More than the Bear Necessities in “The Jungle Book”

Star Studded voice overs and CGI wizardry

“The Jungle Book” is a new movie based on an old book that many people know from a 1967 Disney animated film. The new movie is filled with adventure, drama, and a sense of belonging and friendship. It features many well-known stars performing the voices behind the many computer generated (CGI) characters.

Directed by Jon Favreau (“Ironman,” “Elf” and “Rudy”), “The Jungle Book” stars Bill Murray as Baloo the bear. Sir Ben Kingsley (“Ghandi,” “Sexy Beast”) as Bagheera the black panther, Lupita Nyong (“12 Years a Slave”) as Raksha the mother wolf, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa the evil snake, Giancarlo Esposito (“Breaking Bad”) as Akela the wolf, and Christopher Walken as King Louie, a Bornean orangatan. Mowgli, the boy, is played by Neel Sethi (the only non-CGI character) was raised in the Indian jungle by wolves. He is threatened by Shere Khan, a tiger that hates humans; so he flees. Along the way, he learns many things while meeting creatures, some that have his best interest in mind and some that don’t.

The newly released film portrays the jungle as a dark place with special effects and scenery that are very realistic.”

— Caitlin McDermott

He meets Kaa while running away from Shere Khan, and she tries to convince him to stay with her, until Bagheera shows up to save him. Johansson as Kaa speaks slowly to hypnotize Mowgli. Her dangerous voice is calm and mesmerizing.

Later, Mowgli meets King Louie (Walken). He was a great fit for the part because his voice is so recognizable.  You could picture Walken in the recording booth, recording each scene.

Elba, as Shere Khan, has a British accent and talks down to young Mowgli, which was perfect for the tiger.  Shere Khan has a scar on his face from a burn he received from a man. He hates humans, so he hates Mowgli and anyone who would help him.

As Mowgli flees the jungle he meets Baloo the bear and some other creatures you might recognize form the 1967 animated film. But, this movie is much more intense than that version. Rudyard Kipling wrote the children’s book in 1864. The newly released film portrays the jungle as a dark place with special effects and scenery that are very realistic. It really looks like it was filmed in the middle of a jungle.  Neel Sethi as Mowgli does a great job of interacting with the many CGI characters and helping to make you care what happens to him. Murray does a nice job with “Bear Necessities,” one of the more recognizable holdovers from the ’67 version.

Overall, this was a great recreation of “The Jungle Book” that portrays the main characters very well. Being able to experience the incredible special effects and the dark twists are well worth the price of admission.