The Jungle Book (2016) Blu-ray Review

Imaginative, zestful live action version of the classic story. 4 Stars

Disney’s 2016 live action version of The Jungle Book is an ingenious, imaginative amalgamation of live action photography and computer generated background, foreground, and effects shots that are accomplished so seamlessly that its studio origins are remarkably camouflaged.

The Jungle Book (2016)
Released: 15 Apr 2016
Rated: PG
Runtime: 106 min
Director: Jon Favreau
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Family
Cast: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba
Writer(s): Justin Marks (screenplay), Rudyard Kipling (book)
Plot: After a threat from the tiger Shere Khan forces him to flee the jungle, a man-cub named Mowgli embarks on a journey of self discovery with the help of panther, Bagheera, and free spirited bear, Baloo.
IMDB rating: 7.8
MetaScore: 77

Disc Information
Studio: Disney
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: PG
Run Time: 1 Hr. 43 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy
Case Type: keep case in a slipcover
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: ABC
Release Date: 08/30/2016
MSRP: $39.99

The Production: 4/5

Disney’s 2016 live action version of The Jungle Book is an ingenious, imaginative amalgamation of live action photography and computer generated background, foreground, and effects shots that are accomplished so seamlessly that its studio origins are remarkably camouflaged. The result is an exciting, entertaining package of thrills and comedy (with more attention to the former in this version than in the 1967 Disney animated favorite) that should delight every member of the family. And its huge artistic and commercial success certainly guarantees that more of Disney’s classic animation library are on their way to be fashioned into live action remakes.

The orphaned Mowgli (Neel Sethi) was brought by the panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) to the wolf pack when his father was killed in the jungle, and while mother wolf Raksha (Lupita Nyong’o) and father wolf Akela (Giancarlo Esposito) have brought him up as one of their own, it becomes clear when the venomous killer tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba) arrives on the scene that for the safety of the pack, Mowgli must be returned to his own kind in the man village. On his journey back to the village, Mowgli gets separated from Bagheera during one of Khan’s attacks and is introduced to the easy-going bear Baloo (Bill Murray) who lives for honey and relaxation and convinces Mowgli that he can become a man in the jungle with him without retreating to the man village. But in spite of the many adventures they share, the threat of the embittered Shere Khan is never far away.

Justin Marks’ screenplay returns several of the characters from Rudyard Kipling’s original novel which were eliminated in previous versions of the tale while also tying in classic moments (and songs) from the 1967 animated version which seems to be one of those perennials which nearly every movie fan has a memory of from his youth. An opening chase through the jungle as Mowgli trains with his brother cubs sets the stage for an adventurous string of action set pieces which involve the fearless lad, sequences which build in intensity and danger as the movie advances until by the time we get to the final showdown between the jungle creatures and Mowgli against the seemingly unstoppable Shere Khan, tension is ratcheted to the max. But the film astounds not just with the chases and fights so beautifully sustained by director Jon Favreau but impresses throughout as the photorealistic CGI work remains completely convincing that we’re deep in the Indian jungle with its flash floods, animal stampedes, and all manner of creatures both friendly and hostile. And for those who were worried, the two best-known songs from the 1967 film “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wanna Be Like You” are both present and accounted for even if Neel Sethi’s Mowgli has no sense of pitch in the former song and Christopher Walken’s King Louie (an invention for the animated version) is slightly reimagined in the latter for his role in this adaptation (with a few new lyric lines courtesy of the song’s co-author Richard Sherman).

Neel Sethi is a real find as Mowgli, completely natural before the camera and seemingly game for anything as he carries this huge movie on his ten-year old shoulders especially impressive when one considers that he’s working mostly in a vacuum as the only live action character in the movie. The voice work for the animals is all to a person extremely impressive with perhaps Idris Elba’s snarling, threatening Shere Khan the standout among a very strong cast. Bill Murray stresses the comedy rather than the hipster factor as Baloo making all of his scenes precious and attention grabbing, and Scarlett Johansson’s take on the viper Kaa is every bit as mesmerizing as Sterling Holloway’s was in 1967. Lupita Nyong’o and Giancarlo Esposito carry much emotional weight as Mowgli’s surrogate parents. The late Garry Shandling is hilarious in a few brief bits as the possessive porcupine Ikki, and Brighton Rose’s sweet voice makes Gray the most precocious of Mowgli’s younger wolf siblings. Ben Kingsley offers natty authority as Mowgli’s mentor Bagheera while Christopher Walken sounds straight off the bus from Jersey as the calculating, dominating King Louie.

 

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

The film’s 1.85:1 original theatrical aspect ratio is faithfully captured in this 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Sharpness is excellent throughout which is even more impressive since so much of the film is digitally rendered in a computer which usually necessitates a slight softening to blend live filming with computer graphics, but that’s no problem here. Color is rich where appropriate, but bright colors have not been pushed on the production with the skies mostly gray and shadows rich and deep in the main. Contrast has been consistently rendered in the transfer. The movie has been divided into 20 chapters.

The movie was presented in select theaters in 3D (director Jon Favreau in the commentary even mentions particular shots which were very effective in 3D), and the press release mentions that a 3D version will be offered later in the year, but the film for the present at least is only being released in 2D here.

Audio: 5/5

The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix is very impressive (it was presented in Dolby Atmos theatrically) with dialogue beautifully recorded and even occasionally directionalized (Kaa’s introduction justifies a home theater surround set-up). John Debney’s music gets superbly immersive placement in the fronts and rears while atmospheric effects likewise put the listener in the heart of the action with continual sounds split between the channels.

Special Features: 2.5/5

Audio Commentary: director Jon Favreau provides a very informative and fast moving commentary on scenes and shots which fans of the film will enjoy listening to.

The Jungle Book Reimagined (35:02, HD): director Jon Favreau sits down with producer Brigham Taylor and visual effects supervisor Robert Legato to discuss The Jungle Book and reflect on the years they devoted to the reimagining of this timeless tale.  Along the way we also hear from production designer Christopher Glass, computer effects supervisor John Brennan, composer John Debney, and actors Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong’o, Giancarlo Esposito, and Christopher Walken.

I Am Mowgli (8:18, HD): director Jon Favreau introduces Neel Sethi chosen from over 2,000 boys who auditioned for the part. We see behind-the-scenes work with Neel and hear from costume designer Laura Jean Shannon who was completely impressed with his professionalism.

King Louie’s Temple Layer by Layer (3:14, HD): the step-by-step building of the King Louie sequence in the movie is shown in behind-the-scenes glimpses featuring director Jon Favreau, actor Christopher Walken, and the musicians who provided accompaniment for Walken’s vocals, and composer-lyricist Richard Sherman who was present for the music recording session.

DVD/Digital Copy: disc and code sheet enclosed in the case

Overall: 4/5

The Jungle Book is another of Disney’s masterful reimaginings in live action of one of its animated classics, and it’s almost wholly successful with a distinctive voice cast, an appealing child in the central role, and smoothly orchestrated computer graphics which bring the world of Rudyard Kipling’s jungle tales to vivid life. Recommended!

Published by

Matt Hough

author,editor

38 Comments

  1. Such a cool movie. Kudos to Disney and Jon Favreau for getting this one right (bodes well for the new PETE'S DRAGON). But, my suggestion to 3D home theater owners is to hold off for a 3D edition (available from Europe now, possibly in the U.S. before year's end). This is a massively immersive dimensional experience, done beautifully. One of my favorite films of 2016.

  2. Dick,

    Seems to be opposing comments as to how well the 3D is on this feature.

    In another thread, a member says the 3D isn't that great.

    I am waiting for my 3D copy from overseas to make my own judgement.

    Thanks for the review, Matt!

  3. Ordered the 3D disc from Amazon UK, along with some other 3D titles that didn't get released here. If that's the game Disney wants to play, I'll just keep playing it.

  4. Ordered the 3D disc from Amazon UK, along with some other 3D titles that didn't get released here. If that's the game Disney wants to play, I'll just keep playing it.

    Teach Disney a lesson by buying their stuff.   I'm guessing their UK profit looks just the same on the bottom line as US profits. 

    If they don;t have to make an extra edition, carry and distribute another version of duplicate stock,  not have to include the DVD, DMR, or

    DMA  –I'm sure there profit might actually even be greater on a lower priced item

  5. Sorry it took me so long to get around to viewing my 3D Blu-ray from the UK. I fall on Matt’s side of the debate, (sorry Mike!) I loved every minute of the film. Generally, I’m not enthusiastic about remakes of classic movies, and I was afraid that this was going to be a live-action carbon-copy of the animated film. Thankfully they had a whole new take on the story. In the animated version Baloo was the guide and teacher of the helpless Mowgli, in this version it’s the other way around, Mowgli is the smart one teaching the lazy Baloo a few tricks. I loved the photo-realism of the Jungle and animals (nothing looked fake to me) and the beautiful scenery had a storybook feel. I even found the gentle humor endearing and the action sequences had me practically white-knuckled. I didn’t even mind the songs which were meant to be a gentle nudge of nostalgia for the classic film, but purposely reworked to be unique to this film, as in Mowgli’s intentional off-key singing and changing “man’s red fire” to “man’s red flower.” So I am able to enjoy both Jungle Book ’67 and Jungle Book ’16 as they are completely different animals and neither detracts from the other.

  6. This doesn't happen often.

    But I got this movie delivered today–release day–and my wife and I sat down to watch it tonight.

    We didn't see it in the theaters but I pre-ordered it based on the strength of all the comments I have read on this forum and in other places.

    We hated it.  [It's also not so often that I differ completely from Matt Hough on a movie review!]

    I would give it a 1/5.  And the "one" is only because of the incredibly immersive soundstage throughout the production.  I can't say enough good things about it.

    But I can't say there's very much else about this film that I liked.  I liked some of the music over the closing credits.  And I thought some of the voice talent was well cast.  Loved Garry Shandling as the porcupine. 

    My biggest problem was with the CGI.  I thought it looked awful.  From the first moment we saw Mowgli running through the forest and leaping over fallen trees and rocks, I thought the jungle sequences all looked incredibly fake.  And when the setting looks fake, it's hard for the rest of the film to shine through.

    I also disagree vehemently with the young actor who played Mowgli.  I thought his lines were stiff and ill-delivered.  I vested very little in his character and didn't really care what was to happen with him. 

    And why was Bagheera so disproportionate in size to Mowgli?  That was a constant irritant for me.  All the other animals seemed reasonably-sized. 

    And why oh why did they not dub the kid's voice while he was in the river with Baloo singing The Bare Necessities.  While Bill Murray was giving his own spin to the Sherman Brothers' classic, the kid was screeching horribly off-key during the entire thing!  WHY didn't they fix that???

    Oh.  And I've never liked CGI talking animal mouths.  Just doesn't work for me. 

    I have never read Kipling's stories…so I have no idea if this version was any more "true" to the original tale.  But it doesn't really matter.  The story sucked.  It took all the charm and character of the '67 version and threw it out the window for a bunch of action sequences.  This film was just one big fight and chase sequence sprinkled with an infrequent calm moment.  The final sequence involving Shere Khan's death (falling and flailing) was the worst.  It seemed to be an amalgam of death scenes from Disney's The Lion King, Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Beauty and the Beast. 

    I was really disappointed in Jon Favreau's interpretation of this story.  Much different from the way he told Elf and made it the charming chestnut that it has become.  This takes the direct opposite tact by focusing entirely on power, fear and danger. 

    I'm surprised, Matt, that you think this movie should "delight every member of the family."  When my kids were little, I would have kept them far away from this film for fear that they would have been terrorized by the plethora of scary sequences.  Nightmares for years!  This isn't the entertainment fare I would want to raise kids on.

    And I won't even get started on Disney's new desire to remake each one of their animated classics as a live action film…

    This movie most definitely does NOT come highly recommended by me.  :thumbsdown:  :thumbsdown:

  7. Quick question about the animals proportions.  In both the trailer and the larger version of the poster at the top of the review, King Louie looks grossly oversized, almost Kong like.  Yet I havent seen this mentioned anywhere.  Does he look more normal in the actual film?

  8. No.  He is definitely close in size to King Kong (maybe closer to Mighty Joe Young!  😀  )

    He's been changed from an orangutan in this version to a fictional beast called a Gigantapithecus (whose only redeeming grace is some new, fun Robert Sherman lyrics to I Wanna Be Like You).

  9. Ouch, Mike!  Now you've got me worried about my blind-buy of the 3D version that is slowly making its way to me across the Atlantic!

    That makes at least two of us.

    I am certain more of us will chime in with our opinions as we receive our copy.

  10. I didn't feel as strongly negative as Mike, but I didn't love it the way most people have. It was very much a live action remake of the animated classic, and as much as I enjoyed it as I was watching it, I couldn't shake the feeling that the whole enterprise was unnecessary.

    That said, in IMAX 3D, the CGI environments and animals were completely convincing. I've noticed that sometimes those things don't translate well to 2D presentations on TV at home. Just this past week, I watched In The Heart Of The Sea on 3D Blu-ray, and it was very convincing. The next day, I came across it in 2D on HBO, and everything which had looked so vivid and lifelike on the 3D disc looked flat and cartoony on HBO. Go figure.

  11. I didn't see this in theaters as I was never a big fan of the animated movie. Like everyone else I heard all the praise for this new version. But I also have heard about the upcoming Warner Brothers take,  which sounds more up my alley.  So the domestic release delay for the Disney 3D release didn't really bother me as I figure I'll probably feel the same way about it as Mike. The 3D would be the only thing that might influence me to buy it. But since some are saying that the 3D is not all that effective, I might just have to give it a pass completely.

  12. Ouch, Mike!  Now you've got me worried about my blind-buy of the 3D version that is slowly making its way to me across the Atlantic!

    Don't worry about it. A minority opinion (sorry, Mike, but it is, and you're entitled to it). I loved nearly every second of it, especially in 3D.

  13. That makes at least two of us.

    I am certain more of us will chime in with our opinions as we receive our copy.

    I received my 3D steelbook copy (gorgeous) from Zavvi last week. Have no fear. It looks absolutely spectacular.

  14. I'm completely baffled by Mike's review, saying the CGI looked fake. The jungle elements all looked incredibly real to me, as did most of the animals, particularly, Bagheera, Shere Khan, Baloo and King Louie. I'm really not sure what he was watching at all.

    However, I completely agree with him regarding Mowgli. He is Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker BAD.

  15. I'm completely baffled by Mike's review, saying the CGI looked fake. The jungle elements all looked incredibly real to me, as did most of the animals, particularly, Bagheera, Shere Khan, Baloo and King Louie. I'm really not sure what he was watching at all.

    MikeTV, you watched this in 3D, correct?

    Mike Frezon watched it in 2D.

    I noted in an earlier post that I just saw "In The Heart Of The Sea" from Warner.  On 3D Blu-ray, it was a completely convincing experience, with everything from water to whales appearing lifelike.  When I saw it in 2D on HBO the following day, it looked like actors sitting in an obviously CGI environment being imperiled by CGI weather and whales.  Nothing looked real.  Exact same movie, but two completely different viewing experiences.

    I've also experienced similar symptoms with other titles, where the CGI was complete convincing when seen in a movie theater, but looked horrendously fake on home video/DVD/Blu.

    I think it's entirely possible for both of these things to be true – for MikeTV to have watched it in 3D and had a very lifelike experience, and for Mike Frezon to have watched it in 2D and seen something very fake looking instead.

  16. Yes, that's correct, Josh. Very odd that there could be so large of a difference in the two viewings. Mine was also playing on a 4K Blu-ray player, so had some noticeable upscale to it as well.

    Now that I think about it, I experienced something similar going from seeing Avatar theatrically in IMAX 3D to its initial 2D-only Blu-ray.  It wasn't as pronounced as the In The Heart Of The Sea example, but everything looked more real in 3D and in theaters.

    Growing up, my dad and I used to talk about how things we'd go and see theatrically that were completely convincing there didn't play as well at home.  Effects which were completely convincing on the big screen looked fake at home.  Whether it was movies with new-school effects like Jurassic Park (effects looked real in theaters, dinosaurs looked obviously CGI at home), or older school effects like Star Wars (looked great in theaters, matte lines suddenly visible on home video), nothing looked quite right on TV compared to the experience of seeing them theatrically.

  17. Nobody will be interested more than me to see what others think of this film when they get a chance to spin their disc in their own HT.

    This stuff is all so subjective that I won't be surprised if I DO end up in a clear minority.  And I acknowledge a special feeling towards all those original Disney animated features.  But I don't think that's the case here.  In fact, I kinda liked much of the Disney live-action Cinderella which came out a year or so ago.

    I also liked Christopher Walken as King Louie. Still trying to sort out my feelings about Bill Murray as Baloo.  So much of his lines made me think of Meatballs and Stripes as he counseled and manipulated young Mowgli.  Not unsure at all though about my feelings of Scarlett Johansson as Kaa.  😀

    However, I completely agree with him regarding Mowgli. He is Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker BAD.

    :laugh:  Good call, Steven!  Although you might even say "Jake Lloyd/Hayden Christensen bad."

  18. Not unsure at all though about my feelings of Scarlett Johansson as Kaa.  😀

    :laugh:  Good call, Steven!  Although you might even say "Jake Lloyd/Hayden Christensen bad."

    I agree that the boy who played Mowgli was the weakest link in the film, but not that weak, IMO. Certainly not as bad as Jake Lloyd in PHANTOM MENACE. But, then, George Lucas was a terrible writer and director of actors with almost all of his films (AMERICAN GRAFFITI was an exception, but that had an emotional residue to its script that its amazing cast could latch onto, a quality Lucas seems to have abandoned thereafter. It was about authentic-feeling characters — probably based upon people the director grew up with — in a superb location with the clever and effective gimmicks of taking place all through one night, and the Wolfman dj serving as a commentator throughout. STAR WARS was a breakthrough film and was awesome in its day, but one has to admit that the writing and acting are very sub-par. None of us cared about that then. Anyway, I digress…)

    Scarlett's Kaa is a thing of frightening beauty. Stunning sequence. Bill Murray's BALOO is maybe especially iffy for those who so fondly remember Phil Harris' voice from 1967. That's the voice you want to hear in 2016, as well. Murray's voice has a much higher timber and less weight, and therefore doesn't seem to fit his character's bulk. One could say the same for Walken's King Louie, except that his readings are so quirky you don't notice it as much.The other actors are very fine, especially Idris Elba's Shere Khan.

    As mentioned, I find this film to be unendingly beautiful — often mesmerizing — from the opening credits through the end credits, in 3D. I have no desire to watch it in 2D, and so can't comment on the remarks made here about how fake the CGI looks when viewed that way.

    Incidentally, Mike, that's a gorgeous photo!

  19. Missed it at the theater, so I never saw it in 3D, but got the 2D blu yesterday, and it was everything I had hoped for, absolutely brilliant. Voices were great, visuals, of course, breathtaking, and I liked what was done to the story. Actually, I dug out the animated version afterwards, just to check it out, and while it still has charm, it hasn't aged that well, IMHO.

    I can't really see the comparison with Mowgli and Anakin, I thought he was quite OK, unlike Anakin. Just wish there had been more Kaa in the movie 😉

  20. I watched this tonight, my wife and 12 year old son loved it, me not so much.  The jungle looked beautiful, but too often the animals had that subtle choppiness in their movement that kept reminding me they werent real.  And the talking took a little getting used to.

    My main gripe is just that it was kind of boring.  Idris Elba was great as shere khan, but when he wasn't on screen the story lacked any momentum.

    The kid who played Mowgli had a few nice moments, but unfortunately more than a few moments where he just couldnt act.  I was confused by Murrays Baloo, i thought he would be more comic relief, but other than a few lines he wasn't particularly funny.   And I thought he changed from using Mowgli to guardian too easily.  I remember Bagheera and Baloo being at odds a little morw in the cartoon.

    And the bare necessities song was horrid.  Not only the singing, and the tempo, etc. But In the cartoon, the song served as a means to entice Mowgli to stay in the jungle, and you could sense his childlike wonder and amazement.  In this movie the song seemed like some half hearted aside.

    And I didnt even like Kaa.  Up until her appearance the animals were realistically prportioned, then a giant snake?  And her only purpose was exposition.  And bad exposition at that. 

    And im still not sure why King Louie had to be so big.

    Overall,  this just lacked the charm of the cartoon for me.  And it didn't make up for it with the compelling action promised by its trailer.

  21. I have concur with Mike and Gavin here.  I watched this with my wife the other night on demand and both of us were disappointed by it.  While it had some good moments, overall we found it too long and boring.  Since we didn't identify with any of the characters, the story really lacked heart.  On top of that, the two musical numbers were dreadfully executed.  I actually had to watch the original animated version the next day to remind me why I loved the story in the first place.

    I'll be honest, I even found Sabu's 1942 version to be better than this CGI version.

  22. Perhaps it would be helpful, when sharing comments about this film, if you were to identify whether it is the 2D or 3D version you are discussing. I've no desire to watch the film in 2D. The third dimension here sends the film into the stratosphere, IMO, from the amazing opening credits right through the amazing end credits. Apparently the 2D experience is somewhat lacking.

  23. I can't really see the comparison with Mowgli and Anakin, I thought he was quite OK, unlike Anakin. Just wish there had been more Kaa in the movie 😉

    If there had been any more Kaa in the movie, there would have been no more Mowgli.  Well, not any more live Mowgli.

    I guess given the size of this Kaa, we know why there was no interaction with Shere Khan.  In the animated film, the tiger could intimidate the snake.  In this film, the snake would have had the tiger for dinner…

  24. Sorry it took me so long to get around to viewing my 3D Blu-ray from the UK. I fall on Matt’s side of the debate, (sorry Mike!) I loved every minute of the film. Generally, I’m not enthusiastic about remakes of classic movies, and I was afraid that this was going to be a live-action carbon-copy of the animated film. Thankfully they had a whole new take on the story. In the animated version Baloo was the guide and teacher of the helpless Mowgli, in this version it’s the other way around, Mowgli is the smart one teaching the lazy Baloo a few tricks. I loved the photo-realism of the Jungle and animals (nothing looked fake to me) and the beautiful scenery had a storybook feel. I even found the gentle humor endearing and the action sequences had me practically white-knuckled. I didn’t even mind the songs which were meant to be a gentle nudge of nostalgia for the classic film, but purposely reworked to be unique to this film, as in Mowgli’s intentional off-key singing and changing “man’s red fire” to “man’s red flower.” So I am able to enjoy both Jungle Book ’67 and Jungle Book ’16 as they are completely different animals and neither detracts from the other.

  25. I have concur with Mike and Gavin here.  I watched this with my wife the other night on demand and both of us were disappointed by it.  While it had some good moments, overall we found it too long and boring.  Since we didn't identify with any of the characters, the story really lacked heart.  On top of that, the two musical numbers were dreadfully executed.  I actually had to watch the original animated version the next day to remind me why I loved the story in the first place.

    I'll be honest, I even found Sabu's 1942 version to be better than this CGI version.

    There is nothing wrong at all with the 1942 version (available on a gorgeous Blu-ray now in Europe that looks a lot like Technicolor). In fact, it not surprisingly reflects Kipling's tale more accurately than any of the Disney incarnations. The popularity of the '67 animated version is pretty much a nostalgia thing at this point, and although it is very well done and memorable and just plain fun, it is the film that introduced songs into the story, which of course were not part of the author's intent. Add in comedy and a total avoidance of actual death in the jungle (remember, Baloo is thought dead toward the end, but then suddenly returns to life, which in the post-BAMBI era was typical Disney), and you have a very watered-down version of Kipling. While the 2016 edition (like the '67) eliminates the Kipling subplot involving Mowgli's leading a group of corrupt villagers to a temple pit filled with gold and the subsequent deaths of most of these men due to greed, it does at least kill off Shere Khan (although not at all in the manner it occurred in the book).

    So, the 2016 is a hybrid, and I think a terrific one. It rather well establishes a compromise between the harsh realities Kipling described and the more family-friendly material Disney is known for, and maintains a PG edge that in the 60's would not have been acceptable for the studio. There is scary stuff here, actual death (Shere Khan rather quickly dispatches the wolf Akela). the threats to Mowgli are palpable, not merely laced with dark humor, as was George Sanders' interpretation of Shere Khan in 1967. Idris Elba's take on the character in 2016 is menacing as hell, and there is the very real threat of violence in his character.

    If anyone who has read and re-read Kipling's Jungle Books as I have doesn't consider this latest film adaptation as the best since the 1942 Sabu edition hasn't done the research.

    The 3D edition of this film makes this, to my mind, the best of its kind this year.

  26. So, the 2016 is a hybrid, and I think a terrific one. It rather well establishes a compromise between the harsh realities Kipling described and the more family-friendly material Disney is known for, and maintains a PG edge that in the 60's would not have been acceptable for the studio.

    I agree — I thought it was awesome.

  27. There is nothing wrong at all with the 1942 version (available on a gorgeous Blu-ray now in Europe that looks a lot like Technicolor). In fact, it not surprisingly reflects Kipling's tale more accurately than any of the Disney incarnations. The popularity of the '67 animated version is pretty much a nostalgia thing at this point, and although it is very well done and memorable and just plain fun, it is the film that introduced songs into the story, which of course were not part of the author's intent. Add in comedy and a total avoidance of actual death in the jungle (remember, Baloo is thought dead toward the end, but then suddenly returns to life, which in the post-BAMBI era was typical Disney), and you have a very watered-down version of Kipling. While the 2016 edition (like the '67) eliminates the Kipling subplot involving Mowgli's leading a group of corrupt villagers to a temple pit filled with gold and the subsequent deaths of most of these men due to greed, it does at least kill off Shere Khan (although not at all in the manner it occurred in the book).

    So, the 2016 is a hybrid, and I think a terrific one. It rather well establishes a compromise between the harsh realities Kipling described and the more family-friendly material Disney is known for, and maintains a PG edge that in the 60's would not have been acceptable for the studio. There is scary stuff here, actual death (Shere Khan rather quickly dispatches the wolf Akela). the threats to Mowgli are palpable, not merely laced with dark humor, as was George Sanders' interpretation of Shere Khan in 1967. Idris Elba's take on the character in 2016 is menacing as hell, and there is the very real threat of violence in his character.

    If anyone who has read and re-read Kipling's Jungle Books as I have doesn't consider this latest film adaptation as the best since the 1942 Sabu edition hasn't done the research.

    The 3D edition of this film makes this, to my mind, the best of its kind this year.

    Dick:

    I actually like the 1942 version starring Sabu and haven't found anything wrong with that version.

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