The Jungle Book live-action film is now in theaters! While in LA at the beginning of the week for the #CaptainAmericaEvent, I got the chance to screen The Jungle Book in the breathtakingly beautiful El Capitan Theater. I’m partial to the original animated version of The Jungle Book that was released in 1967, and was the last film that Walt Disney oversaw. I honestly didn’t think I would like this new version, but my opinion changed the second I put on those 3D glasses and entered the jungle.
(Thank you to Disney/Marvel/ABC for covering all the expenses for the event.)
I seriously can’t believe how much I enjoyed The Jungle Book! Like, didn’t want the movie to end enjoyed it. There was not a boring scene to be found in over 100 minutes of film. What there was were everything we know and love from the animated version, with a kick of stunning visual graphics and adrenaline pumping action scenes.
— Lisa Collins (@amomontheside) April 12, 2016
Yes, Mowgli and Baloo sang The Bare Necessities, and Kaa tried to use his hypnotic prowess to make Mowgli his, and Shere Kan is still the main villain. All those epic moments from then are still there now. What I love is how much I felt a part of it all in 3D. If you can see it in 3D I highly recommend it for an experience like no other. Not to mention a stellar voice cast that includes:
- Bill Murray as Baloo
- Ben Kingsley as Bagheer
- Christopher Walken as King Louie
- Scarlett Johansson as Kaa
- Idris Alba as Shere Kan
- Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha – you may remember my Interview with Lupita for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This is a female powerhouse that we are going to be seeing a lot of!
The big question has been if The Jungle Book is good for kids? My answer is that each child is different and it will depend on your child and what types of films they watch. This film is has an intense tone, but there is nothing gory, and the memorably amazing moments far out weigh them. I didn’t cry, but I know SAHMReviews did at one point so you may want some tissues on hand, and there were two scenes that made me and Lovebugs and Postcards jump in our seat – and then we chuckled at ourselves for jumping. 😀
Here are a few The Jungle Book Fun Facts to get you more excited about the movie:
- At full stretch, Baloo can reach nearly 15 feet high, and took nearly five hours
per frame to render.
- Mother wolf Raksha is aptly named. In Hindi, Raksha means protector.
- Artists at WETA took some creative license when it came to King Louie, borrowing a legendary character—Gigantopithecus—and exaggerating his size. King Louie stands 12 feet tall.
- Mowgli sports a red loincloth in the film, but costume designer Laura Jean Shannon had her work cut out for her. “Mowgli’s immersed in water and mud, he gets rained on, he runs,” says Shannon. “We even rigged a hidden safety harness into the costume because Mowgli hangs on tree limbs and cliffs. Each of the loincloths—we ended up with 16 or 17—had a very specific purpose.”
- The team at Moving Picture Company (MPC) were responsible for animating more than 70 species, crafting 100 million leaves and simulating earth, fire and water. A team of more than 800 computer graphics artists spent more than a year on the project.
- Artists digitally built most of the jungle environment that appears in the film, creating moss, bark, rock, water, grass, trees, leaves that were all inspired by their real-life counterparts in India.
- Mowgli deals with a lot of honey in “The Jungle Book.” The sweet stuff proved challenging for filmmakers, who wanted it to look authentic—yet still appealing. Color and viscosity had to be considered, as well as how to make the honeycomb it comes in.
- The iconic song “The Bare Necessities,” written by Terry Gilkyson, was nominated for an Academy Award® in 1968.
- Composer John Debney, who wrote the score for the new, live-action film “The Jungle Book,” is the son of Louis Debney, who worked for Walt Disney. “When I was a youngster, they were making this incredible magical film called ‘The Jungle Book,’ and I was sort of a studio brat,” says Debney. “I got to know the young
man Bruce Reitherman who played Mowgli. We would go on adventures around the world with his family.”
- According to actor Ben Kinglsey, author Rudyard Kipling’s characters are part of being young in the U.K. “Before a boy in the U.K. joins the Boy Scouts, he joins the Cubs,” says Kingsley. “And our Cub Chief was always called Akela. In fact, all the Scouts’ names come from Kipling’s writings.”
I’m looking forward to sharing this new version of The Jungle Book with my oldest two children. I’ll let the twins watch when it releases on home video because The Jungle Book is definitely one to add to the movie collection when that comes out!
“I think films have to offer an emotional experience for the audience,” says the director. “The spectacle won’t mean anything if they’re not engaged emotionally with the characters. Every story needs humanity, emotion and character development, as well as humor—presented in a way that doesn’t betray the stakes of the film. There are white-knuckle moments in the movie when you wonder, ‘What’s going to happen to this kid?’” – Jon Favreau
Head to the theater for The Jungle Book, then come back and let me know what you thought!