As a child, I was not a big fan of Mowgli or Jungle Book . The carton series used to come in Doordarsan on Sundays and I am not sure if it was the language (Hindi) or the pack of wolves who were always discussing something whenever I tuned it on that turned me off. And on contrary I was always in awe of Sher Khan, the massive beast who was the epitome of and alpha villain. So when the movie Jungle Book was scheduled for release, I didn’t share the husbands enthusiasm or excitement who claimed to have watched all the series and read the book in his childhood days. But I really dint want to protest . SO here goes my review, the first one at that.
The Story is about the man – cub Mowgli, a young boy who was raised by a pack of wolves,headed by Akela who had a happy life with his friends Bhageera and other cubs in the Jungle when he suddenly comes across Sher Khan , a massive Tiger on a water truce and his life is threatened. Sher Khan has on an old grudge on Mowgli and wants him turned over to him to be killed. That night the wolves argue about Mowgli leaving the pack to Akela and his foster mother Raksha argues for him to stay . Mowgli makes his decision to leaves and Bhageera says he would be safe only with the ‘people’ in the village and promises to take him there. In fact it was Bhageera who found Mowgli as a toddler in the jungle and gave him to Raksha for foster care.En-route they are attacked by Sher Khan and somehow Mougli escapes and lands himself in the deeper part of the Jungle where he is almost eaten by Kaa, an enormous devious python. But through her, he comes to know that Sher Khan had killed his father and in the fight had lost an eye. He is rescued by Baloo the bear and they spend some time together Baloo making him repay his debt by collecting honey.Bhageera finds Mowgli and tells Baloo that Akela was killed by Sher Khan for not turning in Mowgli and they decide the village is the best place for him to be safe. Baloo tells Mowgli a little roughly that he doesn’t want him there anymore and has to leave. Mougli gets kidnapped by a gang on monkeys and orangutans and they take him to King Louie’s place where he demands the red flower(fire). While trying to escape, Mowgli learns from king Louie that Sher Khan had killed Akela and wows to end this ‘Someone has to do something’ in his words. The rest is filled with so much excitement making you sit on the edge and watch.
Disney’s The Jungle book directed by Jon Favreau and a team of effects wizards plunge us into one of the big screen’s most engrossing artificial world. Most of the time you even forget where you are, so engrossed being in the jungle with them, the trees, the rivers, the landscapes, the abandoned forte of King Louie everything, the intricacy of detailing everything to perfection just takes you away to a magical realm.
The movie was an extraordinary experience. But I must add that this wouldn’t have been such a wonder without the CGI/eye emoting animals who is hard to believe is computer made. Neel Sethi (Mougli) is the only human in the movie . He eludes so much innocence and charm on screen that it is a delight to watch him as Mowgli. The voice charterers are Spot for Sher Khan (Idris Elba),Ben Kingsley (Bhageera), Bill Murray (Baloo), Kaa (Scarlet Johansom), and the rest have done an amazing job that it has made the movie so complete. The music score was amazing as well. Favreau had incorporated some of the old classics from the original like ‘ The Bare necessities’ (1967 film) and added a few new ones too which is a delight.
I was extremely happy with watching Sher Khan and Idris Elba has done a fantastic job to say the least. Sher Khan looked massive, menacing and extremely dangerous. There was so much of fear when he was on screen that sometimes hair rose on my nape. He is the best villain – the alpha villain seen in years. I personally had a sense of loss when he fell into the pit of fire in the end and half hoped against the book he would rise up and come back again.
All in all, it is a must watch movie though some scenes are a little scary for little kids. There were a few scenes Cherry started shouting but she dint cry or anything so I guess that’s not a big deal. I also felt Kaa’s scenes were short and it would have been better if there were more of her. (Ok, I know I have a thing for baddies. :D)
Jon Favreau and his team has given us a magical experience that I don’t mind watching it one more time, or more in fact. He has changed the way I viewed the Jungle Book and thanks a lot for that. 🙂