I went to see the Jungle Book the day it came out and I am super hyped on this movie. I chose not to see it in 3D, but it was still absolutely stunning. I feel confident in stating that it is the most visually astounding movie ever created.
The voice acting was incredible. Shere Khan was always one of Disney’s most frightening villains to me, though I can’t really put my finger on what exactly it is about him. Idris Elba managed to elicit that same element of fear in his performance. Bill Murray as Baloo and Ben Kingsley as Bagheera also gave incredible performances. Talking animals in live action films always carry the risk of becoming cheesy but the performances by the actors, as well as the incredible level of animation, really drew me in to the point where I forgot that animals from the jungle don’t actually speak.
This made the scene with King Louie all the more frightening. I know a bunch of people aren’t stoked about Christopher Walken’s performance but I liked it. Both “The Bare Necessities” and”I Wanna Be Like You,” are such iconic Disney songs that I’m glad they didn’t try to find stellar singers for them. The goal wasn’t to replace what went before but to create a new conceptualization of the songs that would still play on fan nostalgia, and I think a very nice balance was struck.
And I cannot reiterate enough the visual impact of this movie. It blows Avatar out of the goddamned water. Avatar gained its popularity for having cutting edge 3D technology at the time. The script is medicore, the universe is whatever, and the movie virtually has zero re-watch value outside of the theater. The Jungle Book, however, is going to be able to stand on its own legs both visually and narratively when it comes to Blu-Ray and DVD.
If you haven’t seen this movie yet, GET YE TO THE THEATER! You will not regret it, I promise.