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Peter T Chattaway

The Jungle Book (2016)

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I thought it was great over all.  I just loved how the film handled the beasts (with one small exception) and especially Shere Khan.  What a chilling character he was at times.  I liked how he had the combination of a sinister humanity with some of the behaviour and attributes of the cat kingdom adding to his personality.  I wonder if he is one of the finest CGI beasts Hollywood has produced.

At first I thought the bear was a combination of channeling John Candy and Donald Trump.  Of course he lost some of his Trumpiness as the film went on, but not his John Candy flavour.  He had a touch of John Candy's animated character in the Secret of NIMH.  I was thinking that these aspects to the character were intentional, although of course the character probably would have been mostly in place by the time Trump became so central on the political scene.  But mind you there were only a couple of really Trumpy shots when we first met the character, so maybe those were added this fall.   Who knows.

But really.  This film brought me to a lot of places.  It was chilling, majestic, beautiful, thrilling.  Some of the drama was maybe a little lacking, it wasn't as sad or affecting in places as it was attempting to be (but maybe making it sadder would have made it a little silly, that one scene with the bear was kind of borderline silly), but it was still a grand tale, and a great adventure.

 

Spoilers.

The exception to the characters was the way it handled King Louie's song.  It kind of came from nowhere in a way that felt clunked in there, as if they wanted to add it because it was in the earlier cartoon, and his movement during the song was strange and unwieldy, as he was just kind of sitting there.  It didn't fit.

Also, maybe this is because it was such a famous scene from the earlier Disney cartoon, but I could have handled an interaction between Shere Khan and Kaa.  Considering the way this film handled these characters an interaction between them could have been pretty impressive.

 

 

Edited by Attica

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Justin Hanvey wrote:
: Wow not often we agree Peter, but yeah, well said

Thanks. :)

Attica wrote:
: He had a touch of John Candy's animated character in the Secret of NIMH.  

John Candy wasn't in The Secret of NIMH. Maybe you're thinking of Dom DeLuise? (Candy did play a similarly quasi-klutzy bird in The Rescuers Down Under -- but not in the original Rescuers.)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Who is the intended audience for this film? It's quite dark and intense, with very little in the way of sweetness or whimsy. Lots and lots of chasing and attempting to kill a little boy, which I realize is the original premise, but this is superhero-level action in the chase sequences. Even Murray's Baloo felt tired to me (Murray as of late just seems tired in general--what once made him charming and hilarious for me now feels cynical and a bit sad in his most recent roles). And I'm surprised, for all the attempts at lush world-building here, of the geography issues in the final act: it takes Mowgli at least a few days to reach the man village, but over the course of an evening can *run* back to the watering hole? Maybe I just need some more coffee. Or hibernation.

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On April 18, 2016 at 7:54 PM, Peter T Chattaway said:

John Candy wasn't in The Secret of NIMH. Maybe you're thinking of Dom DeLuise?

Gee, your right.  That performance was very John Candyish though.   

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On April 19, 2016 at 7:07 PM, Joel Mayward said:

in the final act: it takes Mowgli at least a few days to reach the man village, but over the course of an evening can *run* back to the watering hole? 

Yeah.  That didn't make any sense.

 

I do think that the intended audience was parents with their children.  On our way home my wife and I did talk about how some of the scenes with the tiger and the snake were certainly too intense and scary for the littlest ones.  I would think that the 10 to 14 or 15 range would think that this film was a heck of an adventure.

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Labor Day weekend with the nephews (2 1/2 and 3 1/2) and this on Amazon, so of course it went on. The boys weren't totally enthralled, but when they were watching they seemed pretty into it. For myself, I loved it. I grew up with the original animated version and the Jason Scott Lee movie--which is dark as heck--and, on the whole, I think my nephews are far, far luckier in some respects to have this one. The young actor is engaging, and the voice talent (my misgivings about Kaa in the trailer not withstanding) is very good. Christopher Walken as King Louie was everything I hoped he would be--I've been eager to hear him sing "I Wanna Be Like You" since he was cast, and the performance here had me rolling. 

From what I hear, Pete's Dragon is even better--and, based on this movie (I never thought I'd say this!), I'm eager to check out that film as well.

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I found Pete's Dragon more touching and personal, but the new Jungle Book is a sweeping adventure with some pretty impressive animated characters.

Edited by Attica

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