22 April 2016

The Jungle Book 2016 -

This shouldn't work, and in many places it doesn't, but when it does it's absolutely wonderful. Opening on a traditional "hand drawn" animated Disney castle which segues into a computer generated jungle with a nod to Bambi reassures you that this is a director who
knows and loves Disney. Unfortunately the problems start straight away, the opening action sequence is too fast to work effectively in 3D and many scenes are too dark even in Imax 3D.

In the slower paced, brightly lit scenes the 3D looks fantastic and I'm starting to not instantly dismiss 3D as a format (although maybe only Imax). The next problem is perhaps the biggest, there is a disconnect between the voices and creatures; both are impressive but there's something uncanny about how they work together. I managed to adjust and got used to it and certainly by the time Baloo turns up it was no longer an issue. Or maybe it was just because Bill Murray is just so fantastic as Baloo.

Once the bear and man cub team up I was completely on board and loved what follows. During development I wondered if the songs would be included, the trailer hinted they would be and the musical references throughout tease the classic songs. It's probably no secret (or spoiler) that some of the songs do feature and the fact they work so well is one of things I loved so much about the film. To make songs work in a non-musical photorealistic animation (because this isn't really live action) is an amazing achievement. Versions of the songs also feature over the end credits which feature another wonderful piece of animation, I wanted to force the people leaving back into their seats to stay and watch.

There may not be much to the story (I remember being disappointed with the animated version when I watched it recently) but this is so much more than the technical showcase I was initially expecting. Great performances, numerous nods to Disney, oodles of charm and great music.

April 22, 2016 at 12:47PM

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