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The Jungle Book 2.0

Alexandra Slaid

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Disney’s live-action modification of The Jungle Book is a darker twist of the family favorite, but still manages to keep the heartfelt message of the adventure-based story alive. The film’s use of modern technology leaves old-fashioned animation in the dust, and brilliantly brings the creatures of the jungle to life.

It is clear from the very beginning of the film that Mowgli (Neel Sethi) struggles to fit in with the family of wolves that raised him. While the animals of the jungle gather around Peace Rock for a “water truce,” the man-hating Bengal tiger, Shere Khan (Idris Elba), calls out Mowgli’s unfamiliar scent and threatens to kill him. With the help of the wise panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley), Mowgli sets out for the man village to seek protection.

During the time that Mowgli is fleeing from the evil tiger, he comes across some familiar characters. Baloo (Bill Murray), the carefree and pleasure-seeking bear, jumps into action by saving Mowgli from the hissing mesmerist snake Kaa (Scarlett Johansson). Baloo and Mowgli form a special friendship, and the producers don’t hesitate to add light touches of humor in these heartwarming scenes. Baloo introduces Mowgli to the world of relaxation and teaches him to focus on the “bare necessities of life.”

The movie ends with an epic man versus tiger showdown that keeps the audience on their toes. Shere Khan manages to toss every animal defending Mowgli to the side, and eventually comes face to face with the boy. Let’s just say that it didn’t do Shere Khan well to underestimate the clever and resourceful man-cub.

The film constantly refers to Rudyard Kipling’s “Law of the Jungle” throughout the movie, something the original Disney film did not do. A further change in this film is the non-existent relationship between Mowgli and Shanti, a human girl from an Indian village near the jungle.

There were quite a few differences between the original Disney film and this remake, but the movie kept me on the edge of my seat. The Jungle Book earns 4 out of 5 stars because of the impressive voice and camera work, as well as my love for the story and the original film itself. It loses one star because of Shanti’s lacking presence, something I was really looking forward to. Otherwise, I would absolutely recommend this movie to all ages.

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