A glorious surprise, Mowgli is the live-action “remake” that Disney can only aspire to create. It’s a family film that, for once, the whole family could watch and actually enjoy equally.
I hate to rain on any parades here, but I think we really should be way more excited about Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle when it comes to the live-action remake stakes.
Admittedly, it’s been so long since I saw any version of The Jungle Book that any recollection I could attempt to make would never stand up in court. However, I can confidently say that it didn’t go down the route of just rehashing the same story once again. Instead, what I was treated to here was more of an origin story-type take on the character of Mowgli. Pleasantly surprising and genuinely quite affecting is the best way I can sum it all up.
Straightaway it became very clear to me that there were a plethora of big names attached to this film. Benedict Cumberbatch, Andy Serkis (who also directed – bravo, sir), Naomi Harris, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale in his most chameleonic performance to date, plus a few more actors who I think we’ll see rise through the ranks over the coming years. There’s a bit of weight there in that list, am I right? I loved the vocal performances and truly felt like they matched the physical appearances. Serkis’ gravelly turn as Baloo is particularly notable I think you’ll find.
I’ve said it already I think, but I was a big fan of the origin story-style take that this film tried. For me, it was great not to just give an existing story a like-for-like facelift, which is a format that I’ve not been at all fond of. It was nice to see a bit of creativity on this front. However, what’s even greater is how suited this film appears to be to audiences of all ages. For the last few years, I’ve been sceptical when new children/family films have come out, partly because of the whole rehashing thing, but also because I feel they’ve failed to reach everyone, regardless of age. They obviously appeal to kids, and there’s usually a few things to keep the parents sane, but if you’re outside of those demographics, you’re left out in the cold a bit. Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle had a number of themes running through it that made it darker and a bit harder-hitting. As a result, I got on with it like a house on fire. In particular, what it had to say about identity and finding yourself resonated massively, and this was what carried the film so strongly.
If I had to complain about anything, it would be that there were parts where the animations didn’t quite marry up with the live-action sequences. For the most part, it was pretty seamless, however, there was the odd shot where the special effects stuck out like a sore thumb. It took me out of the film a little, but in reality, it’s more of a niggly little thing that I can overlook for how much I enjoyed the rest of the film.
A glorious surprise, Mowgli is the live-action “remake” that Disney can only aspire to create. It’s a family film that, for once, the whole family could watch and actually enjoy equally. It had an air about it that was similar Kubo And The Two Strings that I just loved, and the fact that it wasn’t afraid to go a little darker on us was much appreciated. Now, if only you could guarantee me that all these remakes, revivals and reboots could be as enjoyable as this one, you might actually convince me that they’re worth making after all.