The Jungle Book review
June 6, 2016
Filed under Entertainment
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Saddle up high schoolers, with a movie as wild as the “Jungle Book” you’ll be in for one heck of a ride. To put it simply, this is NOT the vanilla, happy go lucky animation version of Rudyard Kipling’s famed escapist novel that Disney created way back in 1967.
The timeless, colorfully fake animation from times of yore have been replaced by a cold, hard, realistic form of screenplay commonly referred to as CGI, or Computer Generated Image. And boy does it excite. This new movie, directed by Jon Favreau, brings a darker and more mature tone that is far more adult than the previous movie and far closer to resembling the tone of the original escapist novel, written in 1894.
When people hear the acronym CGI, they shiver and think of Transformers. And the second Transformers. And the third Transformers. They ask themselves why they’re thinking of such a horrid, plotless nightmare of a movie series. They think of Michael Bay, essentially the antichrist of visual and motion pictures, infamous in theatrics for his silly, explosive movies.
This unfortunate example is a result of what happens when producers get shiny new toys and don’t know what to do with them; they go overboard and sacrifice the plot to make room for the booms and pows and explosions. Jungle Book smacks that idea in the face.
Entirely CGI, the opening action scene of the boy, bar Mowgli (played by Neel Sethi), sprinting about the jungle with his wolf family and his black panther friend had an immensely powerful crescendo and set the pace of the movie. With Mowgli in focus as he bounds across tree trunks and mossy rocks, total immersion into the film is achieved.
I saw “Jungle Book” in both standard and XTREME 3D, and even in standard definition the effect is very convincing. In standard definition, the contrasting jungle colors peek out of the screen and fill your eyes with pinks and purples, while grey rocky scenes and golden prairie fields provide a welcome relief from the nova of the jungle.
My only complaint is that there was no consistent color palette. The scenes that contrasted well had no fluidity between one another, which could be reasoned to be an overstep by a visual editor, or perhaps Favreau was a bit too headstrong in his desire to create the perfect CGI setting.
Regardless of who is to blame, this seemingly small issue comes rearing forward in XTREME 3D. A sad problem that is standard in the film industry is that 3D effects are not spread evenly through the movie or even in the climax of the action, but rather front loaded in the beginning. Just like my previous XTREME 3D experience, Tom Cruise’s “Edge of Tomorrow,” I was blasted with 5 minutes of incredible 3D imagery, only to be let down by the lack of 3D the rest of the movie.
The quality of a film does not stop at the visual effects, however. I can firmly state that Favreau is a sadist who enjoys making children pee their pants, which is exactly what makes his take on a Kipling classic work. This movie scared ME.
“It looked so real, and it scared me a lot. But it was super super good! You should see it, but it’s scary,” third grader Genny Good said. However, some kids found the terrifying jungle animals to be a bit too much.
“I liked the original because it’s not that scary, this one was way too scary,” third grader Guillermo Martinez-Hernandez said.
Perhaps the most unbelievable feature of this film came to me at the ending, where I realized there was only one actual human being to be seen in the entire movie. And he was a 12 year old boy.