'The Jungle Book' (BD + DVD + Digital HD)
(Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, et al / Blu ray+DVD / PG / 2016 / Walt Disney Studios)
Overview: After a threat from the tiger Shere Khan forces him to flee the jungle, a man-cub named Mowgli embarks on a journey of self discovery with the help of panther, Bagheera, and free spirited bear, Baloo.
Blu ray Verdict: In truth, this 2016 redo of 'The Jungle Book' (directed by Jon Favreau, “Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2”) has been raved about by everyone I know, but now that I've finally seen it I don't quite understand what all the hype is about. Sorry. It's true that the CGI is nothing short of outstanding, especially considering a lot of it is done during the day instead of at night, and I'm impressed with how much they were able to accomplish, but a pretty movie and an exceptional movie are not at all the same thing; similarly, a better than average movie and an exceptional movie are not the same thing, and this movie is better than average.
The writing wasn't great, but it was passable. This is a kid's movie after all, and while I don't in any way think that's an excuse for a movie to have a worse script than any other, it's important to understand that the film still needs to keep the children entertained with silly jokes and easy-to-understand dialogue.
My main problem with the film was the child actor. I'm not expecting a 12-year-old kid to be able act like an A-Lister, but there was one particular shot were he screamed and I accidentally laughed in the near-silent theater because it seemed to out of place and awkward. He was also given outrageously simple and cliché lines. It was always "I'm doing this thing because of this other thing" and felt like the majority of his talking was done explaining to other characters that he had to reach is his goal instead of developing his character.
Again, not his fault, moreover the writers, I get that, honestly, but there were a few other scenes where he was able to act like a normal kid; and those were definitely his best performances. But, overall, he wasn't able to give it his all because what he was supplied with wouldn't allow him to, sadly.
The other characters were played well, and the animators did a good job with the choreography of all the fights. Bill Murray was a great choice for Baloo, and at this point I can't think of any other voice that could have given a bear that much character. The songs, however, felt out of place and forced, and that's all I'm going to say about those. Trust me though, I could go for Gold on most all of them, but this movie shouldn't remembered for the music - save for the composed music by the always-great John Debney - moreover the quite stunning-at-times CGI.
In closing, I do not dislike this movie in any sense, and I recommend that people go and see it. At it's heart it is a very good story, and one that I very much enjoy. I'm sure that the nostalgia of revisiting your childhood will help you enjoy it more than I did, because the only scene I'd ever seen from the 1967 movie was the one with the singing monkeys, so there wasn't a lot in the film to connect to my 'Jungle Book' past, persay. This is a Widescreen (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
The Jungle Book ReImagined - Discover how the filmmakers re-envisioned this classic tale I Am Mowgli - Follow the extraordinary journey of Neel Sethi, who joins some of the biggest names in movies to bring this story to life King Louie's Temple: Layer By Layer - Take a fast, engaging look at how the "I Wan'na Be Like You" sequence was created Audio Commentary - With Director Jon Favreau