The new Jungle Book

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The new Jungle Book

Postby Ben » April 3rd, 2016, 6:49 pm

So we didn't have a thread for this!?

Reviews have begun to come in, and it's thankfully looking goooood! :)

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review ... iew-880131

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Re: The new Jungle Book

Postby Randall » April 3rd, 2016, 7:10 pm

So, has everyone forgotten that Disney did this film already, in 1994? I guess the new one adheres more closely to the animated version, but that 1994 flick was really pretty good, as I recall. I can't believe it's been out of print on DVD for so long.

Oh, right--- there was a 1998 sequel that Disney did, too!

Maybe we'll see those both come back to video once the new film's home video release has petered out.

Meanwhile, I can't say I'm too excited for the new film, though the trailer was decent.

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Re: The new Jungle Book

Postby Dan » April 3rd, 2016, 8:05 pm

I remember that Stephen Sommers' version (1994) was more Tarzan than Jungle Book. Though I still liked it. :lol:

I'm sure you guys know how psyched I've been with Jon Favreau's version since D23.

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Re: The new Jungle Book

Postby EricJ » April 3rd, 2016, 9:22 pm

Disney was big into teen-outcast "Nobody understands the outsider!" tropes back in the 90's, so didn't most of Sommers' version deal with some plot about Mowgli making it back to society, making a mess of things and embarrassing his new girlfriend?
Which really puts it more in Jungle Book 2 territory, although there's a lot of 90's live-action Disney I'm afraid to watch.

And just like this version, there's the same "Is it the book, or is it the live-action animated?", where they promote that they're "closer to the book", but everyone still goes around singing Bare Necessities.

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Re: The new Jungle Book

Postby Ben » April 4th, 2016, 4:37 am

I remember liking the Sommers '94 edition - which went with the very 90s tradition of including the author's name in the title, hence Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, to try and give some authenticity - even if it was a little po-faced.

That one, while ironically not adhering to the book exactly, was closer to the 1942 Sabu version, which is lovely to look at if you can find a decent print. This new one looks to be the latest in Disney's CG redos of its animated library, where a bit of source is combined with the cartoon to provide a "greatest hits" of what everyone remembers from both.

Personally, I've been all over this for a while now, although my anticipation is more one of hoping that it'll be fun and cool rather than expecting something as good as the '67 original. It can't pass that, but if it can match it in a new visually spectacular way then I'll be happy - and I for one am looking forward to seeing Bare Necessities and Wanna Be Like You utilised, since something that seems missing from the likes of Maleficent (though not so much) but especially last year's fairly redundant Cinderella was the use of classic songs.

They basically ripped the guts out of the originals in terms of look, characters and feel but didn't take their most recognisable and quotable elements. Cinderella, more than anything, should have had the Fairy Godmother sing in the movie (and not just in the credits) at the very least, so I'm pleased The Jungle Book's two biggest numbers are being reprised here..I just hope they're used well!

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Re: The new Jungle Book

Postby EricJ » April 4th, 2016, 2:33 pm

Ben wrote:That one, while ironically not adhering to the book exactly, was closer to the 1942 Sabu version, which is lovely to look at if you can find a decent print.


You can on Hulu streaming, where their Criterion collection contains the Eclipse Sabu set. :)
It's on my queue, but haven't gotten around to it yet.
(And as it's PD, it's the only place you CAN find a good color-corrected print.)

Personally, I've been all over this for a while now, although my anticipation is more one of hoping that it'll be fun and cool rather than expecting something as good as the '67 original. It can't pass that, but if it can match it in a new visually spectacular way then I'll be happy - and I for one am looking forward to seeing Bare Necessities and Wanna Be Like You utilised, since something that seems missing from the likes of Maleficent (though not so much) but especially last year's fairly redundant Cinderella was the use of classic songs. !


Again, that's the whole ambiguity of what they're doing--Which is one of the reasons Tarzan and Little Mermaid flopped on Broadway:
If it IS just the animated movie acted out, then what's the point, we've got it on disk...And if it ISN'T the animated movie, but with a whole new plot, eww, it's not what we remember. And if it's the serious version of the book (like the Mary Poppins musical pretends to be), then why do the Disney songs?...But if the FG isn't singing her song, who is she?

Basically, Disney should just get that slap on the side of the head that it's six years later and we just didn't like Tim Burton's Alice. Maybe the sequel will hit them hard enough and the traumas will set in.

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Re: The new Jungle Book

Postby Dacey » April 4th, 2016, 2:38 pm

Basically, Disney should just get that slap on the side of the head that it's six years later and we just didn't like Tim Burton's Alice.


And yet people keep buying tickets for these movies. Odd.
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Re: The new Jungle Book

Postby Ben » April 19th, 2016, 7:45 pm

Just back from the jungles of India.

Wow.

Okay, first thoughts and disappointments out the way: what the heck was with that weird opening Disney logo!? So strange to start such a photorealistic, essentially animated picture with such a cartoony logo. I wondered at first if this was an update and they'd used TJB to herald it, but the logo right at the end was still the usual one that we've had these past few years. I kind of liked it, even if it through me, but it was odd!

Second, this was screaming out to be a 2.35 frame! Slightly disappointed to find it was just 1.85 (or even 1.66 by the looks of our screen) although I see the reasoning, to mimic the original animated feature more and to fill those 16:9 displays when the film comes to home release. Still think it would have looked even more majestic in a 'Scope frame, though.

Other than that, I was wowed and amazed. Not everything looked absolutely 100% perfect, and a couple of the CG Mowgli shots stuck out quite obviously, but it was amazing that none of this was real around him. I thought the sound mix was terrible, though, or maybe that's just what Dolby Atmos is going to sound like in out theater, with buried dialogue and surrounds on hyperdrive. Seriously sometimes the music swamped the lines so as not to be able to hear them.

Speaking of music, I loved how John Debney used the original themes, and the orchestrations were near perfect. It wasn't slavish to them, though, even if sometimes I wished the music would clam up once in a while. The use of Trust In Me worked fine as background to Kaa, and I even didn't mind Scarlett as the snake: Kipling was never one for too many female characters and Sterling Holloway's take in the '67 movie was effeminate anyway. It was a good choice, if they felt they needed to have a featured female part, to make it Kaa, though I wish we'd had more of her than one scant scene (though she does get to sing in the credits).

I didn't think much of Idris Elba, who hammed up Shere Khan and was never imposing. And then he kind of sat around and didn't get involved very much, in a very Scar way from Lion King. Speaking of that film, there were several riffs from other Disney stories, such as the very Lion King stampede and Mowgli's almost skating on the trees, Tarzan style.

Which made me think that Walt would have loved this. He was always reaching for animation to get to this kind of point and, when budgets became too great, allowed animation to revert backwards in a way to the more sketchy look, but he was never a fan of it. I've said it before that if he had seen what CGI could do then we would have had the likes of Toy Story and more in the 1980s, if not the '70s, especially if he had remained around.

And parts of this almost brought a tear to my eye in how a near-perfect melding of animation and photorealism would have impressed even the old Mousetro. I reckon he'd have believed the techniques had reached their zenith and everything he'd originally wanted to set out and do with the medium with this kind of film.

Which is, I think, why Disney are goi back to their stories to make these films. They don't replace the "cartoons" because they can't, but they perhaps give us the ultimate versions of what they might have been like with today's technology. They don't always work (Alice wasn't really a remake, Cinderella was too close a copy and having seen the title character I just lost any hope for Pete's Dragon), but when they do (Maleficent, this, I'm hoping for Beauty And The Beast) they can really bring something new.

Especially if the films are reverential. Jon Favreau has said what a fan he was of the '67 film and it shows, from the original logo, certain shot homages (including one super one that really impressed me) and especially the closing book at the end, perfectly realised with a very cool end credit twist. Though again he wasn't a slave to it and it had enough changes, many for the better.

I wasn't a big fan of including the songs. Bare Necessities felt stuck into a differently toned film. Bill Murray as Baloo wasn't always super-successful and actually came off as an arrogant character that took some warming to as opposed to Phil Harris' big furry pal, but the film didn't become unbalanced because of him. But when he blurted out Bare Necessities it felt too much of a change, and even the overused build up to the song didn't help, since it never really came and then crashed in all too much.

Likewise for I Wanna Be Like You, which again given the more serious tone didn't sound right. Walken WAS excellent, and Louie's eyes were unmistakingly his...quite striking. The opening lines of the song segued into it quite nicely, but the "ooh-be-dos" pulled me right out of things, since he wasn't really a swinging character as he was in '67. I did like the new lyrics, though, and was tickled to see they have been penned by Richard Sherman.

In counterpoint, the end credit version was fantastic and had everyone in the theater singling and clapping along, with an applause at the end that the usually reserved Brits don't give unless a film has really wowed.

I didn't think it was maybe as phenomenal as most, but it's a pretty amazing achievement, especially considering none of it bar Mowgli is real. I may go back to see it again - I actually really want to see it again - but will likely wait for the Blu. Considering that this *could* have been this year's Tomorrowland write-off for Disney (I think that's going to come with Pete's Dragon unless a lack of competition and the love for this translates into an unexpected hit) it actually turned out really nice.

And the best thing is how well it played to all ages. Obviously the kids are going, but our almost packed 8:30pm screening was mostly late teenagers and adults of all ages from young parents (without their kids) to grandparents (again without their kids). That's when you know word of mouth is working and when a PG rated movie doesn't mean it isn't worth watching.

Just about the most perfect blend of old and new for truly multi-generational audiences, this Jungle Book delivers. Warner Bros and Andy Serkis certainly have their work cut out for them, and in the back of my mind I do keep wondering if that version, as with Animal Farm, will be scrapped entirely. After all, they're not going to want to go up against the planned sequel to this film, are they?

On the other hand, WB may end up doing well out of this one for those looking for more similar fare and their upcoming Tarzan release, which could get a boost from the similar look, feel and production (somewhat) process.

Whatever else, Disney deserves a hit with this one and it's good to see they've got it. :)

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Re: The new Jungle Book

Postby James » April 21st, 2016, 9:24 am

I'm not sure if you spoiled anything so I haven't read your post, Ben. So, short answer: should I go see it? I've mentioned I don't like any of the animated-to-live-action films so far so I'd planned on skipping this one.

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Re: The new Jungle Book

Postby Ben » April 21st, 2016, 8:25 pm

Having, presumably, seen the 1967 movie, I think you can read my post without being spoiled, James! ;)

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Re: The new Jungle Book

Postby EricJ » April 21st, 2016, 9:01 pm

Ben wrote:Okay, first thoughts and disappointments out the way: what the heck was with that weird opening Disney logo!? So strange to start such a photorealistic, essentially animated picture with such a cartoony logo. I wondered at first if this was an update and they'd used TJB to herald it, but the logo right at the end was still the usual one that we've had these past few years. I kind of liked it, even if it through me, but it was odd!


The cartoony Disney imagery had a "retro" 60's look that was supposed to set the tone for us thinking it was the Live Animated 1967 Film, complete with the imitation George Bruns music over the suddenly photorealistic CGI.

I didn't think much of Idris Elba, who hammed up Shere Khan and was never imposing. And then he kind of sat around and didn't get involved very much, in a very Scar way from Lion King.


Being a black actor, they wanted him to play the Menacing Gangsta Lord--
The "real" George Sanders Shere Khan, though, was out of the book, where tigers were lordly and ruled by claws--None of this "Mind games with the mother", or yakkita-yakkita Smaug crap with trying to taunt Mowgli about his father.

Especially if the films are reverential. Jon Favreau has said what a fan he was of the '67 film and it shows, from the original logo, certain shot homages (including one super one that really impressed me) and especially the closing book at the end, perfectly realised with a very cool end credit twist. Though again he wasn't a slave to it and it had enough changes, many for the better.


Disney is more interested in the deals of their movies than in the stories, and assembles the scripts out of flipping through the Little Movie Glossary...But even though Jon Favreau never met a CGI stampede he didn't like, he has a Joe Johnston-like sense of using CGI to enhance the gee-whiz value of the story, without getting too jokey or serious in the wrong places.

I only went to see the movie because I was in a good mood while shopping--I am no fan of the original, as I thought cartoon Mowgli was a stubborn, obnoxious little layabout, but live Mowgli managed to be sitcom-kid cute in the good way when not running from CGI peril.

Bill Murray as Baloo wasn't always super-successful and actually came off as an arrogant character that took some warming to as opposed to Phil Harris' big furry pal, but the film didn't become unbalanced because of him. But when he blurted out Bare Necessities it felt too much of a change, and even the overused build up to the song didn't help, since it never really came and then crashed in all too much.

Bill Murray had to be the conniving hipster, so his Baloo wasn't as sympathetic as Phil Harris playing his own jazzy good-timing Vegas-bandswinger self, but it's nice to see that Murray can still do comedy after all those years with Wes Anderson.
I was wondering why they homaged every other song, but we didn't get the Elephant March in the elephant scene....And they're clearly saving the Little Water Girl for the sequel.

Oh, and Easter-egg for those who stayed for the credits:
The rhinos that Mowgli passes at the waterhole? Rocky, and his mate Raquel. :lol:
(Of course you remember Rocky the Rhino?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbkhGfHgLrw
Which only emphasizes, we also briefly got vultures, but not Beatles vultures, or even Phil Collins ones.)

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Re: The new Jungle Book

Postby James » April 21st, 2016, 9:30 pm

Ben wrote:Having, presumably, seen the 1967 movie, I think you can read my post without being spoiled, James! ;)


Thanks. I saw the length and assumed it probably had spoilers for the current film.

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Re: The new Jungle Book

Postby EricJ » April 22nd, 2016, 1:26 pm

Oh, and:
Ben wrote:Likewise for I Wanna Be Like You, which again given the more serious tone didn't sound right. Walken WAS excellent, and Louie's eyes were unmistakingly his...quite striking. The opening lines of the song segued into it quite nicely, but the "ooh-be-dos" pulled me right out of things, since he wasn't really a swinging character as he was in '67. I did like the new lyrics, though, and was tickled to see they have been penned by Richard Sherman.


Walken is a pretty good singer when he has to be--we know that from Hairspray: the Movie--and even though, like Elba's Khan, Louie was "updated" into the old mafia lord that Walken brought over from Jersey Boys, the segue into "Oo-be-do...I wanna be like YOU. Oo. Oo." could occasionally sound a bit like an SNL "What if Christopher Walken auditioned for Disney characters?" sketch. :lol:
(We did need the new lyrics, as there was no book reason for Louie to be a ridiculous Gigantopithicus.)

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Re: The new Jungle Book

Postby Ben » April 22nd, 2016, 6:02 pm

Actually, long time fans will know Walken can sing from way, way earlier...


And...I just love how off the mark EJ can be when he's just coming up with redundant things to say...! ;)

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Re: The new Jungle Book

Postby EricJ » April 22nd, 2016, 6:05 pm

Ben wrote:Actually, long time fans will know Walken can sing from way, way earlier...


(Not Pennies From Heaven, again?--Thought that was lip-synching!)

And since there's no Delete button, sometimes you have to add something redundant when you hit Quote instead of Edit! :P