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The Jungle Book (2016)

Released:  Friday, April 15, 2016  
Length:  105 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Genre: Action/Adventure
Rating: The Jungle Book is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of AmericaSome material may not be suitable for children.

The Jungle Book Synopsis

Directed by Jon Favreau (“Chef,” “Iron Man,” “Elf”), based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, “The Jungle Book” is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), and the freespirited bear Baloo (voice of Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (voice of Scarlett Johannsson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire. The all-star cast also includes Lupita Nyong'o as the voice of the fiercely protective mother wolf Raksha, and Giancarlo Esposito as the voice of wolf pack’s alpha male Akela. “The Jungle Book” seamlessly blends live-action with photorealistic CGI animals and environments, using up-to-the-minute technology and storytelling techniques to immerse audiences in an enchanting and lush world. 

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The Jungle Book images are © Walt Disney Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

Jungle Book 2 Greenlit by Disney  4/11/2016 4:22 PM EST
"The Jungle Book", which will be released Friday, has already had the greenlight given for a sequel. Disney is currently in talks with director Jon Favreau, as well as screenwriter Justin Marks.The film is expected to do quite well this weekend, and has already brought in $28.9 million in a number of Asian and Latin American territories, including  $7.6 million from India, $6.2 million in Russia a...  More>>

Win Complimentary Passes for two to a 3D Advance Screening of Di...  4/6/2016 11:44 AM EST
Walt Disney Pictures newest venture is turning their classic, animated movies into live action films.   Their latest release THE JUNGLE BOOK opens in theaters on April 15, 2016, but South Floridians can win passes to a complimentary 3D Advance Screening before it is released.To enter, download the Movie Hype App and "follow" THE JUNGLE BOOK. Be sure to tell us what you like most about the animated...  More>>

Bill Murray to Play Baloo in Disney's “The Jungle Book”  8/2/2014 5:10 PM EST
Veteran actor Bill Murray has joined the cast of Disney's The Jungle Book as the voice of Baloo. Disney recently announced that Academy Award winner Christopher Walken will play King Louie while Giancarlo Esposito will play Akela, and the previously confirmed cast includes Academy Award winners Ben Kingsley and Lupita Nyong'o as Bagheera and Raksha, respectively; Golden Globe winner Idris Elba as ...  More>>

The Jungle Book 3D Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review

The Jungle Book 3D Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review
"Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities".  We all know and love the song and many of us remember the animated film that came out in 1967.  When Disney said they were going to make a live action version of the beloved cartoon, there were certainly skeptics who wondered how they were going to pull that off.  C'mon now… this is Disney.

Mowgli (Neel Sethi) was a young boy lost in the woods when he was found by Bagheera (Ben Kingsley; Enders Game), the panther.  Bagheera takes him to be raised by the wolves and Mowgli is taken in by Raksha (Lupita Nyong'o; 12 Years a Slave) and her mate, pack leader Shere Khan (Idris Elba; Stay Trek Beyond).  Everything is fine and Mowgli is raised right along with the cubs until one day Akela (Giancarlo Esposito; Revolution) the tiger finds him and wants to kill him.  Akela was burned by a human years earlier and has feared/hated humans ever since.

In order to save the pack from Akela's wrath, Mowgli agrees to leave and Bagheera takes him to bring him to the man village.  Along the way, Mowgli and Bagheera get separated and Mowgli ends up hooking up with a bear named Baloo (Bill Murray; Groundhogs Day) after Baloo saves Mowgli from Kaa the Snake (Scarlett Johansson; Avengers: Age of Ultron).  Forming an unlikely friendship, boy and bear end up with a bond which ultimately leads Mowgli to save all his forest friends.

One thing I will say about Disney, they certainly know how to put a cast together.  From Academy Award winners to today's biggest stars, the film boasts some great talent.  Murray is perfectly cast as Baloo - somewhat loveable, somewhat goofy and always endearing.  Kingsley brings his usual regal charm to the role of Bagheera and Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter) is an inspired choice for the voice of King Louie. Newcomer Sethi does an excellent job keeping up with these pros, which I suspect has much to do with Director Jon Favreau (Iron Man).

The biggest problem with the movie is that it is trying to please everyone and, unfortunately, doesn't succeed.  This version of The Jungle Book, unlike the 1967 animated movie, is based more closely on Runyard Kipling's novel, and is much darker than the 1967 story which was cuter and more child friendly.  This fact in and of itself isn't the issue.  Rather, Favreau tried to also incorporate the "happier" version into this film and it simply doesn't work.  I understand his dilemma. If he didn't add the beloved songs from the 1967 movie,  people would have been disappointed and some may even have been angry.  However, Kipling's original story was much darker, not leaving room for catchy songs sung by bears and big apes.

On a more optimistic note, the 3D is spectacular and well worth the extra few dollars for this version of the Blu-ray. The depth of the picture is excellent which brings the Jungle flora and fauna to life.  The varying hues of color are magnificent, which also helps to set the feel of Jungle life and the various greens of the trees are lush and vibrant.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 is terrific and the surround sound really make the jungle come alive, especially when Kaa is speaking to Mowgli.

The 3D Blu-ray release also offers a copy of the previously released DVD which has the following special features:

• The Jungle Book Reimagined

• I Am Mowgli

• King Louie's Temple: Layer by Layer

• Audio Commentary

It also has new features including:

• The Bare Necessities: From the Jungle to the Bayou (3:30): A look at recording the classic song with Bill Murray and well known New Orleans musicians. 

• The Return of a Legend (3:41): Looks at the reimagining of I Wan'na Be like You with Favreau and original lyricist Richard Sherman 

• The Jungle Effect (3:20): A look behind the scenes and how the special effects were add in post production. 

•  The Jungle Book Around the World (1:56): takes the film global with scenes shown in different languages 

• Developing Kaa (2:51): shows how Sethi worked with an animatronic Kaa to create believability. 

The 3D video and star power make up for the juxtaposition of the serious script intertwined with the catchy tunes from 1967.  The film does drag a little in the middle as well, but, overall, it's a good effort for a difficult task.  While this live action wasn't as successful as last year's Cinderella, in my opinion, it's still a solid effort on Disney's and Farvreau's behalf and it makes me want to see next year's Beauty and the Beast all the more.

Grade: B-


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  • 3/30/2016 3:32 PM EST

    Hibernation Clip

    See Baloo, Bagheera, and Mowgli in this new clip from Disney's The Jungle Book! Directed by Jon Favreau (“Chef,” “Iron Man,” “Elf”), based on Rudy...
  • 9/15/2015 2:05 PM EST

    Teaser Trailer

    Directed by Jon Favreau ("Iron Man"), based on Rudyard Kipling's timeless stories and inspired by Disney's classic animated film, &q...
  • 4/28/2016 4:00 PM EST

    The Making of The Jungle Book

    Go behind the scenes with director Jon Favreau and see how The Jungle Book was brought to life. Directed by Jon Favreau (“Chef,” “Iron Man,” “Elf”), b...


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