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Thursday, 21 April 2016

My Thoughts: Disney's The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book; a Walt Disney classic and firm favourite of literary enthusiasts everywhere. As the last animated project for Walt Disney himself to actively work on before his death in 1966, Disney's 1967 animated adaptation has become somewhat of a shining star amongst the Disney community and fans of the 'official' Disney classics. For this reason, you may be shocked to discover that I, Mercedes, the self-proclaimed Disney expert and fanatic of all things animated, have never been much of a Jungle Book fan...

This said, I needed to see the live action adaptation. Yes, needed! And so, last night, I walked into the cinema with an open mind, willing this movie to be brilliant. And, it was. It truly was just that.


First of all, we have got to discuss the significance of Neel Sethi, our young mancub. As the only actor to appear in this movie, Sethi's performance as Mowgli really, in my opinion, had a bearing on the overall success of the movie. Fortunately for Disney, the casting of this thirteen year old was on point! He delivered an exceptionally touching, sincere and genuine character, brave and believable and impossible not to love. Both Ben Kingsley in the role of Bagheera and Bill Murray as Baloo were also great supports to Sethi's dedicated debut.  Other notable mentions include Lupita Nyong'o in the role of Rashka, Mowgli's pack mother and the deep, seductive stylings of Idris Elba as the infamous tiger, Shere Khan


Before my boyfriend and I entered the cinema, we were discussing the original animated version from '67 and he turned to me and said that it was one of his favourites growing up; this statement, coming from the man that despises anything Disney, was a big deal for me. I was of course intrigued so naturally, asked him more. He told me that when he was little, he had always loved The Jungle Book... apart from the part in which Kaa, the 'scary' snake, hypnotises Mowgli in an attempt to eat him. My boyfriend said that he felt this section of the animation was too long and made him lose interest very quickly when he was young. Thankfully, during their second shot at the Rudyard Kipling classic, Disney sure sorted that out! Casting Scarlett Johansson in the role of this slippery character immediately transformed 'him' to not just 'her', but an evil, cunning and clever temptress that owned the screen. My boyfriend didn't complain that this portion of the movie was too long. Nor did he appear to lose any interest...

Overall, I was incredibly satisfied with Disney's take on this classic tale and, as I have mentioned previously, I sometimes have my doubts about Disney's approach to regurgitating animated classics into live action (Maleficient was a flop and I do not have much time for Burton's Alice in Wonderland either!) however, The Jungle Book has really changed my view point regarding this... least we mention Christopher Walken's horrible performance as King of The Swingers, King Louie!

Have you been to see this movie yet? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.


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