Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (2018)

Directed by Andy Serkis

I grew up with parents who read to me every night and some of my all-time favourites were Kipling stories, including The Jungle Books. I still have an old copy of both volumes on my shelves at home. When I was little I remember being incredibly disappointed with the Disney cartoon (yes, I’m that old) because the jungle seemed so clean and safe compared to the grit and peril of Kipling’s original.

There’s been quite a bit of chatter about the standard of computer graphics in this film. I saw it on my home system via Netflix and didn’t find myself being drawn out of the story at any time to consider the scene – a sure way for me to know if I’m distracted by poor CG. Rather, I think Serkis makes good use of the technology available to him. There’s one scene where Mowgli is hiding under water, looking up at Shere Khan lapping from the pool. The shot-reverse shot is gorgeous, delivering tension and realistic water refraction at the same time. Having said that, I don’t know how well some of the set piece action sequences would look on a big screen. As much as I love the new age of delivery models, I regret not being able to go to the cinema to see this.

The voice cast are a wonderful ensemble, featuring some of the best talent currently available. Standouts for me were Peter Mullan, Cate Blanchett, Naomie Harris and Tom Hollander, with Christian Bale, Benedict Cumberbatch and Andy Serkis being their usual reliable selves. But Rohan Chand in the title role is really quite remarkable, with the appropriate mix of fear and determination in his portrayal. I recall he popped up briefly in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and I look forward to seeing more work from this talented young man.

Finally, Andy Serkis has offered a retelling that is much darker than any previous film version and far more adventurous in almost every respect, capturing the feel of the original work. There are comedic moments but overall, the tone is darker and more in keeping with Kipling’s text.

Well worth watching – but not for small children!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle | Debra Manskey

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