Jungle Book Review

Disney’s The Jungle Book (not to be confused with next year’s The Warner Bros. The Jungle Book) is a movie that I saw and I have some thoughts on.

It's a mostly-live-action “re-imagining” of the classic animated movie, and if you want to go really far back, the book The Jungle Book. The voice cast is amazing, and it’s directed by Jon Favreau who certainly knows how to direct a movie. Here’s the trailer. Movie thoughts below.

Flat out, this is a great movie. It’s fun, gorgeous to look at, gives you some solid emotions throughout. This is a prime example of why I think the words “kids movie” as an explanation is really just an excuse for poor filmmaking. This is a “kids movie” in that it’s aimed at kids, but can be enjoyed by everyone. Perhaps not quite to the level of your average Pixar movie, and there are some pretty intense scenes that probably aren’t best for the really wee little ones, but fun for most people.

I’m sure I’ve seen the animated Jungle Book though I couldn’t tell you the plot. Certain scenes and certain songs have just been absorbed into the zeitgeist, and many of those get used here.

But that’s not to say the new movie is a beat-for-beat remake. It uses the core ideas, setting, and characters, and uses them to tell its own story. A story that fits well with the world they created.

A lot is going to be said about the CG in this movie, and rightly so. It’s incredible. Almost perfectly lifelike talking animals. I’m sure much of the scenery is CG too, but you’ll be hard pressed to figure out what. I’m sure it will be nominated for an Oscar for special effects.

I am going to offer up a slight spoiler, only because it caught me off guard in a somewhat negative way. There are still two songs in the movie. One fits in fairly diegetically, the other… not so much. Tonally (the tone of the film, not the tone of the notes), these just barely fit. You wouldn’t think that would be the case given that it’s a Jungle Book movie, but that’s just how the whole thing feels. More of an issue is if the movie didn’t have these songs, it would change anything and perhaps feel even more cohesive.

It’s not a big deal, I’m just overly sensitive when it comes to music in movies, and these sort of feel like they come out of the blue. Well, one of them anyway.

That is merely me trying to find a nit to pick. Jungle Book, sorry Disney’s The Jungle Book is great fun and an enjoyable watch.

And who knows, maybe this means we’ll get a live action Tale Spin.

I saw Jungle Book at my favorite theater, the El Capitan, in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. I've raved about these before, and they were great yet again. The added brightness of the laser projectors made the image pop. It was also the first 3D movie I've seen in ages, and while I don't particularly like Dolby 3D (you can see your own eyeballs in the reflective lenses during dark scenes), this was one of the better-looking 3D movies I've seen. I can't say that added anything (I don't think 3D does), but the brightness and richer colors of Dolby Vision definitely did. If you've got a theater nearby that has Atmos or Vision, it's worth checking out.

And lastly, for a bit of amusement, here’s Honest Trailers take on the original movie.