We’ve all seen the cartoon at some point, right? Well, this version is different, but the same, but different. This version dips its foot (more than its toe) into the music, characters, and feel of the cartoon, without fully committing to any of those things. That is not a complaint. Josh raised a good point as we exited the theater last night, “if I wanted to see the cartoon again, I would have just watched it.” Is it good? Yes it is. Is it as good as it could have been? Not quite.
First, the problems. There’s only one actor, and I’m sure he did as good as a first time kid actor could do in front of a green screen, but ultimately he’s not real good. The whole movie is CGI, which looks good, but you still know the whole thing is CGI, and that takes away from the suspension of disbelief. Finally, (I don’t remember if the cartoon was like this or not) the whole movie is just moving from one big set piece to another. Its more like a video game that middle schoolers enjoy than a story with plot and character arcs. We just move from the wolves, to the snake, to the bear, to the monkeys for no other reason than we all know that’s the way it is supposed to go.
With all that said, its still good. Your kids will freakin love it. The voice acting is great, with one exception. The scenery is well thought out. And most importantly, you do care about Mowgli and the other characters. There was a lot of thought and effort put into the individual characters, and even though we move to fast from set piece to set piece, the affection the movie makers had for the movie shows through. Until they teach a panther how to speak English this will be the best version of Jungle Book that you’ll see.
Take the kids, for sure. They have to fight a little, of course, but it is actually very tame. Sher Kahn is a great villain, the kind your kid can root against without being terrified of. Not to many jump scare moments, and Mowgli gets like one bloody scratch on his chest.
As for the adults….its good, but I’m not going to give it the rush to the theater endorsement. Single men should probably still pick Batman v. Superman, couples should pick Jungle Book.