Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Film: 'The Jungle Book' (in 2D)

There's no denying that, visually at least, this is a singularly remarkable achievement.

My habitual antipathy towards films featuring animals in any major way, (because they take too heavy an emotional toll on me), was set aside by reading the widespread praise aimed at this film. Thus, winning over my reluctance, go I did. In the event the animals' anthropomorphic speaking helped in keeping a mental distance from too close an engagement of the creature's involvements and predicaments. 
There's no need to list the handful of big(gish) names who provide the voices (in both British and American accents), but Bill Murray's Baloo bear was a total winner. Mowgli himself is played by 12-year-old Neel Sethi - one of those child characters wise beyond his years, but so is Kipling's original conception of him. 

However, having said all that, if the visual spectacle is stripped away, it didn't pull me in as much as I'd have expected. My particular experience wasn't assisted one bit in that the screening I attended was a wet public holiday morning with, schools being off, the old-style, art deco, long, single-auditorium cinema (now 105 years old) was over 90% full, and at least two-thirds of them seemingly being kids of 10 years old and under. You can imagine the constant restlessness when any non-action sequence was playing, not to mention the talking (and even crying) - and, predictably, much traffic to and from the toilets. Still, I clung on till the finish - or at least until the closing credits where, I understand, if I'd sat through them I would have heard another of the songs from the original '67 Disney cartoon (remaining unseen by me). As it was, in the body of this film there are the two most famous songs from that early feature, the second of which is put in a context which is much more threatening, and even scary, than was ever meant for that cartoon. 

So all in all, with my purposeful detachment, it's no surprise that it didn't involve me as much as it has some, though I repeat that the visuals are a marvel, and must be even moreso when seen in 3D. In terms of the level of my own enjoyment, however, it rates a....................6.


  1. Every time I see a preview I think how amazing the film looks, but then I wonder if it just "looks" amazing.
    You cleared that up ... I think it's a Wait For TV movie.

    1. Well it's true that this one does look amazing, Bob, but, as you infer, that's very different from it being an amazing film. As far as the content goes only the monkey episode caused me any surprise and, indeed, disquiet. But I have to say that seeing the film on a TV screen the visual impact will necessarily be lessened - but that also holds true for all cinema-made films. I think that what they've done with this can only be truly appreciated on a really big screen.

  2. First of all, I heartily applaud you for sitting through this film with an auditorium filled with children. It's no secret that I hate kids and try to avoid them like the plague.

    I've heard so much about this movie (all positive reviews) so I'm glad to have your input. I have no doubt that the visual effects are spectacular - and undoubtedly even more so in 3-D. And I love four-legged furry creatures as much as you do. However, I've never really been able to appreciate talking animals - even if they're created by Disney.

    I hope you and the assorted Kitty Kids are doing fine. The warm spring-like weather in Tennessee has suddenly disappeared and today it's rainy and very chilly.

    1. It was certainly a trial, Jon, but it helped to have been expecting it. I only went at all at that time because it was a special screening at reduced prices. At least it's now been seen.

      Yes, I haven't seen any negative reviews about this film, though as I say above my usual aversion to animal films was helped by them speaking - as well as the knowledge that every one of them was CGI-produced.

      We are all as fine as can be hoped here, all four of us - and we're now starting our first period of true early Summer weather. Could hit 70 degrees in places at the weekend, which will be a mercy after all the dismal wet days we've had. Hope that Tennessee will shortly be following suit, or at least hold the promise of an improvement, which ought to lift the spirits.

      Sorry I haven't been commenting on your own blogs recently. It's the old story of knowing that you produce posts of real substance so I tend to put it off until I've got time, by when it's been overtaken by yet another of your posts. But, though I've promised before, I really will try to return to yours soonish.
      Cheers - for now (and later).

  3. I wished that the narrative had followed kiplings original a little more.. But i loved it ( except the songs)

  4. I think your wish is a common one for all adapted books-to-film, J.G., but of course the film-makers are following what is most likely to be pleasing to the audience. Nothing new there. As for the two songs, for me they were the highlights and is what I'll most remember (especially 'The Bear Necessities') when looking back on this film.