Visually stunning ‘The Jungle Book’ is PG thrill ride

Jake Szasz, Staff Reporter

The latest in the series of live-action remakes for beloved Disney animated movies has arrived. “The Jungle Book,” directed by Jon Favreau, follows Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves, and his epic journey through the jungle. When Shere Khan, a vicious tiger, discovers a “man-cub” in his midst, Mowgli is forced to leave his wolf pack to ensure their safety. Accompanied by an old friend, Bagheera the black panther, and a new friend, Baloo the bear, he encounters some of the jungle’s strangest creatures. After much self-discovery and reflection, Mowgli must make a choice that could shake up the state of the jungle.

If anything, there should be one thing commended for this film; almost everything you will see in this movie is CGI. That’s right. Almost all of it isn’t real. But after watching this movie, you will most likely not even notice. It is absolutely beautiful visually. From the sets of the jungle to the animals that inhabit it, it is remarkable. This is an incredible technological achievement that has to be seen to be believed.

Props have to be given to Neil Sethi, who played Mowgli in the film. Sethi doesn’t have the luxury of looking directly at the animal with which he is interacting, a connection that is usually very important to actors. That’s only the first of the many hardships of filming with CGI characters and sets. This is not even mentioning that this is Sethi’s first movie and that he’s 10 years old. To put on the performance that he does with all the obstacles given to him is outstanding.

This is an action-packed, fast-paced movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat. There isn’t a dull moment in sight with the combination of visually stunning images put on screen and chemistry between the characters. Jon Favreau, director of “Iron Man,” is the true star of this movie. The pace, the story, the visuals and the music were perfectly melded together with a great blend of comedy and action. Idris Elba as Shere Khan is vicious, cunning and threatening. Bill Murray as Baloo is fun, comical and lovable. Sir Ben Kingsley as Bagheera is wise, protective and honorable. For those of you wondering about Scarlett Johansen as Kaa and Christopher Walken as King Louie, they both shine in their roles, as well.

It should be mentioned that there are a couple musical elements in this movie, but they fit in incredibly well with the story. It also should be mentioned that this movie is rated PG, meaning the target audience for this movie is families. That isn’t a bad thing at all for fans of the usual Disney product. It is still a great movie. It just may not be as enjoyable to those who would prefer to see a PG-13 or R-rated action/thriller. To all of the parents out there looking for something fun to do with their kids this weekend, go see this movie. If you are a Disney fan, go see this movie. Enjoy and be enthralled in the incredible world Jon Favreau built for you. “The Jungle Book” is now in theaters.

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