The Jungle Book - 1.5 Stars
Brilliant CGI is lost upon a train wreck of a film.
This movie should’ve easily worked, it has an exceptional voice cast, a great premise (see the original Disney film) and Jon Favreau is an incredible director. Yet this blend of live action and CGI didn’t hold up. Neel Sethi plays Mowgli and his performance is weak, notably, he sometimes has a lisp, which makes his dialogue hard to understand. Also you often feel like he is reciting lines and not really acting, which makes it hard to believe his performance.
The voice cast is good, if over-billed. Scarlett Johansson features in one scene, yet her name makes the front of the poster. Bill Murray is wonderful, the role suits him so well and hearing him perform the Bare Necessities is a wonderful treat. Ben Kingsley and Idris Elba nicely round out the main cast, with good, but not great performances.
What amazed me most is the fact in this non-musical about 1hr in Christopher Walken performs a song from the original film. Not only did this not make any sense it detracted significantly from this reimagining. Also Walken’s voice is certainly not up to parr for a musical number like this.
The CGI however is glorious, it looks absolutely outstanding and the integration of live action and CGI is seamless - it goes to show you how far this technology has progressed even over the last 5 years.
Overall I would skip this release, as much as I love Disney films this just doesn’t have that magic.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Walt Disney Entertainment