So, Wednesday, we checked out Netflix’s Mowgli, a reimagining of the ’67 Disney classic, but NOT a remake of the ’16 live-action version also done by Disney. Apparently, the two were filmed about the same time, and the Disney version got seniority while this one got supposedly shelved. Obviously, not.
Now, the interesting thing about this iteration’s that Andy Serkis from Lord of the Rings Gollum fame directed while voicing Baloo, the bear. Admittedly, from the horse’s mouth, his version AIN’T your mamma’s Jungle Book…and, he ain’t lying. This version rachets up the live version.
All the key characters’re here and the plot’s intact with Mowgli (Rohan Chand) being taken in by the wolves as the man-cub while the tiger, Shere Khan (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch), wants to eat him. The themes of fam whether by blood or not’s still intact. The difference’s there’s blood.
The first thing I noticed about the CG’s, the animals looked aged instead of smooth CG, cartoon happy. Also, I thought the CG looked CG instead of seamlessly moving with the environment, which I thought odd considering who was running the show, and since Serkis’s been the go-to guy for motion capture characters for the last 17 years.
Now, maybe because the characters look older and worn, the more mechanical, slower movements might be intentional, so that might just be me used to smoother integration. Something else that stood out to me was all the animals knew each other and ran together, which’s different from all the other iterations of the story. Mowgli’s known all the key players since he was taken in with the exception of Kaa (voiced by Cate Blanchett), which kind of changes the dynamic of the film since some of those animals wouldn’t be hanging out together.
The last part of the second act into the third act has Mogli ostracized by the animal kingdom, and forced to try to assimilate with man, which he does pretty good. I liked this dynamic, which didn’t bring the film to a screeching halt as one might think.
I know I sound like I crapped on the film a lot, but it was really good despite my nitpicks…probably because of the darkness. It gave the story an adultness the other versions lacked while maintaining a PG-13 rating.
I know you’re tired of the remakes and reimaginings that Hollywood’s been churning out, I’m right there with you, but this one steps it up to where you know the story, but it’s got a little something to different to make watching it worthwhile.
Be good to each other.