Movie Review: The Jungle Book

Nothing like a massively out of date movie review to catch your interest this fine Tuesday, right? I mean, this has to be one of the most irrelevant reviews I’ve posted. I’m so out of date with new movies that I don’t catch them until they’re out on Netflix.

Sigh. How the mighty have fallen.

And it’s not even like I’m here to tell you that everything you heard about the movie was wrong. It wasn’t. It’s a gorgeous film, with incredible effects and a great version of the original movie it’s based on. So why am I reviewing it now?

I think it’s because it’s a movie that for the first three quarters, I thought I was going to give a 3 or a 4 to, and then the ending managed to bump it all the way to a 5/5, and I wanted to think about how that happened.

First, my issues with the first three quarters: the movie was good. Just good. I’d been told it was great, and so my expectations were very high heading into the film. Instead, I just sort of ended up wondering if all the hype had been overblown. Sure, the special effects were great, but wasn’t it really just a retread of the animated movie, except with some live action thrown in?

In addition to that, the dialogue was really bugging me. Not because of what was being said, but rather how. All the interactions seemed deliberate and drawn out. Someone would say something, and then the response always came a bit too  late. It was like the characters were communicating over a bad phone line. Sometimes this would happen even in the middle of one character speaking. They’d. Say something and. Then wait for a. Bit. Before finishing what they were. Thinking about.

It was like Captain Kirk had directed them.

So although the effects were great, I was thinking about settling in at a 4/5 rating. Maybe a 3/5 if the dialogue continued to bug.

But then the last quarter of the film hit, and everything came together. First of all, the plot took some great turns that I didn’t necessarily see coming. No huge twists or anything, but it managed to take what was in the original and make it new enough to surprise me and generate some really good emotions. That was very impressive.

Second, I began to believe the dialogue quirk was done deliberately. (Because seriously, why else would that happen? No way Bill Murray was goofing on his performance.) And so I asked myself why it was happening. The answer seemed clear: it was going for a more “storybook” approach. Again, riffing on the original, but in a new, interesting way. I know that might seem like a copout, but to me, it made the movie go from being a hodgepodge of effects and plot and retreading into a single complete package. The dialogue, the story tweaks, the acting, the echoes from the animated version: it all came together.

In the end, the climax of the movie really struck me. It resonated. And that was the final piece. As a whole, the movie thrilled me, and it managed to do it in a surprising way. So for that, it sealed the deal. 5/5

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. What did you think of the movie?

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