THE LEGEND WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.
When a scarred tiger threatens to kill a boy, Mowgli (Neel Sethi), who’s been raised by wolves in the Indian jungles, Mowgli escapes and eventually befriends a bear. An unexpectedly successful new take by Disney on one of their most charming animated films, borrowing the light, humor and songs from that 1967 movie and combining it with the darkness of Rudyard Kipling’s original stories. Very artfully balanced, set in jaw-droppingly realistic CGI environs (the whole movie was shot in L.A.), featuring engaging animal characters adapted to fit the stars playing them. Bill Murray and Idris Elba are great; Christopher Walken a standout as King Louie.
2016-U.S. 106 min. Color. Produced by Jon Favreau, Brigham Taylor. Directed by Jon Favreau. Screenplay: Justin Marks. Stories: Rudyard Kipling. Cast: Neel Sethi (Mowgli). Voices of Bill Murray (Baloo), Ben Kingsley (Bagheera), Idris Elba (Shere Khan), Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito… Christopher Walken, Garry Shandling, Jon Favreau, Sam Raimi.
Oscar: Best Visual Effects. BAFTA: Best Special Visual Effects.
Last word: “What Branagh did, and what was done with ‘Maleficent’, gave the studio and myself confidence that there is a curiosity, an underlying curiosity, for re-tellings of these stories using new technology. Disney was comfortable enough to say, ‘Hey, let’s really go for it,’ in the style of ‘Life of Pi’ and ‘Avatar’, and go photo-real and see what technology has to offer. To have those tools available for something other than a superhero movie was a big treat for me.” (Favreau, Slash Film)