Explore the wild with “The Jungle Book”


Equipped with pristine details of realistic, technological imagery and lively sound effects, the 2016 remake of “The Jungle Book” takes a leap from the original animated film based on Rudyard Kipling’s book series and adds a deeper dimension to the storyline.

The classic light-hearted story makes a comeback with life-like animals playing the roles of Kipling’s classic characters. However, the intensity of each character’s personality—whether it be determination, stubbornness, or laziness—brings a whole new wave of emotion and anticipation to the film.

The movie opens up with a chase scene between the young boy Mowgli (Neel Sethi) and the black panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley), but it is soon revealed that they are simply playing a friendly game and that he is Mowgli’s guardian. When Shere Khan (Idris Elba), a tiger with a strong hatred for mankind, orders the death of the “man-cub,” Mowgli decides to leave the pack in search of his own kind. Along the way, he discovers new friends such as the lazy, warm-hearted bear Baloo (Bill Murray) and uncovers secrets about the jungle, all of which ultimately leads him home to confront Shere Khan.

Throughout much of the film, high-tension chases dominate add to the thrill of the storyline with dramatic encounters between archetypal good and evil characters. Scenes such as Mowgli’s tight escape from King Louie (Christopher Walken), the gargantuan gigantopithecus, contribute to the movie’s fast-paced and energetic sequence of events.

However, since most of the scenes whipped by without slowing down, there was barely any room for the plot to build suspense. The one moment of anticipation, though short-lived, is executed well and provides a sense of uncertainty and excitement while setting an example of the manipulative nature of the evil characters in the story.

Despite the constant action, the film also heartwarming, uplifting moments. At one point of the movie, Bagheera, Baloo and the entire wolf clan sacrifice their safety for Mowgli, even though he is part of the human race that has destroyed the animals’ habitats. Their willingness to stand up against Shere Khan’s violent motives in order to protect Mowgli gives the storyline a touch of sentiment, showing that the love for family transcends all else.

Unlike the original children’s animation, this version of “The Jungle Book” applies lessons about survival and friendship that both children and adults can learn from. This movie proves to be a successful adaptation of the 1967 film with its mature moral themes and revives familiar childhood ideals that will appeal to people for generations to come.

By Jessica Huang, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of IMDb

The Breakdown

Plot development
Musical score
Character development

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