Disney’s The Jungle Book review
Today I finally got out to my house and made my way to see the new adaptation of The Jungle Book. I had an idea of what I was going to see based on the trailers, a lot of CG animals thrown into an okay movie. After seeing the complete film, I am sad to see that my first impression was right on the money. There are critics all over the web praising this movie and there are big box office numbers to back up what all those critics are echoing, but I don’t get it. The movie wasn’t bad, if you wanted to see it you probably will have a good time, but I wouldn’t recommend anyone go out of their way to sit through a showing.
Aside from the story realistically going almost nowhere (which I deem as acceptable as the original film adaptation does not progress very far either), The Jungle Book has some seriously jarring flaws:
Nearly everything in this movie looks great. The jungle, the animals, the interactions between the only real character (Neel Sethi) and the rest of the environment all look like they should, but Shere Khan for some reason always looks unfinished. It may be the postures that the character is given or the fact that Disney needs him to look like the bad guy, but when everything around him looks phenomenal (even other big cats), for some reason he always looks like a first rendering.
This is a kids movie so there is obviously going to be comedy aimed at kids. Their parents are going to be bringing the children to see the movie, so most children’s movies these days include subtle adult humor as well. THERE IS NO REASON TO PUT LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR ADULT HUMOR IN A KIDS MOVIE! Disney usually hits the mark when making this balance really shine, but in The Jungle Book there are terrible jokes that not only seem out of place, but make the writing seem just plain hacky. For instance, at one point a porcupine accidentally pokes a character with his quill then after apologizing says “I could pee on it.” WTF Disney? Really?
Pacing, What’s That?:
The Jungle Book also suffers from very strange pacing. As I said earlier, the story doesn’t really go anywhere which is excusable as this is an adaptation from source material, but this feels more like a series of vignettes, strung together by 1 character, not a cohesive story. Also, there are 2 musical numbers in the movie, 1 (King Louis’ song) is WAY more jarring than the other. Thinking back on it even more, that song is painful to watch and comes at a horrible time. The King has just threatened Mowgli just seconds earlier and now is singing a happy, upbeat song to him. C’mon Disney, you can do better than this!
Come at me Internet:
I know that I am going to catch serious flack for this one because somehow the internet has dubbed Bill Murray the second coming, but he is TERRIBLE as Baloo. Bill delivers all of his lines with the same tone, inflection, and intensity that has become the norm in his movies, even when his character is literally doing the hardest thing he’s ever done. At a time which could have been used for heartbreak we are instead given a bored Bill Murray saying “That’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” If you’re going to act in a movie, at least TRY to act, Bill!
As I said before, the movie is okay, nothing to get hyped about. If you were planning on seeing it, go ahead and see it. If you were unsure about it (as I was) you should skip it and never look back.