Family Movie Night
By Karyn Bowman
I am not sure when I came to love the animated feature The Jungle Book. I knew it happened sometime as an adult.
I loved the animation, with backdrops that were really four different backgrounds sliding all at once to give depth to the images we were watching. It was an innovation one would expect from the Disney studio.
The other endearing part of this movie is the music. You can’t help but bounce around to the jazzy tunes, depicting life and hiding some of the dangers. Maybe it is the song from Baloo or King Louie or even Kaa. They pull you in and make you forget everything else.
When it was announced that there would be a remake of The Jungle Book in live action, I was not sure I would like it. I am one of those people who likes what I like and don’t like to have too many changes.
But my kids told me I should get it. They wanted to see it. They could not remember seeing the original verson. Seriously.
When we popped it in, there was an immediate difference. Forty or more years had really changed the technology. Animation was completely done but computer generation. The only real character in the movie was the boy played by Neel Sethi. The rest of the cast recorded their performances as the various animals including Lupita N’Yongo as the mother wolf who took in the man-cub as her own.
The story is the same. A man-cub raised by wolves is threatened by Shere Khan the tiger. He hates men and vows that Mowgli will not live to manhood. Baghera the panther volunteers to take Mowgli to the man villiage. There are adventures and travails and nears misses with Shere Khan and Kaa.
The action is thrilling as Mowgli escapes from Shere Khan in a stampede, bows to the elephants, and learns what the glowing flower can do to a jungle. He meets his great friend Baloo and is taken by Louie’s minions.
Ben Kingsley gives Baghera his wonderful regalness. Idris Elba never fails as the diabolical tiger. Christopher Walken brings his famous irregular speech patterns to Louie. And Scarlet Johanson, why she is the sultry siren of a snake. I felt a slightly different connection to this movie, I felt more connected. Bill Murray pulled off on of the most natural performances I have seen from him in a long time
I understood the legends of this world better. I understood the reasons why people acted the way they did. I applauded Mowgli’s strength even In the depth’s of his naivete. It is a movie that all family members can watch, although there are some moments that are desperately scary but they are onl moments.
Jon Favreau, the director, has created a new classic of a old story. My kids described the movie as ‘lit.’
I asked what that meant and I was told it mean the movie was good.
I knew the last part.
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.