fact that within 20 minutes they had built the connection between Mowgli and the wolves so strong that when Mowgli decided to leave there was legitimate tears in the audience.
I thought the casting was fantastic with this film. Everyone with the voice acting pretty much nailed it. I thought Idris Elba brought a really menacing tone to Shere Khan, Ben Kingsley nailed the wise Bagheer role, Bill Murray was everyones favourite and Baloo. I really loved Christopher Walken as King Louise. I’m not sure if they did the animals as motion capture or just the voices, but King Louise had the mannerisms we love in Walken. The hand moments was spot on and I thought Walken’s voice really suited the role, especial with the singing. The only role that didn’t hit with me was Scarlett Johansson as Kaa the python. The last time I heard her as a voice actor was during Her where she played an AI. In that she had a very slightly robotic tone which I thought was purposely done and it really worked. But with this she used the same voice and it really took me out of the film. It made it sound like she was just doing a voice of what the Kaa should sound like rather than becoming the character and speaking as Kaa.
Of course the CG was amazing. Every little piece was wonderfully done. From the start I really tried to pick little things where they might of slipped up and there was nothing. They nailed it. Regardless of if you like the idea of animals or not or you weren’t a fan of the original. This is a must see, the same was Avatar was, purely from the visual side.
Overall this movie was fantastic. It had the visual perfection of Avatar but the story of the original book. This movie is going to really stand as a land mark of live action Disney films. After seeing this, I have full belief that a Lion King film could be nailed in live action.