In 1967, the Walt Disney Company released an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book”, and while not exactly staying true to the source material, it’s still considered its own product. The movie is also remembered as the last film Walt Disney supervised before he passed. Now jump ahead to the 21st Century where modern digital technology has improved quite a bit, and now the Disney Company has decided to remake this beloved animated film in live action. And the result is that it’s good. There are definitely some problems for sure, but the movie is entertaining. This new 2016 remake of “The Jungle Book” may be an improvement over the original, and is a swinging fun romp. As for the 1994 remake, it will get its due.
The story has a young boy named Mowgli living in the jungles of India with all the animals present there. Everything seems to be going just fine until the villainous Shere Khan shows up. Now with his life in jeopardy, Mowgli must use his wits in order to survive the harsh jungle landscape.
What makes this new version of “The Jungle Book” so different than its animated counterpart, might surprise a lot of people. For one thing, the story is actually an improvement over the original; there’s more darker and intense moment present, and there are some reasons as to why these characters do what they need to do. Speaking of which, there are characters from the original that get better screen time than they did in the original. And there are some that were cut out, but if you see the film, you’ll understand why. The music is a great throwback to the original and the filmmakers did a good job of three of the original songs into the remake. The cast does a good job with they are given; from Ben Kingsley to Bill Murray, to even Idris Elba and Christopher Walken do good jobs as villains in this movie. Yet it is the visuals that steal the show here. Everything looks and sounds great, and it almost feels like one is actually in the jungle. “The Jungle Book” is a pretty good remake of the Disney animated movie, and that’s saying a lot.
However, there are some problems. First of all, while the story is nice, there are some plot elements that do not make sense. Again, when you see the film, you’ll understand why. This mainly occurs for the ending, which I won’t spoil. The songs are back, but when you hear Christopher Walken sing “I Wanna Be Like You”, it just doesn’t fit. And speaking of things that don’t fit…
Scarlet Johansson as Kaa the snake just doesn’t feel right. In fact, why is Kaa here? To provide fan service mostly. This was just a miscast on the filmmakers part. Also, she sings “Trust In Me” during the end credits which is completely out of tone.
In conclusion, this new remake of “The Jungle Book” does have its fair share of problems, but in all honesty, this movie is a lot of fun, and you will have to judge for yourself which adaptation is better.