Review: The Jungle Book


The Jungle Book movie poster.

Elena Valdovinos

“The Jungle Book”, directed by Jon Favreau, was released on April 4th, 2016, and became an instant hit among children and adults alike. It was pronounced the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2016, racking up an impressive 966 million dollars worldwide. This technology-enhanced remake follows the story of a young man-cub, Mowgli (Neel Sethi), as he navigates the curiosities of the jungle. After receiving a death threat from fearsome tiger Shere Khan, Mowgli is forced to question who he really is and where he belongs as he leaves the wolf pack that raised him to embark on an incredible journey to the man village. It’s a modern rendition of the Disney classic, which was released in 1967.

“The Jungle Book” offers a cunning new perspective as to what we should expect from movies in the future. With stunning visuals and realistic animals both unmistakably impressive, my eyes were kept glued to the screen. The innovation of the crew earned the film multiple awards for the visual effects, which included, among other things, CGI (computer-generated imagery) and motion capture. It set the tone for Disney remakes that came after it, like Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, whose visual effects mimicked those of “The Jungle Book”.

The overall message of courage and self-acceptance shows older audience members that Disney is taking their movies in a new direction. Many young children might question who they are supposed to be, feeling similar to Mowgli when he is scolded for using contraptions in the jungle. This is a detail that contrasts the story of the original 1967 film, and one that definitely adds to the overarching themes of courage. Mowgli has to learn, over the course of the film, that he can embrace who he is and use his talents for good. And while some might expect the remake to copy the original movie’s happy, upbeat feel, I can assure you that the 2016 film dishes out its fair share of action and adventure. 

As the movie continued, I was quick to miss the soundtrack that was running in the background. Although composed mainly of new songs, it features three of the classics that were borrowed from “The Jungle Book” (1967), including “The Bare Necessities”, “I Wanna Be Like You” and “Trust in Me”. In this movie, since King Louie is no longer an orangutan and instead a gigantopithecus, which is a type of large, extinct ape, some of the song lyrics were adjusted to better fit the character. Overall, the soundtrack enhances the story and helps the reader understand the tone of each scene.

If you were a die-hard Disney fan when you were little, and you specifically remember bobbing your head to “The Bare Necessities” three days after it was engraved into your brain by Baloo the bear, I can guarantee that this movie will give your heart a familiar warmth. It’s an academy-award winner that should be on everyones’ watchlist if they have not yet seen it and sends an inspiring message to all viewers that highlights the importance of courage and the strength of a family.