From Disney animation comes the live action film, The Jungle Book, based on the classic books by Rudyard Kipling. A contemporary reboot of the beloved 1967 film, it captures your attention from the opening scene and holds through to the very end. Its stellar voice talent cast supports newcomer, young Neel Sethi who plays Mowgli. The story follows the man-cub Mowgli who flees the jungle after a threat from the tiger Shere Khan. Guided by Bagheera the panther and the bear Baloo, Mowgli embarks on a journey of self-discovery. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ryan R. comments, “What I like most about this movie is the 3D animation and the voice acting. The animals look so realistic and the sets look amazing as well with very detailed backgrounds.” Willie J. adds, “Having now see three versions of the Rudyard Kipling classic, I can honestly say that Jon Favreau’s 2016 adaptation reins supreme. I know that may come as a far-fetched opinion for the faithful fans of the 1967 animated classic, but open your mind to the possibility that this version is above the rest.” Tre’ana H. wraps it up with, “ Director, Jon Favreau’s fantastic adaptation of the story and his devotion to the animals cherish exceeded my expectations. The special effects and 3D portrayal of all the animals are breathtakingly awesome.” See their full reviews below.
The Jungle Book
By Ryan R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
I enjoyed watching the new Disney film, The Jungle Book with its vivid and realistic 3D animation. It is slightly different from the 1967 animated film and has outstanding voice acting from Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Christopher Walken and others.
In this movie you meet Mowgli (Neel Sethi), the only man cub in the jungle and he wants to be a wolf, but in reality he’s not. He is raised by wolves and feels he has a nice life. One day, Shere Khan (Idris Elba) threatens Mowgli’s life. While the wolves argue about whether or not Mowgli should leave for the safety of the pack, Mowgli decides for them and leaves. He heads out to the “man village”. On his way, he meets many enemies and friends such as King Louie (Christopher Walken), Kaa (Scarlett Johansson) and Baloo (Bill Murray). What will happen next? Will he make it to the man village? Does Shere Khan catch him? You just have to watch the movie to find out.
What I like most about this movie is the 3D animation and the voice acting. The animals look so realistic and the sets look amazing as well with very detailed backgrounds. The voice acting is superb. Idris Elba and Scarlett Johansson are scary. Bill Murray is funny and Christopher Walken is scary and funny at the same time. They and the other voice actors truly bring the animals to life in this film. The music adds even more energy and excitement to the film and makes the scenes more interesting.
What I didn’t like about this movie is that there are many intense scenes. I jumped out of my seat a few times. This isn’t a movie for children younger than 9 years old. This is definitely a “know your kid” type of movie. I also didn’t like that King Louie wasn’t as friendly looking as in the original film, but besides that this movie is great and entertaining.
The themes of this movie are 1) you can’t deny who you are and 2) animals who stick together, survive together. The wolves have their pack and Mowgli is raised as part of the pack. His natural instincts kick in and he makes inventions to make his life easier but is discouraged by the pack because “it is not the wolves’ way of doing things.” They are man’s way. When he is in trouble, his manmade inventions save him.
I recommend this to kids ages 9 to 18. As I said, this really is a “know your kid movie.” It contains some very intense scenes that will be frightening to those who aren’t accustomed to such things. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to people who like to watch action, adventure and comedy movies. It is in theaters now so, go check it out.
The Jungle Book
By Willie Jones, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Having now see three versions of the Rudyard Kipling classic, I can honestly say that Jon Favreau’s 2016 adaptation reigns supreme. I know that may come as a far-fetched opinion for the faithful fans of the 1967 animated classic, but open your mind to the possibility that this version is above the rest.
The darker, more realistic tone of this live-action adventure is a sharp contrast to the lighter tone of the 1967 musical comedy. That may be off-putting to some fans, but once you’re swept up in the visual splendor of the movie, the story becomes ever more engaging. Speaking of which, don’t be surprised if a few elements of the 1967 version’s story aren’t in this one or are rearranged.
Jon Favreu gives the story the proper grandeur it deserves. He uses lush art direction and sweeping cinematography to make the story look bigger. Visual effects aside, the aesthetic of the film gets across the monumental stature a family adventure should have. Combine the visuals with the score of John Debney and you’ll find beauty and thrills that bring back a child like wonder.
One thing I really appreciate is the way the film treats the animals as characters, not denying them close-ups or treating them as spectacles. They are instead, portrayed as natural beings within the world of the screenplay. It enhances the brilliant voice acting of the cast. Speaking of which, I hope this film can rekindle the campaign to get voice acting a category with the major awards. Idris Elba is perfectly evil. Ben Kingsley and Bill Murray provide such natural and fitting voice work. And, Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken steal the show. Their scenes are the highlights of the movie and are easily the most memorable.
This movie is an overall construction of perfect cinematic elements. Disney has hit a grand slam with The Jungle Book as it will be etched in the memories of audiences for decades. I say this film is one of the best films of this decade and maybe even the last ten years.
With that said, I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. It can be seen at a local theater near you.
The Jungle Book
By Tre’ana Hickson, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
After analyzing this film, I really appreciated it because it is family oriented and explores the relationship of a young man. This film made me wonder if something happened to my parents who would take care of me. I love the fact that the animated jungle animals look so real and talk like human beings. This film blends adventure, drama, fantasy and family in an entertaining story. I enjoyed this film because of the way it takes a classic story and turns it into something amazing. Director Jon Favreau’s fantastic adaptation of the story and his devotion to the animals cherish exceeded my expectations. The special effects and 3D portrayal of all the animals are breathtakingly awesome.
The story follows the man-cub Mowgli (Neel Sethi) who departs the jungle after a threat from the tiger, Shere Khan (Idris Elba). The panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) serves as his protector and keeps him out of harms way until Baloo the Bear (Bill Murray) comes on board and joins the team. Mowgli embarks on a journey of self-discovery and meets creatures along the way who don’t have his best interests at heart. The film shows his innocence and you have to respect and honor him.
I loved the scene when Baloo the Bear and Mowgli go to the lake with Mowgli sitting on Baloo’s stomach as they float down the river. I really adored this moment because it is hilarious and it reminded me of a special time I spent with my friends in the pool. A bond is formed that you knew could not be broken.
The message of this film is do not ever hold a grudge against someone because of something that happened in the past. Try to make amends because life is too short and precious. Live each moment to the fullest. That is what Mowgli realizes and does. You should always give someone a chance to fit in.
I recommend this film for ages 7 to 18 because they will definitely be entertained. I give it 5 out of 5 Stars because it is child friendly, hilarious, exciting and enjoyable it even though some terrifying moments exist. This movie opens in theaters Friday, April 15, 2016 so go check it out, you will not be disappointed.
About Dani Gurrie
Dani Gurrie is the founder of Tots2Tweens, a wife to Ashley and mom to Cooper and Brodie. She spends most of her days trying to find the ultimate kids-related thing that mom's will love...just to share it with her world.