For those who are not familiar with the well-known tale, a baby boy is found in the jungle by a pack of Wolves. As the Wolves meet together, they decide to raise the boy as one of their own within the jungle. Along with the Wolves, the boy is also trained and raised by a black panther named Bagheera (Voiced and Acted by Christian Bale) and a large grizzly bear named Baloo (Voiced and Acted by Andy Serkis).
As the boy grows older, he soon discovers the jungle’s most menacing villain. A large Tiger known as Shere Khan (Voiced and Acted by Benedict Cumberbatch), roams the jungle and continually attacks the animals within the kingdom.
I have seen many versions of The Jungle Book, including both the Disney animated film in 1967 and the more recent live-action version which was featured in cinemas more recently in 2016.
This time we have Andy Serkis (best known for his work in Lord of the Rings) sitting in the director’s chair as well as suiting up in front of the green screen to play Baloo in the film. As a director, Andy Serkis brings a much darker version of the story. In fact, at times it feels like the film aimed at kids and then suddenly becomes rather dull. This version is a Jungle Book that I would advise parents to be mindful of.
Considering this is a film which has gone directly to Netflix rather than cinemas the film is visually excellent. The visuals of every creature is stunning to watch. I was impressed at how the animation of some of the critical animals also managed to show some of the actors facial characteristics.
As a story, this is a messy world for me. The story is basic and straightforward for any age to understand, but the film’s pacing as to how the story is told is very surprising and ultimately hurts this film. Because of the pacing, some scenes don’t feel like they match while others are pointless and forgettable. Without going into any spoilers, this is all I can say. Nevertheless, I would suggest to people who want to watch this film that it is merely another director’s version of the tale and one thing for sure; it’s a darker one.
Credit where credit is due, The actor who plays Mowgli (Rohan Chand) has gone above and beyond as a young actor. Any disappointments surrounding the character come from the film’s direction and pace.
Overall, Mowgli is a much darker version of The Jungle Book tale than what many people would have grown up with. The film manages to bring stunning visuals and style for a Netflix film. Its biggest let down is that the film’s pacing and overall dark style can make the movie feel slightly messy and in the end makes this film ultimately forgettable. The film also aims for the childlike moments but then becomes rather dark, which surprised me. It’s almost as if the film was unsure as to what it wants to be and wasn’t sure who would be watching it.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden