Disney’s The Jungle Book Hits Theatres TODAY!
The movie event to be at in Los Angeles was a media screening this week of Disney’s The Jungle Book at The El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. It is pretty obvious by now I never turn down the opportunity to head on out to The El Capitan with my man, even if we are rushing in Monday night traffic!
I was both excited and skeptical to see Disney’s latest effort; a re-telling of their 1967 animated classic, The Jungle Book. While I know I saw the original when I was young, my recollection is weak. Still, I wondered, how will they pull off a feature-length telling the tale of talking animals and a wolf-cub-man, while being live action?
Silly me, I forgot, this is DISNEY, people. They rarely put out a mediocre effort, and The Jungle Book was anything but that.
Telling the tale of young Mowgli(Neel Sethl), an orphan taken in by Bagheera (Sir Ben Kingsley), a black panther, whom subsequently turns him over to a family of wolves who raise Mowgli just as one of them while Bagheera always keeps a close eye on the young man he rescued as an infant.
Tiger, Shere Khan (Idris Elba) is not so welcoming of this human acting as a wolf cub, and threatens the lives of Mowgli and his adopted family. Forcing the boy head on out into his own and in search of “The Man Vill;age”, Mowgli becomes lost and frighteningly, fending for himself.
Thank goodness that, along the way, he encounters his new BFF, Baloo the bear. And, yes, my friends, if you were wondering, the voice of Baloo is brilliantly played by Bill Murray. Being a film “late bloomer”, I just recently saw him in Groundhog Day, at last, and it has easily become one of my favorite films. So, to hear Murray in this role, was pure genius to me.
While he certainly has the elements of the Baloo we know and love from both the original movie and the 90s cartoon, Tale Spin, Murray also adds a fun, more, dare I say, grown up, spin to his Baloo. A chill, cool bear in the jungle, he originally saves Mowgli from devious snake, Kaa (Scarlett Johansson) and soon enlists Mowgli to help him climb up mountains to get honey from the killer bees. Soon enough? Baloo has let this jungle savvy boy into his heart and they become buddies for life.
The biggest question I have been asked thus far is, do they sing the songs?! And I have great news, my friends, Murray leads a rousing, lazy day rendition of The Bare Necessities….and, another beloved track is also sang in The Jungle Book….
When Mowgli is kidnapped by a team of monkeys and returned to none other than King Louie, we soon realize that voice of the one and only Christopher Walken. There is quite a bit of dialogue exchanged in the scenes with Walken, which made me assume he would not be singing and was I wrong!
Walken sings the most sinister, haunting, downright ,creepy, version of the Disney classic I wanna Be Like You, originally brought to life by Louis Prima. This is something I vividly know from the animated version; Prima’s distinctive voice, and the upbeat, jazz-y beats to the song.. The 2016 cover by Walken? Not at all what you might remember.
Often, I am a firm believer in when doing a cover of a song, that you turn it upside down and that is what Disney has done with the new take on I Wanna Be LIke You. I thought it was perfect and a great, unique re-telling of the tune.
While The Jungle Book is visually stunning, and the cast is phenomenal, I will advise in bringing your little ones. There are many scary elements to this film and if your child gets afraid easily, this is not the movie for you. I would recommend this movie to those 10 and up, as well as a great, fun date night for you and your significant other.
The Jungle Book is open nationwide TODAY! I hope you will check it out and tell me your thoughts! xo