The Jungle Book (2016)

jungle book movie poster 2016 live action
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 10/10

Amazing visuals, makes the story more cohesive

Tough for a kid to carry most of the movie, the songs don't work

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Jungle Book

Studio:  Walt Disney Pictures

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Family

Release Date(s):  April 4, 2016 (Premiere)/April 15, 2016

MPAA Rating:  PG

jungle book 2016 python kaa mowgli neel sethi scarlett johansson

Kaa just wants to kiss you…

Mowgli (Neel Sethi) has always been a wolf, but he’s been different than the other wolves because he’s really a man-cub.  When Shere Khan targets Mowgli for death, Mowgli must leave the world he knows for the world of men or face certain death.  As Bagheera tries to get Mowgli out of the jungle, Mowgli is separated and finds himself on his greatest adventure facing the dangers of Kaa the python and King Louie an extinct Gigantopithecu while finding an ally in a sloth bear named Baloo.  Shere Kahn will not stop until Mowgli is dead and is willing to kill anything in his way to do it.

Directed by Jon Favreau, The Jungle Book is based upon the 1894 novel by Rudyard Kipling.  The screenplay not only adapts Kipling’s novel but takes aspects of Disney’s animated version of the movie from 1967.  Postponed from a 2015 release date, the movie was released in 3D and received critical praise along with a strong box office return.  The film won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

jungle book 2016 king louie gigantopithecus orangutan christopher walken

King Louie is a mini-King Kong

The Jungle Book is a classic.  In the world of Disney’s later movies, the film is much more memorable than some of its contemporaries with its swinging songs and fun characters.  This Jungle Book does follow The Jungle Book for the most part, but takes a darker slightly more realistic approach to the telling of the story.

One of the problems I had with the original Disney version of The Jungle Book was that it was very episodic (like the novel).  Mowlgi meets Kaa, Mowgli meets Louie, etc.  The story does a better job streamlining the story and making the situation more urgent.  In doing so, it gets a little scary as Shere Khan’s evilness becomes more aggressive, Kaa is more likely to eat Mowgli, and King Louie is this terrifying monster by making him a massive extinct Gigantopithecus instead of a simple orangutan.  It could be a little much for some kids.

jungle book 2016 mowgli baloo swimming neel sethi bill murray

Stop singing, bear!!!

It asks a lot to put the whole film on the shoulders of Neel Sethi who is the only human actor in the movie (besides a small cameo by Ritesh Rajan as his father).  Sethi doesn’t do a bad job but he is a kid actor and that does appear at points…but it also has to be considered he is acting against an entirely made up world.  While Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong’o, Christopher Walken, Jon Favreau, Sam Raimi, and Garry Shandling (in his final role) provide voices, this is a double edge curse…it is somewhat distracting when you recognize what actors the characters are.

jungle book 2016 shere kahn idris elba neel sethi

Shere Khan isn’t playing in this version

Visually, the movie is amazing.  It was shot on sets in L.A. but is lush and vibrant.  Like Life of Pi before it, the creatures created for the movie look very real and it is hard to forget at some points that they are completely computer generated.  The movie maybe should have shied away from recreating some of the songs of The Jungle Book because they didn’t always work.

The Jungle Book was a fun movie.  The movie kept a lot of the sentimentality, but it also created a movie that was entirely new.  With recent successes, Disney is preparing a slew of live action adaptations of its animated classics…it works here, but I don’t know that we really need tons of live remakes of these movies, but The Jungle Book was a pleasant surprise.

Related Links:

The Jungle Book (1942)

The Jungle Book (1967)

The Jungle Book 2 (2003)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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