Running time : 1 hour 45
I think we all thought WHY remake this classic when news of its release hit some time ago. Most of us had this as some part of our childhood or maybe our own children’s childhoods. But although the animation from 1967 is laminated to us by our own glossy memories. What about the new children of today who missed it? My son is 7 years old and he was shown the cartoon at school. “It just looked so awful” he said. Well that cannot be said of this years version. The animation of the CGI animals is amazing and although there are moments when your brain is saying that you aren’t looking at REAL, the rest of the time you are absorbed into the interplay between the animal kingdom and Mowgli. Ah yes, Mowgli, played here by Neel Sethi. This isn’t a reinterpretation of the cartoon hero, it’s an exact replica. Just genius casting. In fact all the casting choices are spot on even e gender changed ones make sense. Concerned Baghreera By Ben Kingsley, lazy but fun Baloo by Bill Murray, dark and mighty Shere Kahn by Idris Elba, hypnotic Kaa (snake) by Scarlet Johansson and power mad gangster the orang-utan by Christopher Walken, all fall beautifully into their roles and lend their voices to make the friendships rich and powerful. But what of the songs? the score drops in subtle key notes from all the major players including Trust In Me before rolling delicately into our favourites like The Bare Necessities, which just makes you feel safe and warm again and I Wanna Be Like You. Oh the feeling that this was in safe hands is such a relief. Even though you know how it all plays out, there’s enough little unobtrusive detours to make you love it all over again. This one, my son really lapped up and tapped his foot along. For a 1 hr 45 running time, it seemed to fly by and I could’ve stayed in that jungle world much longer. The scenes of dark nights and really very black, but with no street light pollution, what do you expect? Then the day breaks and it’s a rich tapestry of colour again.
This is a lovely cozy hug of a film and Jon Favreau must be sat proud that it all came off as well as it did. A must see all over again.