This past Saturday evening I had the pleasure to attend a screening of the new live-action “The Jungle Book” from Walt Disney Studios. The screening was at the historic El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, a very ornate theatre owned by Disney that is positioned right across the street from Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the Hollywood Walk of Fame lining the sidewalk outside, it was truly an incredible Hollywood experience. I would love to share with our readers my review of Disney’s newest film–and don’t worry, it’s spoiler-free!
As it’s clear to see from just the trailers and posters alone, the visuals are incredible. The CGI jungle looks incredibly real, you would think the film crew were constantly on location in an Indian jungle. All of the animal characters were amazingly photo-realistic. When I first heard that the animals mouths would be moving, I was skeptical of how that would end up looking in the finished movie. The crew pulled this off beautifully, and even though the animals are talking they seem so natural in the film. I truly felt immersed in the story, with my mind never breaking away from the story’s version of reality. One could easily get lost in the story and the visuals and forget that you are watching a film due to the level of photo realism (talking animals and all!).
Something else I was blown away by was the film’s score, composed by John Debney. The score seamlessly wove together the moments of warmth and love with moments that were adventurous and thrilling. And something I particularly loved, which I think all of you Disney fans out there will appreciate, were pieces of songs from the 1967 animated film interwoven into pieces of the score. I could go on more about the music and sound, which you can check out more here, where I document “The Jungle Book” press conference.
And of course, the acting was brilliant. How could it not be with such an incredibly talented cast? When casting announcements were first being made, I was a bit confused. Christopher Walken as King Louie, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa; both wonderful actors but seemed like very unexpected casting choices. Director Jon Favreau’s casting instincts ended up being spot on. Him thinking outside the box really paid off, with each character being introduced on screen seeming exactly how you would hope to see these beloved characters portrayed, yet they still seemed exciting and fresh. Bill Murray seemed to be a match made in heaven to portray Baloo, and Sir Ben Kingsley also fit perfectly into the role of Bagheera. Neel Sethi, who plays Mowgli, did a stellar job in the role, despite this being his first major feature film. Truly, all of the actors were outstanding, and their voices seemed like a natural fit for each of their characters. All the actors put in an incredible amount of thought into the characters they portrayed, which they went into detail about at “The Jungle Book” press conference that I wrote about here.
The film was exciting, fast-paced, adventurous, and thrilling. At times I was gripping my seat in anticipation of what might happen next. The film is rated PG, and is one you can definitely see as a family, however for younger children around 7 or younger it might be scary at times. Most of it I don’t think would be scary for young children, but something to perhaps be aware of or talk to your children to warn them about ahead of time.
The movie exceeded my expectations, and had a perfect blend of nostalgia as well as new and unexpected material. I believe it’s a film that will really speak to Disney fans everywhere, and is a wonderful addition to the Disney live-action fairy tale movie line-up.
The film will be released in theaters April 15th, and tickets can be purchased here. I can’t wait to see what you all thought of this incredible movie!