The Jungle Book Review: You’ll forget about your worries and your strife


thejunglebook Baloo

“Forget about your worries and your strife” is the perfect description for the effect Jon Favreau’s 2016 live-action remake of “The Jungle Book” will have on movie-goers. You’ll be so absorbed by the new take on the old story, you’ll forget about real-life for a while.

For those not old enough to know, these are also the lyrics to “The Bare Necessities,” one of the memorable songs from Disney’s 1967 animated version of  “The Jungle Book.”

Synopsis by Disney: “The Jungle Book” is an all-new, live-action epic adventure about Mowgli, a man-cub raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan, who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera, and the free-spirited bear Baloo. Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa, a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie, who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire.”

Sitting in a theater wearing 3-D glasses is still something I’m not quite comfortable doing — especially because I have to wear prescription glasses under the plastic pair.

However, 105 minutes flew by as I marveled at the look and feel of the jungle, the tree trunks and branches sticking out from the screen, and especially the animals. Very real-looking talking animals.

The wild animals are the stars in this film. They’re the beloved characters from Rudyard Kipling’s well-known tale, and they speak.

But don’t furl your brow just yet. The gestures and perfectly synchronized mouth movements of the CG-created beasts are nothing short of a technical achievement.

WETA studios, the same people who brought us the Academy-Award winning films “Avatar,” “King Kong,” “The Lord of the Rings,” “Hugo,” and more, did an outstanding job creating a movie where the line between fantasy and reality is practically gone!

Mowgli, played by 13-year-old Neel Sethi, is the only human in this film and has to interact with non-existent characters. And he does so convincingly.

A stellar cast provides the characters’ voices: Bagheera (Sir Ben Kingsley), Baloo (Bill Murray), King Loui (Christopher Walken), Kaa (Scarlett Johanssen), Shere Khan (Idris Elba), Akila (Giancarlo Esposito), and Raksha (Lupita Nyong’o).

Idris Elba voices Shere Khan in The Jungle Book

Idris Elba voices Shere Khan in The Jungle Book

Idris Elba has the perfect sinister voice for Shere Khan — it’s downright menacing!

“I think films have to offer an emotional experience for the audience,” says Favreau.

The most touching moment for me came when mother wolf, Raksha, has to let human Mowgli leave to find his place in the man village. She raised the man-cub as her own, and doesn’t want him to leave. This heart wrenching moment touched my empty-nester heart, and brought tears to my eyes.

“The spectacle won’t mean anything if they’re not engaged emotionally with the characters. Every story needs humanity, emotion and character development, as well as humor—presented in a way that doesn’t betray the stakes of the film,” added Favreau.

Well, he did just that. In fact, I was so drawn in by the characters that I wanted to bring Baloo home with me.

However, for those of us who grew up with the “old” movie, and expect to show off to our offspring (or the kid sitting next to you in the theater) that we know the songs, well, that’s going to be tough.

My only disappointment with this new movie is that I wanted to sing along and couldn’t do it with the new renditions of “The Bear Necessities” and “I Want To Be Like You.”  But the new generation watching this live-action version has probably never heard the original songs. So, maybe just mouthing the words will do the trick!

Something adults should keep in mind is that this is a children’s film, and the slower pace of the dialogue makes it easy to keep up with it. There are also some dark scenes that may be frightening to the younger set.

Mowgli and King Loui in The Jungle Book

Mowgli and King Loui in The Jungle Book

After the screening of this movie, I asked 10-year-old Jaden from San Carlos, San Diego, what he liked about the movie. “I liked the part where the temple is destroyed,” he said with a smirk. Then I asked him if anything scared him. “Loui. He’s so big!” he told me. Did he know the songs? Nope. He’d never heard them before. *Sigh*

It’s likely that many kids today aren’t familiar with the animated version of this classic story. For them, this fresh take will be awe inspiring.

This film is believable and the characters lovable. ​ “The Jungle Book” is simply a stunning film!

Rated PG

Runtime 105

In Theaters April 15, 2016






  1. Katy says:

    Ahhhh! I’m glad to hear that it’s as excellent as I had hoped!!!!

  2. michelle says:

    i have been hearing a lot of good things about it but i am a little over the jungle book. there have been so many versions and i think it is one of those movies better left to animation. that is just me though and i am happy that my family wants to see it. i know it will do well

  3. candy says:

    The pre views look fantastic.

  4. Logan says:

    I want to go see this! We own the old animated movie and love it, but this one looks like they did such a good job on the special effects!

  5. I can’t wait! Love the people they cast. I think it will be great to bring the Jungle Book to life.

  6. Klauss says:

    I heard that the kids (under 5 years) it is better not to drive while on this film. Your opinion?

    • Suzette Valle says:

      I don’t recommend this movie for kids under 9 years old. It had some dark, scary scenes with a lot of peril. Hope this helps!

  7. Chantal says:

    I just went and saw the film tonight! They did a wonderful job, I enjoyed it a lot.

  8. Morgan says:

    Yay! Can’t wait to see this!!

  9. I am so excited to watch this with my family!

  10. I loved this movie so much – your review is great! I think you need a new book with ’50 more movies to see before you grow up’ and add this to the top of your list!


  1. […] There are some tender moments between humans and animals that pull at our heartstrings, but they are not quite up to the CGI standard set by Jon Favreau’s “The Jungle Book.” […]

  2. […] You can read the rest of my review of this great family movie here. […]

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