|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Original title:||The Jungle Book|
|Genre:||Adventure, Children's film|
|Production country:||USA 2016|
|Running time:||Approx. 106 min.|
|Rated:||From 6 years|
There is hardly anyone who does not know the Disney animated classic The Jungle Book. The film is simply timeless and has been delighting audiences young and old time and time again for almost fifty years. So it seems completely unnecessary to remake this immortal classic - and then as a (partially) live-action film. Nevertheless, Disney has decided to stage a new version of The Jungle Book, for which Iron Man director Jon Favreau could be won over. The gist of the story remains the same: little human boy Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is raised by wolves in the jungle. When the evil tiger Shir Khan (voiced by Ben Becker) demands Mogli's death, his foster parents Raksha (Heike Makatsch) and Akela (Justus von Dohnányi), along with the panther Baghira (Joachim Król), decide it is time to take Mowgli to the humans, where he would be safe from Shir Khan. But Mowgli does not want to leave the jungle. When he meets and befriends the lovable bear Baloo (Armin Rohde) on his journey, his mind is made up: he's staying with the bear! But the jungle is full of dangers for a little human child like Mowgli, which the boy soon learns firsthand.
The Jungle Book pulls off a bit of a feat: on the one hand, the film sticks closely to the animated original and also pays tribute to it time and again. On the other hand, Jon Favreau has taken the familiar material and created something entirely his own that has every right to exist alongside the beloved classic. Screenwriter Justin Marks (Suicide Squad) has added some new aspects to the story, while others (such as Mogli's encounter with the Vultures) have been cut. Of the familiar songs, Favreau only took two directly, with a third appearing in the credits. But John Debny's superb score also repeatedly quotes the original score and other songs, creating a pleasant sense of familiarity in a new setting for the viewer.
The most obvious difference - aside from the visuals, of course - between the two versions is the basic tone. While the animated version is primarily lighthearted and can certainly be shown to children ages 5 and up with plenty of humor and singing, The Jungle Book is decidedly more somber and terrifying. Not only Shir Khan, but also King Louie and snake Kaa might give some little jungle fans nightmares. Even for older viewers, Mogli's escape from the rambunctious King Louie gives you goosebumps, especially in the 3D version. And when Shir Kahn makes it clear in a particularly drastic way what the consequences will be if Mowgli is not handed over to him, some children's tears are likely to flow - out of fear or grief.
However, there is also plenty of humour and lighter moments that provide a very good counterbalance to the dark moments. For example, when Mowgli helps Baloo harvest honeycombs and the two enjoy the cosy side of life with a very familiar song on their lips, it just makes for good humour. But the really big laughs that can be found in the animated version (Balu's undercover appearance with King Louie, for example) are not to be found in this version. But there are big emotions, suspense and of course a lot of visual spectacle. Because what Favreau's version definitely excels at are the effects. They are breathtaking to say the least. The animal actors are animated so lifelike that it takes a little getting used to at first that they can speak. But that quickly changes, as what Jon Favreau and his team have created makes it nearly impossible as a viewer not to become immersed in this magical world.
While the landscapes are just as fascinating as the fur, facial expressions and movements of the animals. Even though most of it was done on the computer, it's pulsating with life and it's hard to get enough of it. But there's one thing Favreau hasn't forgotten: his film isn't just a technically brilliant CGI spectacle, it also has plenty of soul and heart. Sure, it lacks some of the incomparable charm of the original. And yes, strictly speaking, The Jungle Book is a recycled product. But how something so familiar and beloved has been made into something new and its own here, while paying such loving homage to the original in the process, is simply magnificent. And for this there is a clear: Absolutely worth seeing!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp