I received an all expense paid trip from Disney to attend the #JungleBookEvent. The opinions expressed here are my own. I received no monetary compensation.
Imagine yourself running through the jungle right next to a panther. Imagine yourself floating down a river on Baloo’s belly. OMG! Wait until you see this movie! All the trailers, all the stories, all the advance information, did not prepare me for what it would be like to sit in the theatre and
watch be immersed in this film. For an entire new generation to be introduced to this story – a story of belonging and a story of belonging to family – even if you don’t have a family – is really special.
I have been waiting for this movie for what seems like an eternity! The 1967 cartoon musical version was one of my favorites. Although I knew this version would be very different, I was in no way prepared for exactly how different it would be. The 2016 “The Jungle Book” is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi, and the only human in the film) a man-cub raised in the jungle by a family of wolves, who embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery when he’s forced to abandon the only home he’s ever known. The film is a mix of live-action and high technology animation. However, watching it you forget it’s technology. Each animal is real. Each tree is real. Each aspect is real.
The first minute or two of the film, it seems odd to be sitting there watching animals talk but because the animals are so real, within minutes it is natural and you believe the animals can speak. Watching the film in 3D at the premiere was an intense experience. I had just seen the film the day before but that in no way prepared me for seeing it in 3D. The CG technology that created the animals and the environment is so over the top perfect, so up to the minute technically, using real animal facial movements when the animals are talking , that as a viewer you are in the jungle, you are running beside Mowgli, and at one point (thanks to 3D glasses) Shere Khan seems to leap right off the screen into your lap.
Although throughout the entire film you feel like you are actually in the jungle, the film was completely shot in a studio in downtown Los Angeles. Mowgli is the only live-action character and 99% of the ground he stood on and the environment around him, was created digitally. The tone of the film shares a mix between the original animated version and a modern action film and the two merge together seamlessly. During the film you laugh, you sit up straight in your seat, you may even shed a tear or two.
When Director Jon Favreau found his Mowgli in Neel Sethi, his creative mind and vision must have been doing cartwheels. Casting this boy in the role is a testament to Jon Favreau’s vision and his ability as a film maker. How he saw this young boy, who had never acted professionally before, as Mowgli is remarkable. The voice casting is genius. As each of the animals speak, you can actually see the actor who has offered their voice in the face of the animal. Baloo’s eyes are Bill Murray’s eyes – King Louis’ mannerisms are Christopher Walken’s mannerisms.
This new and re-imagined Jungle Book is one of the best re-makes of a classic I have ever seen. Do not go to see The Jungle Book expecting to see anything like the 1967 animated version. Although the story is the same, it is, at the same time, completely different. There are times that it feels as if the animals are jumping right off the screen into your lap (be aware if you have a young child that startles easy) but then there are times that the animals will make you laugh out loud. Although I have already seen it twice, I am heading out again tonight with my family to see it again.
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So much thought went into this film. Jon Favreau included an animal that most will not know anything about. While most people have never heard of them, apparently Jon Favreau is one of those people who think pangolins are cool! Unfortunately, the animals are traded for their meat which is considered a delicacy in a number of Asian countries, as well as their scales which are ground up and used in traditional Asian medicine.
Some will come out of the film wondering what the little creature was or mistake it for a type of anteater. The pangolin is a critically endangered species and the most illegally traded mammal in the world. Pangolins, often called “scaly anteaters,” are covered in tough, overlapping scales. These burrowing mammals eat ants and termites using an extraordinarily long, sticky tongue, and are able to quickly roll themselves up into a tight ball when threatened. Eight different pangolin species can be found across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Poaching for illegal wildlife trade and habitat loss have made these incredible creatures one of the most endangered groups of mammals in the world. These solitary mammals are nocturnal and highly secretive, thus it is difficult for scientists to study them in the wild, and many mysteries remain about their behavior and habits. Our group was fortunate to be able to chat with Jeffrey Flocken, the North American Regional Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Jeffrey leads the organization’s team of legislative professionals in the United States and Canada advocating for global, national, and local policy initiatives on behalf of wildlife conservation and animal welfare. One of the organization’s greatest supporters is the Disney Companies that help fund animal rescue work around the world.