I knew I was excited about seeing The Jungle Book.
It surpassed all my expectations.
Last night, I went to see the new film of The Jungle Book, both excited and apprehensive. The Jungle Book was THE film for me when I was younger. I watched it again and again. The new version could have been incredible or a disappointment.
It was incredible.
Visually, the film is just stunning. The shots of the jungle landscape, the animals, the huge expanses of land and tiny details of the jungle are beautiful. I loved the camera angles, pulling together sweeping shots of the landscape and jumpier shots, sometimes seen through the eyes of Mowgli, which built the moments of tension.
The way the animals have been done is phenomenal. I have no idea how the CGI techniques work but they were all so convincing, and the way their mouths moved when speaking fit perfectly with the rest of the animal. Every face had a personality, and the movements of each animal were so majestic. Clearly a lot of work had gone into the way each creature was portrayed.
Neel Sethi as Mowgli is a complete shining star. He captures the cheekiness of the young boy so well, and moved at one with the animals. Bill Murray's Baloo was as lovable as the original animated character, and Ben Kingsley's protective Bagheera was beautifully played.
Idris Elba as Shere Khan was brilliant casting - that rich, deep voice in combination with the tiger itself built a great villain. The wolf pack was well done too, with the cute cubs, the strong protection from Akela (Giancarlo Esposito) and the fierce mother's love from Raksha (Lupita Nyong'o).
'The Bare Necessities' and 'I Wanna be Like You' featured in the new film as well. I have to admit that King Louie's song felt a little forced, but I really enjoyed Baloo and Mowgli's fun, casual rendition of 'The Bare Necessities'.
Overall, I was so impressed by this remake, and thought the way it had all been put together was breath-taking. I would gladly watch it again right now, and may well have shed a teeny tiny tear at the end (if you've seen it, think of the moment on the baby elephant...).