So, check this out. Six years ago, Disney had another smart idea to remake the 1967 film and the 1994 film The Jungle Book. That’s right. There have been three standalone Jungle Book films. Anyway, in 2016 Jon Favreau helmed the quasi-live-action film that followed a young man-cub named Mowgli (Neel Sethi) found by the Black Panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) and raised by wolves becomes a target of the devious and arrogant tiger Shere-Khan (Idris Elba).
The villainous tiger warns the jungle-dwellers that man is forbidden and attempts to kill the defenseless child. The man-cub is able to elude the frightening cat and comes across a friendly bear named Baloo (Bill Murray).
The remake follows the same beats and rhythm as the 1967 version. I don’t remember much about the 1994 movie, so please don’t ask me about that. The 2016 remake adds a few details about Mowgli’s backstory and Khan’s death. However, the changes aren’t necessarily what make it great. It’s the fact that when I watched the film, it felt like I was watching a brand new film that was written and directed from scratch.
The remake never felt like a direct copy-cat of the previous films and decided to take its own creative license, while paying homage to its roots. It’s a film that is able to stand on its own two feet and do something différent with its execution.
It has a certain uniqueness that many other remakes, even outside of Disney, don’t possess. The film is what happens when you take chances, while still shifting a few characters and doing-away with the silliness of previous Disney incarnations.
The question comes into play for any movie released: Can this film stand the test of time? In the case of 2016’s The Jungle Book, yes it can. The visuals are as amazing as if they shot Sethi out with a bunch of animals and the story is a valiant testament to heroism, strength, friendship, and courage and that isn’t to say that the other incarnations didn’t have that, but 2016 was the year of The Jungle Book.