The Jungle Book live-action movie came out last week and it has blown away audiences with its stunning visuals and nostalgia. As with the animated movie that made its debut in 1951, The Jungle Book live adaptation is about a boy named Mowgli who lives in the jungle, but is threatened by a tiger named Shere Khan who wants him out.
I’m not going to go into full detail, but the live-action movie very much sticks to the source material of the animated movie, yet has key differences showing that its not just a straight up remake.
*Beware: Spoilers ahead*
Right as the live-action movie opens, the audience is introduced to a familiar tune like the song heard in the animated version. Its shows that the live-action movie wasn’t going to veer off from the animated movie too much. The timeline is very parallel to each other ranging from Mowgli sitting on Baloo as they float down the river to meeting with King Louie who wants Mowgli to teach him to make fire aka “Red Flower” in the live-action movie.
One major element that was included in the live-action movie was the music. Listening to songs brings a lot of nostalgia to those who saw the animated movie as a kid. Even King Louie’s new version of “I wanna be like you” was sung perfectly (not to say it was just because Christopher Walken was singing it). Director Jon Favreau really did a great job making sure the film lived up to its predecessor.
Although both versions of The Jungle Book are very similar, the live-action has a few different scenes that give the movie its own personality. In the live-action movie, Mowgli doesn’t end up living in the man village. Instead, he stays with his wolf pack family along with Bagheera and Baloo.
Giving it this kind of ending allowed the movie to come full circle. Another difference is that the animated movie never really showed Akela, let alone showing him get kill off. We saw him in the animated movie, but he didn’t have any lines nor did we learn anything about him. This brings us to the “Law of the Jungle”. Seeing as the animated movie was made for children, introducing a code of ethics that lays down the law in which all animals under certain circumstances will restrain from attack and or eating each other, seemed a bit over their heads. However, it worked out perfectly in the live-action movie.
What really stood out to me as I watched the film were the easter eggs placed in the film. Many of them could be wishful thinking, but being the pop culture nerd that I am, these next examples are what came to mind as I watched them unfold. The scene where Baloo said, “Winter is coming” definitely had to reference Game of Thrones. Another example is where Shere Khan thinks he has Mowgli cornered as they stand on top of a branch with fire blazing right under them.
This scene as I saw it reminded me of the scene in Lord of the Rings Return of the King where Gollum falls into the lava of Mount Doom in Mordor. Of course, the one easter egg that had to be placed on purpose was the cowbell in the scene where Mowgli first meets King Louie. This scene was taken from an SNL skit where Walken portrayed a music manager who kept saying that they need more cowbell.
Jon Favreau’s version of The Jungle Book in my opinion is the best out of the live-action remakes that Disney has created in the past few years. It had great visuals, the story was nearly identical to the original yet didn’t bore me, and the background music weaved nicely into the movie, working very well with each scene.
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