Jungle Book Review

VALERIE CARROLL

Staff Writer

Another remake of an award-winning classic has graced theaters around the world. Disney’s The Jungle Book made its way into the hearts of Disney fans once again. Crushing its competitors, The Jungle Book is the fourth largest 2016 title in the United States currently, according to Cinemablend, though the movie will likely climb the charts as it remains in theaters. In other countries the remake is doing just as well, making $96 million in international markets. Overall, the movie has made a gross income of $528 million, an impressive total for a new release. The success is no surprise, with the movie’s lovable characters, stunning CGI, and a story well worth the millions it has earned.

It surprised many fans that director Jon Favreau chose to create an alternate version of the Disney classic The Jungle Book, which was originally a novel by Rudyard Kipling. Whether it was a good or bad surprise was up to the viewer. Many were happy with the modernized version of the light-hearted, song-filled story about a boy named Mowgli who wanted a fun life living in the jungle. However, the new version of the movie has a different feel from the start. The trailer introduced audiences to a darker version of The Jungle Book. From an unexpected opening scene, to the gigantopithecus, an extinct ten foot, half a ton ape, King Louie destroying the already worn ruins of his castle, the new movie seemed to already have a more serious vibe than the original. But once it was in theaters the skeptics were pleasantly surprised by the deeper plot, with real character development and suspense you never would have gotten with the original.

Along with story changes, of course came cast changes. Many famous actors and actresses joined the jungle team this year, from Scarlett Johansson, one of the stars in the Avenger’s movie series, to the well-known actor and comedian Bill Murray, and others like Ben Kingsley and Idris Elba. The most impressive addition may not be the best known, but instead the youngest addition Neel Sethi, who plays Mowgli in the live-action remake. He is the only live actor in the whole film, besides the brief flash to his father. All of the other characters were CGI created, and voiced off-set.

The 2016 version of The Jungle Book and the 1967 version of The Jungle Book are as different as day and night. Minor characters were changed to main characters, character’s species were modified, and many new scenes were added. Some of the most noticeable changes were the character alterations. King Louie transformed from an orangutan in the original movie to a huge gigantopithecus. Kaa, the python seemed to grow in length and width from the original movie. The plot especially took a turn with the new and different ideas that were added in the remake. For example, in the original Mowgli was just an abandoned baby in a lost canoe, and in the new version his backstory has developed to him being the son of the dead hunter who blinded the tiger Shere Khan in one eye.

The Jungle Book was shot beautifully, and has a fantastic sense of wonder within the world being created,” said movie critic Eric Eisenberg of Cinemablend. “That translates into big-screen magic.”

A stunning classic turned modern pleased many, from its amazing CGI characters to its evolved sense of plot. Many who saw the movie enjoyed it, and would recommend it to others.

Even though the 2016 remake was meant to be the same movie as the original, some say that the two movies were completely different.

“I think I liked this movie better, even though it’s a little off topic from the old one,” said sophomore Paige Powell. “In the end, I would put each movie in a different genre. The new one had a nice twist from the old one, and I’m glad movie makers decided to bring back an old movie with a new twist.”

Movie critics and The Jungle Book fans alike seem to have come to the conclusion that although the original and the 2016 remake are very different, both have their highs and their lows, and both appeal to the audience in different ways. The Jungle Book was a success, and let’s hope that Disney makes more remakes like this in the future.

 

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