When Mowgli (Rohan Chand) survives an attack from Shere Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) as an infant, he is adopted by a pack of wolves. Under the protection of the pack Mowgli spends the first few years of his life living as the wolves do. When a threat from Shere Khan endangers his life, he must adapt and find his place in the jungle as not only a wolf but a man.
Director: Andy Serkis
Cast: Rohan Chand, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action violence including bloody images, and some thematic elements
Fun Fact: First directing credit for Andy Serkis but, Ron Howard was considered at one point for the project.
A few years ago Disney announced that they were taking their animated classics and making live action versions. One of those was The Jungle Book, which gained a strong reception from critics and movie goers. While that was going on, this project was also in the works which led to it’s delay in release for over a year. Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle received a limited theatrical release before picking up a Netflix deal.
While the film had gotten the straight to home release, it doesn’t feel that way as it’s a good looking film. The visuals have a nice blend of CGI and on location sets. The animals are well done and stand out in the locations. The best looking were the elephants as they looked realistic. The budget for the effects must have been high and with Andy Serkis taking on this project, you can tell it was in good hands. Another aspect is the script is well written as it is a close adaptation of The Jungle Book stories. This is the first time we don’t see Baloo as comic relief and Kaa is not a villain. The script also calls for a darker and more adult themed film which for an adaption of The Jungle Book, it’s something we haven’t seen before. You won’t find any singing in this one. Small technical aspects like that are what make the film enjoyable.
The cast carries the film in both voice acting and human characters. Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett stand out as Bagheera and Kaa respectively. Their voices fit the roles and makes them more human in a way. You want to keep hearing what they have to say in Mowgli’s journey. Benedict Cumberbatch is also fantastic as Shere Khan. Khan in this film is ruthless and a great danger to everything in the jungle. The way he speaks will bring a chill to your spine. Rohan Chand has a lot of work to do and he pulls it off masterfully. This version of the story is more adult per say and has a darker theme to it. Mowgli has a lot to learn and Chand does well with the character. He’s believable and you want to see him be happy in wherever his destiny leads him.
Overall Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle is an interesting take on The Jungle Book stories. It’s more darker and more adult. We get some fantastic performances out of the cast and Andy Serkis does a great job in his first directing job. He had a vision for this film and you can tell he was able to get what he wanted on screen. Kudos to Netflix for picking up the film for distribution because this film should be seen by all.