The Jungle Book: 1967 vs 2016
The original Jungle Book is one of Disney's best-loved animated classics and the last one to be personally supervised by Walt Disney himself. Very loosely based on Rudyard Kipling's novel, it tells the story of an orphaned boy raised by wolves in the jungles of India, who discovers that he's being hunted by Shere Khan the tiger and so is compelled to return to the 'man-village.' Featuring a loveable cast of animal heroes and villains, including Bagheera the panther, Kaa the snake, King Louie the orang-utan and (most people's favourite) Baloo the bear, it's a simple, lively story with memorable songs by the Sherman brothers and a proper swinging sixties vibe.
Other than being animated (and technically the new film is animated too, for the most part) one of the main differences between the two films is that the 2016 version is not a musical. Since the songs are probably the best part about the cartoon this could have been a disaster, but I think Disney reached a good compromise. Having full blown musical numbers wouldn't have suited the darker tone of the re-make, but some of the score was retained, including the two most famous songs, which have snuck their way in.
I love the relaxed, up-beat feel of the original film, but the re-make also had great atmosphere. And it was scary. It genuinely made me jump a few times and I kind of wish I'd seen it in 3D. I was impressed with all the voice acting, especially Idris Elba's Shere Khan (although it's hard to live up to the gravitas of the original) and of course, Bill Murray's Baloo. I've discovered my love for Bill Murray pretty late in his career, but he's fast becoming my favourite actor. Despite the range of fantastic voice talent here (also including Sir Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyongo, and Christopher Walken) I was most impressed by newcomer Neel Sethi, the kid playing Mowgli. His acting was great, he wasn't annoying and he actually had great comic timing. No mean feat considering he's acting in a green-screen studio opposite animal co-stars that aren't actually there. A lot hung on his performance and luckily he carried it off.
It's crazy how far animation has come. The animals, in addition to the jungle itself, all looked so realistic you'd be forgiven for thinking they were real at least part of the time - especially the wolves. But no, it's all animated and all gorgeous to look at.
So, any other differences from the original? I missed the extra songs (although they wouldn't have felt right had they been added) the stuff with the elephants was different, as was the ending. (I liked how they set up the new ending though.) Kaa's now a female python, voiced by Scarlett Johanssen and King Louie isn't an Orangutan but a 'Gigantopithecus' - some giant extinct species of ape that was thought to have lived throughout Asia back in the day. Turns out Orang-utans don't live in India. Who knew? Oh, there's also a death (I told you it was darker).
(Missing songs from the re-make! Trust in Me was sort of in it...)
(Above Trailer by Oh My Disney)