Following on from the success of 2015’s Cinderella, Disney takes another of its classic animated films and reinvents it as a live action movie. With actor-turned-director Jon Favreau (Iron Man) at the helm, it’s a roaring success, capturing the fun, excitement and adventure of the original while adding a little bit of darkness to keep both adults and kids on the edge of their seats.
Orphaned in the jungle as a toddler, young Mowgli (the adorable Sethi) has been raised by a pack of wolves led by Akela (Esposito) and Raksha (Nyong’o), under the watchful eye of panther Bagheera (Kingsley). However, when they are threatened by sinister tiger Shere Khan (Elba), Mowgli has to leave them and head out into the jungle on his own to find the village where men live, the only place he may be safe.
10-year-old Sethi is the only human we can see in this spectacular-looking adventure, sharing the screen with realistic CGI animals and stunning jungle scenery. Audiences will really feel immersed in the tropical surroundings, and Sethi’s warm, expressive performance (especially tricky when you realise the boy was acting against thin air) draws you into his adventures as he meets jungle inhabitants nice (Murray’s Baloo the bear) and not so nice (Walken’s King Louie and Johansson’s snake Ka).
There are scary parts (younger viewers won’t be too keen on scarred Shere Khan or gigantic Louie), exciting scenes and laughs, too, and Favreau has also successfully interwoven memorable moments from the Disney animated classic – yes, we do get to hear Baloo sing ‘The Bare Necessities’ and Louie do ‘I Wanna Be Like You’ (make sure you stay for the enjoyable end credits for ‘Trust In Me’) – to make this a truly gripping, joyful and unmissable adventure for the whole family that just might be even better than the original.
Is The Jungle Book (2016) suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Tiger Shere Khan has a scarred face and is threatening throughout the movie.
Younger children (under 8) may also be frightened by King Louie, especially when he first emerges from the shadows, and also when he is chasing Mowgli.
Monkeys and apes also attack Mowgli, Bagheera and Baloo which may upset younger viewers.
Shere Khan and Bagheera fight, and Bagheera is injured which may upset younger children.
Some animals and a human are killed but their deaths are not shown on screen.
Ka squeezes Mowgli and he is hypnotised by her, which may frighten young children.
Due to the scary moments above, the movie may not be suitable for children who are very sensitive.