Cinematic Releases: The Jungle Book

This weekend, Disney's The Jungle Book shall rule the box office.

Dude. Wolf. I love you like a brother.
Now fetch me some bananas.
Once again, the classic story of The Jungle Book is being introduced to children all across the world. 

This latest version is a live action update of the animated film with the best computer generated animals to ever hit the silver screen. From the opening moments of the movie, audiences are taken right back to a time when story, character, sing along music and script were the most important elements of a family's cinematic viewing experience together. This new telling of The Jungle Book is a whirlwind adventure that sticks closely to the cartoon with all the legendary animals and beautiful environments we grew up with. Replete with newly produced musical routines and a blockbuster a-list cast, it's hard to find one single complaint about this revisionist version of Mowgli's tale. 

Escaping from the family routine for the evening, I ventured to the theater by myself. Walking out, I was saddened by the fact that my kids weren't there to see this with me. It's a spectacle. Other than a few brief moments of dark and scary animal on human violence and some typical Disney type death sequences, The Jungle Book remains a family film at its wonderful core. With a strong message about the importance of friendship and loyalty topped off with a heaping pile of family bonding, this is really the epitome of Disney's truest form. Showing Mowgli's growth from a scared little boy to a young man facing his worst fears still holds true to this day. Under the supervision of Jon Favreau's direction and the handsomely crafted acting talents of Neel Sethi, this is a picture perfect rendition of the animated classic transposed to live action. 

Nobody. I repeat. Nobody mess with the
cuddly bear. Nobody. 
With movies like Planet of the Apes and Life of Pi setting the stage for realistic looking animals, The Jungle Book walks away as the crowned king of the amazing looking computer generated creatures. The textures are beautifully crafted as their movements are the most realistic I've ever seen. Their fur moves with a natural quality as the emotive context of their facial expressions take on tones and visual elements of the actors playing them. The Jungle Book is exactly what we imagined years ago when computer generated imagery took a foothold on the industry. It's finally there, exactly where we wanted it to be, convincing us that the magnificent things we're seeing on screen are actually happening and that animals can communicate with each other via our native dialect. I don't say this often. But, The Jungle Book is simply amazing. 

If you're making plans for this weekend, don't hesitate to see this one with your kids. Or if you're an adult that wants to re-experience your Disney-fied youth, The Jungle Book will give you some of the adventurous thrills and feels you haven't had in years. Endearing animals like Baloo will surround you with their loving nature while the evil intentions of Shere Khan might send you cowering in fear. This is a well balanced motion picture that has a broad audience in mind. Despite some images that kids might find mildly disturbing, there is nothing here I wouldn't show my 7 year old. Take the time. Enjoy this one as a family. For once, we get a movie without any potty humor and no over the top human on human violence. See it. Now. 

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