Small Screen Reviews
What’s It About?
The familiar tale of an orphaned boy, brought up by wolves in the jungle, who takes on the mighty tiger Shere Khan, yet this version is a little darker than previous incarnations.
Who’s In It?
Christian Bale (The Dark Knight, American Hustle, & more recently Hostiles)
Cate Blanchett (The Lord Of The Rings, Blue Jasmine, & more recently The House With A Clock In Its Walls)
Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game, Doctor Strange, & more recently The Grinch)
Other notables include:
Peter Mullan (Tyrannosaur, Gunpowder, & more recently Hostiles)
Naomi Harris (Spectre, Moonlight, & more recently Rampage)
Director: Andy Serkis (Breathe)
Jon Favreau directed the huge success that was Disney’s CGI/live action remake of The Jungle Book. Packed full of incredible actors, with wonderful CGI and all those fabulous tunes, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise, and with its tremendous success, Favreau is busy making a CGI/live action remake of another Disney classic, The Lion King.
And therein lies the problem. Andy Serkis’ retelling of the Jungle Book, entitled Mowgli, may be a little darker with an absence of foot-tapping songs, but it is essentially the same story.
Mowgli is orphaned in the jungle after his parents are brutally murdered by the cruel tiger Shere Khan. Brought up by wolves, with a panther named Bagheera and a beer called Baloo as essentially guardians, Mowgli becomes a child of the jungle. Yet at no point is he ever really accepted as a member of anything. Yes he’s raised by wolves, but he isn’t a wolf, yet nor is he a proper human.
Before long, his existence becomes known to Khan, who is thirsting for blood, and despite the protection of the wolf pack, his very existence becomes a permanent sore threatening the lupine way of life. And so Mowgli is sent back to the village to join mankind, only to dramatically return and take on the king of the jungle.
So in essence it is very much the well-worn tale, with a few subtle differences. Yes there are no family friendly songs, but the biggest change is the tone. Serkis’ film is very violent and foreboding. All the animals have scars of some sort, rather than the kindly faces of the cartoons. The other addition is the role of a hunter, presumably to show mankind’s cruel and heartless impact on nature, who, much to the shock and horror of my daughter, at one point murders one of Mowgli’s friends and stuffs him – an unexpected scene certain to cause many a child to well up.
That said the film is nicely shot, with a ridiculously good cast including the likes of Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Andy Serkis himself, Benedict Cumberbatch, and many more besides, but coming so soon after Disney’s revamp, it is a victim of timing more than anything else.
In A Nutshell:
A dark visceral retelling of the classic, but so soon after Disney’s CGI epic, this sadly adds little more.
The look of the film
Too much of the same
A little too dark in places for a family film
Release date: 07/12/2018
Certificate: 12 / 12A