The Jungle Book

Being considered a wolf hasn’t been this popular since 2009’s “The Hangover”, when Zach Galifianakis’ loner character Alan pronounced his one-man wolf pack allegiance to groom and groom-mates high above Las Vegas. Now seven years later and packing a legitimate PG-rating, wolf fans find themselves in an Indian jungle toasting a family movie about a young boy raised by a group of the carnivorous mammals in the wild.

“The Jungle Book” film is based upon the 122-year old collection of life lessons from Rudyard Kipling’s novel by the same name.  This book-to-film adaptation showcases an unassuming 10-year old boy named Mowgli (played by Neel Sethi) caught in the middle of a high-stakes fight between predators at the top of the jungle’s food chain.

Jon Favreau, the genius behind the original “Iron Man” back in 2008, directs this eye-catching animal adventure from Walt Disney Productions that is sure to please the mature audience of kids (and most adults) in their theater seats. After a chart-topping, opening weekend box office haul of $104 million, don’t look for any of these jungle inhabitants to become extinct in theaters anytime soon.

An on-screen masterpiece of computer generated imagery (CGI), this year’s offering of Kipling’s work is vastly more watchable than the earlier 1967 animated release or the 1994 live-action film. It can be easily argued that the impressive visuals in this “The Jungle Book” tale make up motion picture’s finest CGI moment on film. Ever.

The realistic action sequences even offer up to viewers a few jump-out-of-your-seat scenes. These short moments of death and perilous times may be too much for younger eyes. But the Law of the Jungle and human’s reliance on the troublesome “red flower” (fire) aren’t enough to spark a substantial or deep plot.

While extraordinary visual effects are complimented with a splattering of humor throughout, generated mostly from comedian Bill Murray’s superb portrayal of Baloo the grizzly bear, the essence of “The Jungle Book” falls back to just an average, vanilla storyline. Kids will give this film a full letter-grade higher of love than adults. And maybe that’s alright. After all, your money is better spent watching this movie than on a trip to the zoo.

Grade: B-

 

(Patrick King is a resident of Tucson and writer for the REEL BRIEF movie blog at www.reelbrief.com.  You may email him at reelbriefmoviereviews@mail.com)

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