“The Jungle Book” is the latest in Disney’s live-action reimagining of classic stories, following “Alice in Wonderland”, “Maleficent”, “Oz” and “Cinderella” – which took in $67.9 million in its opening weekend previous year on its way to a $201.2 million domestic total and a $542.7 million global cume. I think Disney definitely hired the right man for the director’s chair and Jon Favreau has proved time and time again that he is a great director for big budget popcorn flicks. Instead, Mowgli’s friend the panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) tells Mowgli to flee to a nearby village. But they get split up on this quest, at which point Mowgli encounters numerous denizens of the jungle, including Kaa the snake (Scarlett Johansson), the giant ape King Louie (Christopher Walken) and the massive bear Baloo (Bill Murray). We’ve seen talking animals before, but this is next-level stuff.Ann Hornaday agrees the film includes “some genuinely terrifying fight sequences and a couple of potentially upsetting deaths”, yet “every inch of The Jungle Book pulses with life, grace, and authenticity”. Ahead of its release this week, The Jungle Book already holds an incredibly impressive stand with critics, with a 100% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 79% on Metacritic.
Now that I’ve summed up the movie without spoilers, here’s one: It’s a fantastic film.
Unfortunately, The Jungle Book isn’t available on Netflix, which totally sucks if that’s your online streaming go-to. Beats me too! Until this behind the scenes video was leaked. The movie was shot in a Los Angeles soundstage, with minimal sets on which young Sethi could frolic, and the CG wizards from Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital filled in the rest with brilliant lifelike detail and a grand scope. But the good news is there are a number of other options available if you want to watch it online: iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and YouTube all have The Jungle Book available for download, but only for purchase, not for rent (groan).