The latest Disney animated classic to receive the live-action remake treatment, Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book is a fun, light-hearted adventure full of beautiful visuals and mostly spectacular effects. It seems strange to call this film live-action considering all of the animals and environments were generated in a computer, but the fact that they seem to fit together mostly seamlessly shows how much care was put into this adaptation. It’s certainly not perfect, but it does a fine job at keeping the spirit of the original while still updating it with more adventure and thrills for modern audiences.

Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is a young boy who has been raised by wolves in the jungles of India. He’s the only human in a world of animals, but he’s been fully accepted as a wolf cub and part of their pack. But not every animal in the jungle is fine with letting a human into their midst. The deadly Tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba) holds an animosity toward humans and vows to kill the young boy. With the help of his wise mentor – a panther named Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) – Mowgli leaves his home in search of a human village for safety. But the journey through the jungle is not an easy one and Mowgli will have to deal with the deadly snake Kaa (Scarlett Johansson), a lazy bear named Baloo (Bill Murray) and King Louie (Christopher Walken), one of the largest beasts in the jungle.

The Jungle Book truly is a visual feast, combining great art direction with stellar visual effects that bring all of the animals to life. There are a few moments where the real life Mowgli seems to stand out amongst all of the CGI around him, but moments like these only distract on a few occasions. For the most part, the environments and all of the animals are so realistic that audiences might believe them to be real if they only kept their mouths shut. It’s these great visuals that pull viewers into the story, even if the first fifteen minutes of the film aren’t particularly compelling. It isn’t until Mowgli begins his journey that the feeling of adventure really kicks in and, thankfully, that feeling carries throughout the rest of its runtime.

Once the journey really begins, viewers are treated to several great sequences one after another. The scene with Kaa is dark and eerie, while the scenes with Baloo are light and fun. King Louie is portrayed as a Vito Corleone –esque gangster, but the decision to have him sing may have been misguided. The voice cast for the film is stacked, so it’s no surprise that they give their animals true character and personality. The decision to have Murray voice Baloo may have been obvious, but the decision to have Johansson voice Kaa was an off-the-wall choice. Either way, the casting pays off and the film ends up being pretty delightful. You’ve taken this trip to the jungle before, but you’ve never seen it quite like this.

The Jungle Book receives 3/4

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