With such a large and vast library of beloved films, it was only a matter of time before Disney started remaking a few of them for newer audiences. Luckily, Disney has been very successful when it comes to making live-action adaptions of their classic animated movies.
While some of them have fallen slightly short of their animated counterparts- Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Maleficent come to mind- all of Disney's attempts at remaking their animated films into live-action have been financially successful.
With the amount of money they are making off of these movies, it makes sense for Disney to continue with this plan for as long as possible. Which is why we're getting a ton of Disney live-action remakes in the coming years, including Pete's Dragon, Beauty and the Beast, and Genies—a live-action prequel to Disney's Aladdin. While I obviously can't speak to the quality of those films until they come out, I can honestly say that, as of now, The Jungle Book is Disney's BEST live-action adaption ever!
Based on the 1894 book of the same name, and a remake of the 1967 movie (also of the same name), The Jungle Book is Disney's most recent live-action adaption. It tells the story of the young mancub (child) Mowgli, who, after being orphaned as a child, is raised by wolves in the Indian Jungle.
Mowgli makes a lot of friends in the jungle, including the wise and elegant black panther, Bagheera (Ben Kingsley), and the easygoing and humorous Baloo (Bill Murray). Unfortunately, not every animal likes having a man in the jungle, as Mowgli quickly learns when his life is threatened by the fearsome tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba).
It's a classic tale that's been retold in several different ways over the years, and yet, we never get tired of it. That's evident when you see the positive reaction to this film's release. Of course, this movie is great for more than just telling a classic and beloved tale. That's why in this article, I'm going to talk about the reasons why I think The Jungle Book is Disney's best live-action remake (so far)!
The New But Familiar Plot
[WARNING! AT THIS POINT I WILL BE GETTING INTO SERIOUS SPOILER TALK FOR THE 2016 VERSION OF THE JUNGLE BOOK! THE 1967 VERSION AS WELL, BUT IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THAT YET, YOU SHOULD REALLY GET ON IT!]
As I said earlier, The Jungle Book is a story we've all heard before. Whether you read the book, or you saw the many, many movie/TV adaptions, you're most likely aware of some version of Mowgli's story— The most famous version being the 1967 animated film.
The Jungle Book (2016) is a remake and live-action version of The Jungle Book (1967), so you would expect the plot to be more or less the same. And it is, at least when it comes down to...the bare necessities (thank my editor for that awesome pun!).
When it comes to remakes, live-action or not, there are a few things that they will always get criticized for. One is being too similar to the original, to the point of being a carbon copy. Cinderella (2015) was well-received, and considered by many to be on the good side of Disney live-action remakes; yet it was still criticized by many for being pretty much the exact same movie as the original. Admittedly, it did shake things up a bit- and really, what much can you do to change the story of Cinderella?
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Maleficent (a live-action remake of the classic Sleeping Beauty) was criticized by some for not only being too unlike the original, but replacing the original story with one that was more or less lackluster in comparison.
The Jungle Book manages to evade both criticisms by being somewhere in the middle. The plot of the film is incredibly familiar, and if you've seen the original, then you probably know how it goes. At the same time, the movie offers enough twists and turns to avoid being just a carbon copy. Fans of the original will be pleased to see the story told again, but will also see a few details they haven't seen before!
The Film Is Strikingly Beautiful!
If you've seen the trailers, you know what I'm talking about. The Jungle Book is one of the most visually striking movies I've ever seen! Disney has always been good at making pretty looking movies, but what they've done with The Jungle Book is a whole other level!
What makes this so surprising is that the movie was made almost entirely with CGI. Since the invention of CGI, there have been debates over whether or not it was better than practical effects.
While I can't completely answer that (not without a completely separate article), I will say that in the case of The Jungle Book, CGI definitely works best! Everything about the film is visually appealing; from the animals:
To the fights between the animals:
To the lush look of the Indian Jungle:
Considering the movie was filmed entirely in Los Angeles, it's so surprising how incredible this movie looks. Trust me, this is one movie you HAVE to see in 3D!
The Jungle Book is a stupendous film. A great cast, beautiful visuals, and a great story, it's not perfect, no movie is, but it definitely satisfies! Go out and see The Jungle Book today!