Let me start by saying I knew absolutely nothing of the jungle book before watching this movie. I’ve never read the book nor have I seen any of the previous movies that have come before this one. Now with that out of the way, man was I completely taken by this film! This is pure family fun, and not just for the kids but for the adults as well. Borrowing story elements from classics like “The Lion King” and “Tarzan”, this story seemed fresh and was still entertaining. Although the original Jungle Book might have come before these stories, this take seemed updated. Again, I’m speculating here as I know little to nothing on the previous material. But now, Lets talk about one amazing aspect of this film, the fact that it was shot entirely on Green Screen!
That’s right, this film never left its LA Center Studio in Los Angeles, California. The only real thing in this live action film is Mowgli (Neel Sethi) himself! Any landscape shots, rocks, animals, rivers, trees, and all other locations were all computer generated VFX (Green Screen). And I must admit, this is by far one of the best special effects films I’ve seen in awhile. Its so beautiful that you forget that your watching fake animals and surrounding settings, and that is a sign of something special. One major factor when it comes to the success of any animated film is in its voice overs. Getting the right voice actors I believe is a key to making any animated film work good, and in the case of this “Live Action” movie that’s heavy on the CGI effects, its no different. And boy did they get it right!
One stand out voice actress was that of Scarlett Johansson as Kaa. This scene is powerful for many reasons as it serves a important back story for our little friend Mowgli. Aside from that it has such a creepy vibe as Kaa’s intensions are sketchy and leaves you wondering if she can be trusted at all. Such a powerful scene that director Jon Favreau captures with all its intense nail biting greatness. Again, who better to voice such a sweet yet deceiving character then the wonderful Scarlett Johansson, a great example of the importance of the right voice actors!
Another great actor was that of Christopher Walken voicing one of my favorite characters of the film, King Louie. Every scene with King Louie was just astonishing! The look of these animals was done so good it cant be complimented enough. When King Louie talks you can almost see Christopher Walken himself, not just because its his voice, but because they perfected the mix of animal behavior and motion-capture VFX that its breathtaking. And not just with Kaa and King Louie, but with all the animal characters!
Bill Murray as Baloo, Ben Kingsley (Bagheera), Idris Elba (Shere Khan) and Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha just to name a few. With great voice overs, great effects and one good story this is fun entertainment for the whole family! If your a fan of the cartoon you will like it even more as the movie revisits some of the songs, giving those fans a nostalgic feeling taking them back to that time (as I was told by a friend who was a fan of the cartoon). But even if your like me and know nothing of the old material, you can still enjoy this film for it really is a solid live action movie with some of the best effects to date.
“Tag It & Bag It” 9/10