In a surprisingly mature context, the mavens at Disney have recast The Jungle Book both as a live action yarn (with copious amounts of computer generated imagery) and a very adult film for a young audience. There is the usual lack of blood in the Disneyverse but there are deaths a plenty and while this may lead to more than a few parent – children discussions, it’s to the betterment of the film’s entertainment value.
The film also includes some great laughs along with the heavy hits of pathos as you the audience discover the identity of the voice actors. Of particular note are the very funny antics of Bill Murray as Baloo and the Guido humour of Christopher Walken as King Louie. Idris Elba is also especially majestic as the king of the jungle, Shere Khan
The film travels down the well know path of the animated original but adds enough new depth to give it a relevance of its own. It does however feature a very dark colour palate and as such keeps you really glues to the screen trying to capture all the nuances. Some of child actor Neel Sethi’s (Mowgli) dialogue also requires full attention.
If this is Disney having expanded trust in a young audience and their ability to understand more adult concepts, it’s a great step forward. It also makes the film that much more enjoyable to the older audience members.