We are all aware of the characters named Shere Khan, Baloo, Bagheera and Mowgli. It’s like a blast from the past, a moment of rekindling our childhood. Netflix took it in their hands to bring back the beloved chapter of a man-cub in the jungle, Mowgli, to our screens in 2018.
This is the live action version of an iconic fable. Directed by Andy Serkis, this extravagant film stars Rohan Chand as Mowgli, Benedict Cumberbatch as Shere Khan, Christian Bale as Bagheera, Andy Serkis as Baloo, Cate Blanchett as Kaa and many more. The storyline is similar to the one written originally by Rudyard Kipling.
The story follows a human, Mowgli whose mother gets killed and eaten by Shere Khan in the jungles of India, with the kid being left alone. Mowgli is found by a pack of wolves who vow to raise him as one of their own. This angers Sheree Khan but he lets the child grow up, before he can take matters to his hands.
As he learns the often harsh rules of the jungle, under the mentorship of a bear named Baloo and a black panther named Bagheera, Mowgli becomes accepted by the animals of the jungle as one of their own, except for one; the fearsome tiger Shere Khan.
But there are greater dangers lurking in the jungle, as Mowgli comes face to face with his human origins.
He has a fight to pick up with Shere Khan as well as his own kind, no where will it be safe for the boy to turn to anymore. Which pack of living creatures will save him?
The plot gives you no surprises if you’ve grown up with this story. The only difference with this film is how realistic the animals look and how beautiful the jungle is, to leave you awestruck.
Some aspects that are commendable would be:
- Cinematography: Michael Seresin makes a great project out of this. His approach to showing the depths of the jungle and the realism of the animals along with a human child is lovely to watch. Every frame looks like a painting that could be hung up on your wall. Other than that, the fear or the homeliness that he instills into the audience through various shots is something to definitely look forward to.
- Performances: Voice acting is the main key for this film, it has talking animals! Benedict Cumberbatch in specific, has this modulation over sounding like the scariest tiger who manages to take the show away. Other than him, Andy Serkis, the director himself does a great job.
- Music: Fables cannot be made without a touch of music in the background. This magnificent work by Nitin Sawhney takes you on a journey with indie desi sounds as you travel across the jungle through a screen and into the life of a human pretending to be a wolf. It is solely responsible for all the goosebumps that you might get.
Overall, the film is a great attempt at rebirthing Mowgli’s tales over the time but not such a great attempt at smooth storytelling.
The animations mixed with the transitions will put you off course if you’re expecting something on the level of Avatar or Life of Pi but the shots in general are better than any you’d ever see.
Personally, I’d recommend this as a one time watch if you ever want to revisit your childhood in the 21st century because it is bound to make you feel like a 5 year old again.
The sparrow speaks from the jungle and it has given the film 2.5 chirps for it’s lovely artwork and nostalgic approach.