Movie Review: The Jungle Book Is A Heady Mix Of Nostalgia & Kickassery!

Shreemi Verma , 07 Apr 2016
The Jungle Book
The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book will always remain an integral part of our childhood, even if we can’t remember the story as well, the lyrics of ‘chaddi pehen ke phool khila hai’ are a part of our muscle memory. Disney’s The Jungle Book is just that, an extremely well made film that invokes a healthy amount of nostalgia in our hearts. Directed by Jon Favreau, who has given us movies like Iron Man and Chef (and played the role of Monica‘s millionaire boyfriend Pete in the 3rd season of F.R.I.E.N.D.S), The Jungle Book is a visual masterpiece. Inspired by Rudyard Kipling‘s collective works, the story is the same as the animated movie we watched on Mowgli‘s origins.

Child actor Neel Sethi has done a fabulous job as Mowgli, the ‘man cub’ who considers the wolf pack he’s grown up in, his family. Lupita Nyong’o, who plays his wolf mother Raksha is fierce as the she-wolf of her tribe and Ben Kingsley, the voice behind Mowgli’s guardian, the black panther Bagheera is perfect. British sex-god Idris Elba made me squirm in my seat way too often as the scarred and horrifying man-eating Bengal tiger Shere Khan, but it was Bill Murray‘s enactment of Baloo the bear that won my heart. I really don’t know if it’s a co-incidence, but the animated bear even bears a striking resemblance to Murray, which makes the experience even better. Talking about performances, how can I not mention Scarlett Johansson! She’s literally the only woman who can sound seductive despite being the voice behind a mammoth python, Kaa. Christopher Walken as King Louie is well-suited too. Basically, the cast has done a splendid job, including the supporting artists who played the numerous animals in the jungle (I’m looking at you, baby wolf Grey).

The visuals are breathtaking and the song The Bare Necessities, sung by Bill Murray and Neel Sethi will make your heart happy. A particular scene which involves Mowgli and Kaa, does a good job in momentarily hypnotizing the audience as well, and every scene involving Mowgli, Bagheera and Baloo is memorable. In conclusion, I’d just like to say that this movie is meant to be watched on the big screen. Not everyday do we get to watch our childhood heroes make such a grand re-entry into our lives.

After all, chaddi pehen ke phool khila hai!

Rating: ****

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