December 18, 2017
Against my standing rule of taking in a movie on opening weekend. I braved the crowds with my fifteen year old in tow to see the Jungle Book.
AfterTheLevels helped break the news of the new live action jungle book here. From the moment I learned of this movie I was ready and geared up with excitement.
Every dollar of the 103.6 million* it grossed opening weekend, was well earned. The movie was everything and more I imagined it would be.
The CGI was impressive. All the way down to the eye contact of actor Neel Sethi with the CGI animals. Someone did their homework on animals. If I didn’t know CGI I would have fully believed these animals were real. The creators made the animals talk without needing to completely separate you from reality like we do with talking animals in movies (i.e. Dr. Doolittle). One particular animal was so expertly designed I won’t spoil it for you – as this character doesn’t appear in the trailer. Hint: He’s been sitting a while.
We did not see it in 3D. No interest in the 3D movie technology.
One minor misstep was the scaling of the CGI animals to Mowgli at times. In one scene Mowgli appeared to be half the size of Baloo’s paw, then the following scene he’s half as tall as Baloo. Kaa’s size was left a complete mystery, we never saw the entire snake. In addition, peace rock was not in the original story and the ending was slightly different than the book as well (I won’t spoil it).
What was a surprise was the theater my teen and I went to. The entire ride to the theater I was reviving up to have a bad experience. I chose to attend a Sunday mid-day showing, hoping that the families would be readying themselves for the upcoming school week. Nope, that wasn’t the case, but we did arrive to the theater 40 minutes early. Just in case we had to wait in a line outside of the theater (which I wouldn’t have done. If you’ve ever listened to FatGuyRadioShow, that just not something I’d do).
As we approached the ticket window of the central Phoenix theater, the lines were thick. However, they were moving. I began counting the number of little children standing in line, emerging from the stickered window SUV’s. I looked to my boy and asked, “Would you be embarrassed if we left because of some snot nosed kid ruining the movie?” His reply, “nope”. At the ticket window I asked the attendant how the sales were for the 1:20 showing, he said half sold out.
We made our way in, grabbed some corn and soda, sat second row riser mid right in a theater that sat 238 people and kids where everywhere. When the movie started, immediately following the theater managers personal address of conduct to the audience, a still fell over the theater and a smile filled my face. Not one kid acted out, cried, or talked during the movie. It was an angelic experience. I was able to enjoy the movie.
Final rating 8.5 out of 10. It’s not a 10 because it’s a remake, a few CGI misteps, and an alternative ending. But Jon Favreau brought this book to life like never before.