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REVIEW: The Jungle Book

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Review by Dustin Heller

With the massive success of other animated turned live-action films such as Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, and Cinderella, Disney’s latest, The Jungle Book, hopes to keep the momentum going.  This reimagining is based upon the collective works of author Rudyard Kipling and also the 1967 animated film of the same name.

The film is directed by Jon Favreau, the same guy who really got the Marvel Cinematic Universe rolling when he directed Iron Man and Iron Man 2.  The film stars newcomer Neel Sethi as Mowgli and features the voice work of Bill MurrayBen KingsleyIdris ElbaLupita Nyong’oScarlett JohanssonGiancarlo Esposito and Christopher WalkenThe Jungle Book has been rated PG for some sequences of scary action and peril.

The film follows the story of Mowgli, an orphaned boy who is raised by a black panther named Bagheera and a pack of wolves in the remote jungle of India.  One day while all of the animals are gathered around the peace rock, the evil tiger, Shere Kahn, learns of Mowgli’s existence and vows to kill the boy.  With the wolves concerned about his safety, Mowgli decides to leave the pack and head for the man village on the other side of the jungle.

Along the way, he makes a new friend in the lovable Baloo, a black bear who loves honey and relaxing.  As Mowgli is always keeping an eye out for Shere Khan, he also faces a number of other challenges and foes along the way until he is finally forced to face the tiger once and for all in front of the entire jungle.

Disney has another huge hit on their hands here as this is one of the most enjoyable and thrilling children’s movies I’ve seen in quite some time.  The movie is very funny is parts and pretty scary in others.  The CGI and special effects are off the charts and crazy realistic.  Not only is the movie fun and exciting, the scenery is absolutely breathtaking as well.  I think Disney definitely hired the right man for the director’s chair and Jon Favreau has proved time and time again that he is a great director for big budget popcorn flicks.

Is it too scary for little kids?  That’s a question many parents will ask. There are definitely a few scenes that are very intense and have some jump scares, so parents should take caution with children under five years old.  My son (who’s four and a half) saw it with me and he did get scared a couple of times, but in the end absolutely loved it.

The Jungle Book is one of those rare family films that everyone in the family will enjoy no matter their age.  I highly recommend seeing it on the biggest screen; it’s truly a special event.

Grade:  A

The Jungle Book opens in theaters on Friday, April 15