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Before "Tarzan," there was "The Jungle Book" - CinemaDave

May. 4th, 2016 10:57 pm Before "Tarzan," there was "The Jungle Book"

Two decades before Edgar Rice Burroughs created Tarzan, an orphan raised by apes, Rudyard Kipling created Mowgli, an orphan raised by wolves. While Tarzan headlined his own series of African adventures in 25 novels, Mowgli is the main human character from an ensemble of characters featured in Kipling’s The Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book, which is set in the mysterious jungles of India.

Released in 1967, Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book was the last animated film influenced by a dying Walt Disney. The film is best remembered for its bouncy tunes (“Bare Necessities”) and optimism, which Disney insisted upon. However, Kipling’s original tales contain stark lessons about jungle law, mortality and dark truths.

Director John Favreau manages to balance the scary and the humor in the newest incarnation of The Jungle Book. From the breathtaking opening scenes to the final closing credits, this 105-minute family film needs to be seen on the big screen.

Kipling’s original The Jungle Book is a series of short stories in which Mowgli’s rite of passage is the narrative core. From alpha wolf Akela (voiced in the movie by Giancarlo Espositio), we learn the Law of the Jungle. From Baloo the sloth bear (Bill Murray), we learn the importance of letting the bare necessities of life come to you. For Mowgli (Nell Sethi), each encounter prepares this feral boy for his showdown with Shere Kahn (Idris Elba), the lame tiger who killed Mowgli’s parents.

The character animation is superb and expertly matches the vocal talent. Baloo the bear shares DNA with Murray’s lackadaisical Ghostbusters character. Elba’s voice is suitable for the villainous menace of Shere Kahn. In a cameo role, Scarlett Johansson’s vocal intonations provide slippery seduction as Kaa the Snake.

During the 2017 awards season, expect The Jungle Book to achieve many awards for visualization.

Pay the extra couple of bucks and see this film in 3-D, and the bigger the screen the better. The Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science IMAX Theater will screen this film through Thursday, April 28.

Breathe deep, dear readers, the Summer Blockbuster Season has begun. Before Captain America Civil Wars, X-Men Apocalypse and Independence Day Resurgence start crowding each other, go see The Jungle Book on the big screen.

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