The live action (or really, differently animated) version of The Jungle Book is most notable for its technical accomplishments. All of the animals might be CGI creations, but they feel like living, breathing (albeit anthropomorphized) beings. Even their mouth movements appear natural. It may be a little uncanny valley-ish when the wolves are talking, but it is mostly cute.
The story is the same as what you already know, so what this iteration offers (besides the visuals) is a mighty fine cast. In that vein, Idris Elba’s menacing turn as Sheera Khan is almost unbearably intense. It is unsettling how much he is just a villain for the sake of being a villain. Sure, he has it out for Mowgli because the boy’s father burned his face, but Khan had been the aggressor in the first place. Perhaps his motivations can be explained by a thirst for power, but no matter how you slice it, this is not an antagonist handled with kid gloves.
I did not see it in 3D. There are a few moments during the end credits when animals are bouncing around, and it is clear that they are supposed to popping out of the screen. It would be nice to have the full effect there. Besides that, there is nothing during the actual body of the movie that looks like it is similarly attempting to be extra-dimensional. There might be more depth to the 3D version, but the spectacle works without it.
So, in conclusion, I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is hearing Christopher Walken sing “Oobie doo” over and over.
I give The Jungle Book 7 Human Tricks out of 10 Bear Necessities.
Jeff Malone is a voracious entertainment consumer and entertainment creator. He currently resides in New York City, where he received his Master’s in Media Studies at The New School. In addition to his pieces on TMRzoo.com and StarPulse.com, you can check out his blog (jmunney.wordpress.com), where he provides regular coverage of Community and Saturday Night Live, as well as other television, film, music, and the rest of pop culture.