Movie Reviews

The Jungle Book Review: Fun, Scary, and Visually Beautiful

the jungle bookWhen my family went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we were excited to see previews of movies tailored to families like mine. We knew there would be super hero movie trailers and other random ones, but one trailer blew us away. It was the trailer for the new live action version of the Jungle Book, directed by John Favreau.

I recently saw the Jungle Book on Imax with my kids and we really enjoyed the movie. While it wasn’t one of our all-time favorites, it was visually amazing, especially since we saw it in Imax 3D. We felt like we were right there in the jungle with Mowgli and the rest of the animals. My favorite scene was when Ka, seductively voiced by Scarlet Johansson, enters the screen slithering and tempting Mowgli. Ka might be the coolest visual that I have ever seen on a 3D screen.

The rest of the animals are voiced by some Hollywood favorites: Bill Murray, Christopher Walken, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong’o, and Giancarlo Esposito. Murray plays the loveable Baloo perfectly and matches Kingsley’s by-the-book Bagheera. Elba provides a frightening Sheer Khan and Walken’s portrayal of King Louie is fun and intimidating.

Another aspect of the movie that is overlooked in the older Disney version of the Jungle Book, and even in Rudyard Kipling’s book, is the relationship between Mowgli and his wolf mother Raksha. Nyong’o’s soft and brave version of Mowgli’s mother stayed with me long after the film, as I imagined what it must feel like to release your child into an unknown and dangerous world.

The movie had something for all of my kids, which is great since they range from pre-schooler to pre-teen. The 11 and 9-year-olds enjoyed the more mature aspects of the story-line, like Mowgli making his way through a dangerous jungle. My 4-year-old enjoyed the goofier moments, like the animals singing and Baloo’s many humorous antics. However, some moments of the film were pretty frightening for the youngest; Sheer Khan has several terrifying scenes and animals do die in the film. (At least one scene was even quite shocking for me.) Ka was both scary and alluring to my 4-year-old, which means Favreau did his job.

Like I said, we all enjoyed the film. I had no problem taking my 4-year-old and I might even let him see it again in the theater. (I liked it that much on Imax.) I did notice a few kids having a difficult time with the movie though. If you have a child that frightens easily, then you might want to wait a little while to see the movie. And, my 11-year-old, who was not looking forward to seeing the movie because he thought it might be too young for him, even wants to watch it again.

If you are going to see the movie in the theater, I can’t state enough about how cool this movie is on Imax 3D. If you can swing the extra cost, go ahead and pay extra. Ka alone will make you glad you did.

Thank you Fandango and NYC Dad’s Group for taking my family on an adventure through the Jungle.

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