The moment I heard that a new version of The Jungle Book was going to release this summer, I had earmarked it as THE movie to watch.
As a family, we don’t go to the cinemas much at all:
- Snubnose has a tendency to get scared and panicky in the dark (yes, even at 10). And anything even mildly disturbing seen in the dark cinema hall bothers her a lot. This leaves us with only kiddy cartoony movies – Minions and the like.
- Piglet also has a tendency to get scared and panicky in the dark. However, to cover it up, he just behaves more noisy and rowdy. It’s really weird because he is perfectly fine during dance performances and live plays and such. But I guess the combination of the dark and the loud sound effects in a cinema hall just gets to him.
In spite of all these issues, I was determined to see the film. The Jungle Book story is one of my all-time childhood favorites, and I have read the book and watched the old cartoon movie umpteen times, and I wanted to share this love with the littles as well.
The kids were easy to convince. But K remained skeptical. He knows Piglet’s rowdy moments really well and did not fancy having to stand outside the cinema hall for an hour or so after paying a small fortune for the tickets (seriously have you seen the cost of movie tickets these days?)
We eventually decided 2-D was the better option for us and headed out to the ancient creaky Symphony theatre (now Fame Cinemas) on MG Road.
The movie was as expected – exciting, wondrous, fun, and entertaining. It says a lot for the basic story that the 2D experience in a rather shabby cinema hall can still be so magical.
I loved every bit of it (particularly Neel Sethi as Mowgli who was brilliant, the amazingly realistic animals, and the voice overs) , except maybe for some parts, which I will go in a little detail:
- The role of Kaa the snake – There was so much mention of how well Scarlett Johansson had voiced this role, and generally so much hype over it, that I was a bit shocked to see such a blink and you miss role. Really, Kaa was on screen for all of five minutes, I think.
- Colonel Haathi and his elephants – I was so looking forward to a bigger role for the elephants. I mean how cute were they in the original Jungle Book, but sadly in this 2016 version, they are on-screen for a very brief time. Piglet who adores elephants was left a little disappointed.
- The ending – I am a bit conflicted about the ending. Without giving any spoilers, I”ll just say that I think the ending in the original Jungle Book was better, and added a nice touch of pathos, and greater depth and maturity to the story. By changing up the ending, this movie missed an opportunity to make it something more than just a summer kiddie movie.
All that being said, I still loved every bit of this movie. Snubnose did too, although she still got startled and scared by Shere Khan. Piglet enjoyed the first half of the movie, but started getting restless post-interval, and became one of those annoying noisy children in movie halls that bother everyone 🙁 .
Thankfully, the cinema hall was pretty much empty (duh! who watches such a fab movie in 2D, when a 3D option is available?), and so Piglet could go peacefully up and down the stairs, and comment loudly on the action happening on the screen.
Ouch! Hiding my head in shame now.