Cine Reviews: ‘The Jungle Book’ (2016)

Disney tends to remake most of its animated treasures and this time, they’ve touched The Jungle Book with Iron Man director Jon Favreau getting on the director’s chair.

In the film, an orphan boy is raised in the jungle with the help of a pack of wolves, a bear, and a black panther.

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If you still have doubts the moment you enter the theater, then prepare to get those eliminated. Once you get lost in Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book, you are immediately proved wrong because just when you thought that Disney would serve us yet another flimsy live-action adaptation of a dearly respected animated classic, you get shocked by how much of a noticeably superb update it really is. With Favreau taking the helm, a stunning new vision of a classic tale gets born and it is engulfed in a different kind of greatness that somehow couldn’t be seen in the original. A certain scale of epicness is on the loose, and it allows for total amusement with occasional tension and overall delightsome entertainment that never failed whatsoever. With that, it rivals its antiquated superior with competence and surprisingly so, it managed to apprehend most of the elements that made the original so beloved. Homages and hints of the original are thrown in there, but they never are fully exploited since it has so many refreshments to offer in terms of its revisioned narrative of bold, new spectacles. Nevertheless, the classic feel gets modernized and is made even more entrancing with technical wonders that makes everything so engaging. How this re-envisioning looked truly felt is as if the cartoon came to life to completely snatch our interest and rob us blind of our boredom. It tried to come out as a classic-styled re-telling of a familiar tale, and it managed to triumph amidst its lovingly satiable efforts.

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Thus, it turns out to be a worthy remake that triumphantly uplifts itself with its own bag of tricks for some fine enticement. Now, you couldn’t be more thankful for that since what it tried to do doesn’t always turn out so well on specific occasions. In fact, it is even one that never loses any of the charm it has emitted right from the very moment it all begins. Unlike the others, The Jungle Book – the remake is agreeably stunning in every aspect there is. The reliance on its old source material is evident, but for its own benefit it tried to be victoriously exceptional – not only in vision but also in having a certain uniqueness. The story contains the classic moral values that we love from Disney and as it gets strengthened up to the extent of being genuinely inspiring, it manages to keep smiles on our faces and even leaves a warmed-up mark on our hearts. Because most notably so, it mixes its tones in the right places as it feels the need to be light-hearted, fun and even intense whenever it feels like it should be such. In short, there really is a necessity in this update, and it could be seen in the story that it tries to tell with the outstanding use of emotion, depth and immense enthrallment.

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It is a coming-of-age story and it is quite unusual yet it becomes terrifically executed. The jungle we get taken into is flowering with substantial depth and scenic allure. What accompanies us along the way are endearing creatures that completely let us see past their own animal-like behavior. Metaphorically speaking, that enables them to turn themselves into “humans” once they get projected onscreen. Even minor characters has a purpose as they supplemented emotional weight that made the story more engrossing. The film’s storyline begins quite strong and it manages to remain the same up to the moment it wraps up. The anthropomorphic animals are rather emotionally connective with one another. The depictions of themselves are quite magically realistic. The characters are immensely charming, and the actors giving life to them sounded amazingly close to the animated creations that we loved. Neel Sethi’s onscreen debut is strong enough for him to pursue more acting roles. The captivating light that he brought forth kept us totally enthralled. He was able to accomplish the task in humanly depicting Mowgli through his tight characterization that got more and more rousing as it moved forward.

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Every single voice actor fits accordingly with their roles, and this comes out as remarkably striking with their capability to show how real and authentic their characters’ feelings really are. Most specially considering the emotionally-fueled interactions that they have with Mowgli. Neel syncs in altogether with the environments, and perfectly creates a convincing interaction with the “animals” that never fails to catch our attention. Every moment that he spent onscreen with them wasn’t ever foolish for our eyes to believe since our hearts were pumping as they built palpable emotional connections with one another. Since it ended up being crafted so well in terms of story, characters and visuals, the CGI never had the chance to overshadow the essential elements that it was following. It became prominent, but for a good reason in being a tool for enhancing the already moving experience that it creates. That makes it a dazzling companion to the amazing adventure, and it definitely provided a lot of beauty to the look and feel of the film. How the animated classic would look like if it was a live-action adventure is exactly what it became – riveting and thoroughly fun. In spite of the 3D effects lacking the punch that it wants, it still does its work favorably by adding to the immersive scenery that it builds. The CGI never looked awkward and always was beneficial to the film’s entirety. Thankfully it didn’t ever end up being a cover for what could’ve easily been a structural vulnerability.

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Ranging from the environment to the characters, there is truly something to be astonished with The Jungle Book. This update conjures a magic of its own kind and in every sense, it succeeds in being less than a live-action remake and more like a new vision confidently dancing to the old song that it plays which gets re-energized by newly added rhythms. In turn, a flame of effulgence gets kindled and it burns high and brightly from the fiery radiance of the story, characters and visuals that gets us immersed right from the very start. With everything mentioned, you should definitely go see Jon Favreau’s take on The Jungle Book without a single doubt.

Rating:

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* The Jungle Book opens in Philippine cinemas on Thursday, April 7 from Walt Disney Studios. See it in IMAX 3D.

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