Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Forget About Your Worries And Your Strife

Yet another attempt at The Jungle Book.

Minor Spoilers Ahead

So, let's get this out of the way. There is absolutely no reason this movie should have been made. While I've been generally enjoying them, I'm extremely wary of Disney's insistence on live-action remakes of their animated classics.

Okay, aside from that, how does the film fare?

Well, I find it very well-made and enjoyable. The tone of the film is much closer to the original Kipling story while retaining much of the plot and characterization of the Disney Animated Canon. The cast is fantastic all around, including the supremely odd choice of Scarlett Johansson as Kaa - the only complaint I have with that is that she's not in it enough. I also found it an interesting choice to change King Louie into a Gigantopithicus - and to hire the surviving Sherman brother to write new lyrics incorporating it.

"What, lyrics?!"

No, it's not a musical, but some of the classic songs were used. And that was kind of a mixed bag for me. The Bare Necessities was an obvious choice to have a short refrain or two during the film as it's in Baloo's character. Likewise, it made sense to have Trust In Me exist as a leitmotif during the film with the sung version appearing during the credits (where I swear it feels like a Bond song).

However, the utilization of I Wanna Be Like You made no sense in the context of the film. Christopher Walken plays Louie more like a mafioso than Louie Prima's "King of the Swingers", and while Walken singing the classic song should certainly have stayed in the credits because it's as fantastically weird as it sounds, it's jarring and out of character when he suddenly breaks into song in the film proper (maybe keeping his saying "Now don't try to kid me, mancub..." as a shout-out would have still worked).

So, despite the misuse of that one song and the fact that the movie probably didn't need to me made in the first place, it's still a well-done film that's worth a look if you're a fan of Disney's previous version.

Shut your eyes, and trussst in me......

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