In 1967 the last work of the infamous Walt Disney was released with those unforgettable characters Mowgli, Baloo, Shere Khan and more. Inspiring the names of more than a few household pets, the Disney animated classic tells the story of a man cub raised by wolves and the adventures he undertakes with his animal companions on his way to the man village. The recent reimagining by Jon Favreau tells the same story of friendship, loyalty and the search for identity that is so common in Disney movies but with a more nuanced and adult tone.


The live-action remake of this family favourite features some famous voices in prominent roles. From Sir Ben Kingsley’s eloquent portrayal of Bagheera the self-appointed guardian and escort of Mowgli, to the humorous, fun Baloo of Bill Murray and the sinister and threatening Idris Elba as Shere Khan, you are guaranteed nothing less than excellent vocal performances. Neel Sethi, who you’ve probably never heard of before, plays our protagonist Mowgli. At just 10 years old Sethi captures the personality of Mowgli perfectly, with his fun loving, smart and cheeky ways. Other significant voices you may recognise are Scarlett Johanssen as Kaa the snake, Christopher Walken as the gigantopithecus King Louis, Giancarlo Esposito as Akila and Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, Mowgli’s wolf mother.


I’m always hesitant to see remakes of Disney classics. As an adult who regularly uses younger family members as an excuse to watch children’s movies, I always fear that the magic of Disney may be lost in the adaptation of the original. Favreau and Marks have created a movie which incorporates aspects of both the book, written by Rudyard Kipling in 1894, and the Disney movie, which is more familiar to us all. By incorporating more aspects from the Kipling edition than that of Disney (who told his animators not to read the Kipling version when working on the movie as he believed it was too dark) Favreau and Marks have widened the audience of their movie, making it enjoyable for adults as well as children.


Using the relationship between a man cub who has ‘no people’ but manages to unite all of the animals for one cause, Favreau and Marks have skilfully made a movie that inspires you to try and be the best you can be. It speaks to children who are trying to fit in with a crowd that they are never quite part of, but shows them that by being themselves and using the gifts that make them unique they can be part of something bigger and better.


This is a great movie to watch with the whole family, combining a great jungle adventure with a few nostalgic songs and some moral lessons. Some of the characters are more sinister than in the original movie so I would suggest not to take children under 6 (I definitely jumped a few times). The Jungle Book is out now at Cinemas showing in 2D, 3D and IMAX and it really brings a new lease of life to some of your favourite characters. Let us know what you think of the movie in the comments below! I for one will be naming my next pet Bagheera or Akila…


Enjoy the popcorn!