The Jungle Book refreshed on the big screen

Friday April 15, 2016 Written by Published in Entertainment
Neel Sethi as Mowgli in a scene with Baloo (voiced by Bill Murray) in the movie The Jungle Book which is now screening at the Empire Cinema. 16041510 Neel Sethi as Mowgli in a scene with Baloo (voiced by Bill Murray) in the movie The Jungle Book which is now screening at the Empire Cinema. 16041510

You are never too old for The Jungle Book.


That’s what I told my mate who was a bit hesitant when I first invited him to accompany me to the Cook Islands premiere of the movie at the Empire Cinema on Thursday.

Mr T later agreed to join me and I am pretty sure he enjoyed the one hour and 51-minute adventure as much as I did.

The animated version of this memorable tale is one of my favourites, after the miming Tom and Jerry episodes.

I always find something refreshing about this century-old tale whenever I watch The Jungle Book or read about Mowgli and his adventures.

There is this “feel good” thing about the story that always elevates my mood. It makes adventure sound so interesting and cool.

There are certain books and movies in my collection that I like to read and watch when I am feeling down. The Jungle Book is one of them.

For me, there couldn’t have been a better time than now to watch this adventure thriller on the big screen. I was in a dire need of a dose of The Jungle Book dosage and true to form, it worked its magic!

As many readers will already know, The Jungle Book is about an abandoned “man cub” Mowgli (Neel Sethi), who is raised by a family of wolves, after being brought to them as a baby by Black Panther Bagheera (voiced by Ben Kingsley).

Mother wolf Raksha (voiced by Lupita Nyong’o) doesn’t see Mowgli as being any different to her other cubs.

They are a happy wolf pack until jungle king, the fierce Bengal tiger Shere Khan (voiced by Idris Elba), senses the presence of Mowgli amidst the animals.

He promises to return for the boy once the Water Truce, a timeout called during a drought that enables all animals to gather at a water hole without fear of being eaten by larger, more predatory animals, is over.

Mowgli, in a bid to save his life and the lives of others in the pack, decides to leave the jungle for human civilisation.

Bagheera accompanies him but along the way, they encounter Shere Khan and in a fierce battle, Mowgli part ways with the panther.

What follows next is an epic journey of a man-cub in a dense jungle and his survival against the odds.

In an interview with television talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, the 10-year-old Sethi talked about how he got the role of Mowgli.

It was his dance teacher who thought he would be perfect and arranged an audition with director Jon Favreau who casted him as Mowgli.

For someone that young, Sethi sounded like a mature bloke in the interview. Sharp and smart.

But in the movie, he is the Mowgli that I imagined reading the book. Innocent, naïve and spirited.

His depiction of the character will make anyone fall in love with the little Mowgli – simply cuteness overloaded.

Considering that Sethi had to do most of the shooting alone with toys which were transformed into realistic-looking animals through the magic of computer-generated imagery technology, he does a marvelous job of keeping the action lively.

There is not a single scene that will make you feel that Sethi is the film’s only live action character.

The visual effect employed by director Favreau of Iron Man fame is out of this world.

Those lifelike animals and breathtaking scenery is probably the best thing about this movie, apart, of course, from the heart-melting story.

It gives The Jungle Book a real life look and a bit more authenticity, making the legendary tale quite believable.

The Jungle Book comes with some valuable life lessons and one of them is, home is not necessarily where you come from. It is where you want to make it.


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