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Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Jungle Book (2016)

A young orphan boy (Neel Sethi), referred to as a "man-cub", has been brought up by wolves in the jungles of India. But when the vicious tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba) demands the boy be turned over to him, the panther (Ben Kingsley) who found him feels it is best if the boy return to civilization to be with his own kind. A live action version of the 1967 Disney animated classic incorporating computer generated images for both the jungle landscape and the myriad of animals in the narrative. Normally, I find CGI tiresome and artificial but in this case, it works beautifully. It creates a stunning other world full of awe and magic, realism isn't wanted or needed here. The director Jon Favreau (IRON MAN) does a splendid job of balancing excitement, pathos and humor that works across generational boundaries. It doesn't matter what your age, this is the kind of movie that will pull you in. The voice actors are superb although I quickly got tired of Billy Murray's comedic relief as a bear, perhaps too much of a good thing. Also, the film seemed overly dark at times (visually, not the content) but that's just nitpicking. The hearty underscore is by John Debney. With Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken, Lupita Nyong'o, Garry Shandling and Giancarlo Esposito.   

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