The Jungle Book Review: All the bare necessities of a pretty great remake

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I wish I had the same best friends Mowgli has. © Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is a man-cub who was raised by Raksha (Lupita Nyong’O) and her pack of wolves. When Mowgli’s life is threatened by Shere Khan (Idris Elba), a tiger who had been scarred by a grown man’s fire torch, Mowgli takes it upon himself to leave the pack to ensure everyone’s safety. He embarks on a journey to return to his village with the help of a black panther, Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) and a free-spirited bear, Baloo (Bill Murray). But Mowgli’s journey gets abandoned when he returns to confront Shere Khan once and for all.

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“GRRR.” © Disney Enterprises, Inc.

The live action remake of The Jungle Book truly didn’t disappoint. I found myself at the edge of the seat several times whenever Mowgli had one of his ‘close-call’ moments. In a lot of ways, this version made a more believable world as compared to the cartoon version. Seeing the animals and greenery in its true form created a connection for me, which sucked me into Mowgli’s world fully. I found myself wincing whenever Shere Khan talks and even moving as far back into the chair, when he comes close to the screen.

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“Kid. Enough with the cuddles already!” © Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Needless to say, the talented actors who voiced the characters couldn’t be more perfect. I especially loved how Christopher Walken as King Louie reminded me of an Italian mob boss. The lines he delivered had that Italian-American accent which made me chuckle especially when he said, “Kid, I got ears. My ears got ears.” It was such a mob boss line. And of course, no one can sound more scary than Idris Elba. His voice was such a perfect match for the role of Shere Khan – which randomly led me to think if tigers sound like him if they can talk.

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Such a touching scene. © Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Ben Kingsley and Bill Murray were also perfect for the roles that they play as one embodied the proper and stiff character of the panther and another the free-spirited, funny character of the beloved bear. Lupita deserves special mention as well for her role as Raksha. Compared to her previous voice role as Maz Kanata in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this role brought out her motherly side – making me tear up when Mowgli said goodbye to her. Scarlett Johansson as Kaa was equally good too (especially with the faint, echo-y enhancement added to her voice) and, I loved how they didn’t forget to input the hypnosis her character does to Mowgli.

The Jungle Book was truly a successful live remake of a classic animated film and I simply can’t wait for more live remakes to come. So, here’s to waiting till Mulan hits the big screen!

Rating:

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Finding Dory Review: Worth the wait!

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Aww – what a beautiful family picture! © 2016 Disney/Pixar.

A year after joining Marlin (Albert Brooks) on his search for Nemo (Hayden Rolence), life has returned to normal under the sea until Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) begins to remember snippets of her childhood. As bits of her memories appear, Dory realizes that she had parents who had been separated from her. Enlisting Marlin and Nemo’s help, Dory goes on a quest to reunite with her long-lost parents.

Finally – the wait is over! This highly anticipated film that was 13 years in the making is finally on the big screens! Needless to say, it lives up to the expectations that I had for a Disney Pixar film. With a fairly simple storyline, it is easy for both kids and adults to follow.

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Tough guys turned into lazy sealions! © 2016 Disney/Pixar.

I especially loved the characters in this film. They were voiced by talented comedians and actors who delivered their lines with witty humor. The unlikely duo that had me cracking up the most was none other than the sea lions voiced by Idris Elba and Dominic West. Who would have thought two tough guys could voice two lazy and boisterous sea lions? It is definitely a different role from their usual dramatic performance and was quite frankly a pleasant surprise. Phil Dunphy Ty Burrell as Bailey the Beluga Whale was another character that deserves special mention for being annoying and funny at the same time. Oh, and not to forget, how cute is baby Dory!? I was literally making baby faces at the screen whenever baby Dory appeared!

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“Oh no, here come ’em hands!” © 2016 Disney/Pixar.

My favorite scene in the film would have to be the touch pool with the kids. It not only depicted a real life scene that I’ve seen before, in an aquarium, but the sea creatures’ reaction echoed what I had been thinking whenever I witnessed this. Often, we look at sea creatures like they are meant to be prodded and gawked at. But in actuality, they are pretty cool creatures that deserve to be appreciated.

Finding Dory is definitely a must-watch for the family so swim to your nearest theater to catch it if you haven’t!

Rating:

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