The Jungle Book is by far the best live-action remake Disney has ever done. Yes I dare say it. We’ve seen Alice In Wonderland, Cinderella, Maleficent–yeah, they’re all good, nostalgic, but it didn’t really create that much excitement. The Jungle Book on the other hand has a refreshing quality. It doesn’t steer that much farther from the Disney animation, but the storytelling gives the film a new dynamic. It’s kind of a push and pull: of darkness and light, tension and humor–creating complete balance.

Like the 1967 animation, The Jungle Book is about a boy named Mowgli who was found by the panther Bagheera. Mowgli was raised in a wolfpack led by Akela and was taught of the ways of the pack. However, there are times that Mowgli feels a bit of an outsider since he does things differently especially with his so-called “tricks”. Mowgli’s life changes when the rains start to fall and the vengeful tiger, Shere Khan threatens the wolfpack because of Mowgli’s presence. The pack decides that it’s better for Mowgli to return to the man village accompanied by Bagheera. Along the way, they meet other interesting characters such as the python Kaa, the beloved bear Baloo, and the mighty ape, King Louie.

What makes the storytelling of the live-action different from the animation is that the relationships between the characters are well-established. The antagonist is also introduced early unlike in the animation where you know it’s the tiger Shere Khan but you don’t see how evil his presence is until the half part of the animation. The laying of these foundations makes the motivation of the main character clearer. It’s organic, realistic, that the audience become more attached to Mowgli. Moreover, the film does not shy away from current issues that need to be addressed like the importance of nature, and how we should respect and take care of it.


Imagine my surprise when the end credits revealed that the movie was “filmed in Downtown Los Angeles”. The environment in The Jungle Book is so realistic, you won’t be able to tell that it was all green/ blue screened if it wasn’t for that credit. It’s truly a technical marvel. Respect to all the animators in this film!

I also have a new-found admiration for director Jon Favreau for turning an already dated story into an exciting, modern, and more believable tale. And Favreau does this without any drastic deviation from the original material.

Favreau also did a great job directing the young Neel Sethi. I don’t think the movie will have an effective Mowgli without his direction. But of course, for a newcomer like Sethi, it also displays his acting prowess. Just imagine yourself being young, a newbie, in a film where you’re the only real-live human, and you’re expected to create the right dynamics between you and a voice, or maybe a fella in a green suit. Favreau and Sethi’s great tandem resulted into a Mowgli that’s very charming, with the right amount of innocence mixed with a tad bit of cockiness.


I love watching Disney’s live-action adaptation because of the nostalgia. Honestly, I have forgotten a big chunk of the 1967 animation. I had to re-watch it for me to know how much was changed. But what I do remember vividly are the songs. I grew up singing The Bare Necessities, and Trust In Me still gives me the creeps to this day. So I was very happy when most of the songs were included in the film. I love how they recreated the scene where Mowgli and Baloo are floating in the river while singing The Bare Necessities–I cannot contain my childhood feels.

The end credits of The Jungle Book begins with a shot of the Rudyard Kipling book. If you can recall, this is also the first shot of the animation film. So technically, the first shot of the animation is the last shot of the live-action. Pretty cool, huh? Actually, the whole end credits is pretty cool as well. It imitates the turning of a page, and with every page there’s a character from the movie doing all sorts of things. If you’re an animal lover, this will be a real treat.

The Jungle Book is now showing in theaters nationwide. Watch it this weekend and just forget about your worries and your strife.


Disney's The Jungle Book Delivers More Than The Bare Necessities
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