Friday, April 08, 2016


Trust In Jon Favreau, Just In Him!

3 and 1/2 stars

Mini Review:

When your childhood favorites grow up, this is what they look like, sound like, feel like - as you see them in Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book. It thrills you, makes you gasp in surprise and in wonder, it even terrifies you in parts. But what makes you happy, really happy from the inside is the joy of meeting Mowgli, Bagheera, Baloo and even Kaa. 

Main Review:

Watching this movie is such an amazing visual experience, no amount of explaining how advanced this CGI is, which makes for the scariest Shere Khan, the ginormous King Louie, the slithery Kaa ever. Technology so brilliant, you forget you are watching the usually hateful 3D, and drown happily in the IMAX version of the movie you watched on 21 inch screens at home. The Nippon Studios version of the 2D animated Jungle Book. I have always loved the Disney version where you sang 'Bare Necessities' loudly with all your friends in summer and 'Trust in me!' to each other by elongating the 'S' sounds just as Kaa did.

Scarlett Johansson seduces you in this version as Kaa, but briefly. And you sway in the seats, not because you are hypnotised by her, but because it's a familiar hisss! 

The voices of Bill Murray and Ben Kingsley make you sink in your chair and sigh. Mowgli will be safe when Baloo and Bagheera are there to save him. I was especially impressed with Lupita Nyon'go who is the voice of Raksha, Mowgli's wolf mom. But it's Shere Khan who enters the frame with his burnt face and puts ice on your heart.

I was terrified to watch Shere Khan really tear up the scenery. Idris Alba's usually sexy presence is turned into a fearful one as Shere Khan. The way Shere Khan climbs up the wolf hill and casually kills Akeyla, the leader of the wolf pack is not easy to digest. The fact that Disney has made a departure from it's usual sanitised way of showing death is at once applause worthy and a tad sad. You wish for the days of innocence, but know inside that kids today are playing really violent video games and can deal with death and separation as never before.

And now to admit that King Louie is not fun and games either. He's big, he's more orange than you ever remember and fiercer. I was biting my fingers really hard to stop myself from screaming out in fear. I realised that I was holding my breath when Louie had chases Mowgli and breaks down the pillars of the magnificent Monkey Temple. I don't especially enjoy watching monkeys, and when the packs attack Bagheera and Baloo, it is fearsome.

But there are so many moments of love and sweetness that you come away from the magnificence and the ever green story of a boy who is unafraid of the jungle and has the best friends who get drunk on honey and teach him that the 'Bare Necessities of life will come to you!'

The story has changed a bit too, and you understand why they don't have too many Man Village scenes. You love the huge elephants and understand their purpose in the movie. The story ties up neatly and your heart swells up with pride because you too can recite the law of the jungle! 

I came away with Selena Gomez's version of 'Trust in me' playing in my head. Gone was the fear Shere Khan instilled. Gone was the sorrow of losing Akeyla. Gone was the alarm at the red flower spreading destruction. I was seduced completely by Jon Favreau's very, very grown up Jungle Book.

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