Out of 4
Reviewed by Patrick Gibbs
Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita N'yongo
and Christopher Walken
Screenplay by Justin Marks
Directed by Jon Favreau
Disney's new trend of live action nods to animated classics got off to a very rough start with the dreadful Maleficent, which was not without some interesting ideas (most of which didn't work) but it fell flat on its face in no small part due to a director, Robert Stromberg, who, to be fair to him, was an Academy Award Winning production designer, but clearly was not ready to direct a feature film on that scale. Sure, it looked beautiful, but it had the clunkiest pacing I've seen in a movie in quite some time, and the actors all seemed as if they were in a free for all, either directing themselves to over the top performances or just giving up entirely. Thankfully, Disney fared much better the second time around with Kenneth Branagh's utterly delightful version of Cinderella, one of last year's most welcome surprises, largely because the veteran director left his signature all over it.
It may be completely coincidental that Disney's followed the Thor director's take on an animated classic with one from Iron Man's Jon Favreau, but then again, maybe not. Either way, the guys who really got the Marvel movies off onto the right footing have done it again with this new venture, and Favreau quickly reminds us that if he's trusted to be himself, he's one of the best blockbuster directors currently working (somebody get this man a Star Wars movie.).
|Neel Sethi as Mowgli, with Bill Murray's Baloo the Bear.|
|Mowgi and Bagheera the Panther (voice of Ben Kingsley)|
|Kaa the Snake (voiced by Scarlett Johanansson).|
But the rest of the family should be completely enthralled.
The Jungle Book opens in theaters across the U.S. and U.K. on April 15.
|Idris Elba is the voice of Shere Kahn the Tiger.|
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