Barbershop: The Next Cut
The Jungle Book
Mowgli (Neel Sethi), abandoned as a baby in the jungle, gets raised by Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), a panther, and his pack of wolves as if he were a member of their own pack. His life ends up in danger when Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), a tiger, threatens to kill him and warns others that he'll grow up to be a man thereby making him unwelcome in the jungle. As Mowgli and Bagheera head off on an adventure toward Mowgli's own people, Mowgli meets and befriends a bear, Baloo (voice of Bill Murray), while crossing paths with two enemies, King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken), an organutan, and Kaa (voice of Scarlett Johansson), a snake, along the way.
Based on the classic book by Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book keeps the basic story intact although it skims through the details of Mowlgi's integration in the jungle. His relationship with Bagheera doesn't quite have as much of a strong emotional impact as it does in the book or in past film adaptations. As an actor, Neel Sethi looks the part, but doesn't quite have the acting chops to sink his teeth into the role of Mowgli smoothly because his performance is occasionally a bit wooden. Director Jon Favreau keeps the pace moving along briskly so that no seen drags. Screenwriter Justin Marks kicks up the action/adventure elements which do provide some thrills on a palpable level. There's no denying that the CGI animation combined with the live action looks seamless and dazzling on the big screen. The bright, pretty colors will entertain kids while the scenes with Baloo and Mowgli, especially "The Bare Necessities" musical number, will find both kids and adults amused. Kaa and King Louie's scenes are too brief although they're nonetheless captivating. However, by focusing too much on the action/thrilling aspects, The Jungle Book loses some of the book's heart and soul. The film can be enjoyed on a shallow level, but beyond that, it leaves much more to be desired and falls shorts of being a new Disney classic that you can watch over and over.