Thursday, June 2, 2016

This is Not Your Father's Jungle Book

If your father was around for the Walt Disney 1967 cartoon called "The Jungle Book."   Yes, this reboot was done again by Disney Studios.   And it even included some of those bouncy tunes like, for instance, "The Bare Necessities."  
But if you're thinking this would be a gleeful memory jag for your kid and your grand kid, um, you might want to think twice.  Because the 2016 rendition of "The Jungle Book" is far more sophisticated and downright frightening than its cartoon counterpart.    And light years different than the original starring Sabu back around World War II.

That's not to say that the new "Jungle Book" isn't a compelling piece of entertainment.  I enjoyed it thoroughly.   But there are some very violent and shit-in-the-pants moments that are not suited for children.   At least, not my kids if I had any.  I understand they're a lot more resilient than previous generations.   But, if I jumped out of my seat in horror, I wonder how a six-year-old would react.

Okay, "The Jungle Book" is a legendary tale of a young boy raised by animals in the wilds of Africa.  Back in the 40s, there were a lot of human roles in the film. In the 1967 cartoon, there were lots of voices done by human actors.   In 2016, it's a bunch of CGI animals who all talk with voices done by the likes of Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Christopher Walken, Scarlett Johansson, and Garry Shandling in an overlooked farewell performance.   

Indeed, in this version, all the animals remind me of "Mr. Ed" episodes where the mouth is moving and nothing else.  The dialogue is a lot more serious for most of them except for Bill Murray's Baloo, who is there for comic relief.   But even he doesn't escape getting chewed on a bit by the villainous tiger who tortures all the other characters.    There are a lot of moments where one animal is attacked by another.   Yes, I suppose that really happens in the jungle. It just didn't happen in 1967 when the animals sounded like Phil Harris, Louis Prima, and Sebastian Cabot.

There's a lot of Disney money on the screen and the results are impressive, even if the CGI monkeys looks like...well...CGI monkeys.  And, since the story is relayed pretty much intact, the tale is fascination is Rudyard Kipling.  I just wish some of the nastier moments were left to our imagination.

You should go see "The Jungle Book."   But you might want to think about the kiddies.   Let them watch the Blu Ray of the cartoon.

LEN'S RATING:  Three stars.

Dinner last night:  Long travel day so nothing really.

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