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Jungle Book, The  (DVD)


Stars: Neel Sethi. Voices: Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken, Lupita Nyong'o, Giancarlo Esposito, Garry Shandling

Director: Jon Favreau

I have to admit I'm still not totally reconciled to the idea of talking animals in live-action films. Even here, in this (sort of) live version of Rudyard Kipling's classic tale of adventure, it's kinda creepy and difficult to get used to.

But, that caveat aside, this is otherwise a stunning new version of Kipling's yarn of a boy raised by wolves in the Indian rainforest, much more visceral than Disney's own cartoon classic of 1967, but retaining its songs: neither fish nor fowl perhaps, in this sense, but immensely entertaining nonetheless - even the peripheral animal characters like the pangolin are amusingly treated - with a literally crackling climax, as Mowgli (Sethi, whose Noo York accent is a little jarring at first) fights for his life as Shere Khan the tiger (Elba) stalks him in the midst of a jungle inferno.

Some of the action's a wee bit scary for tots, perhaps, but sweepingly good fun for the rest of us, with Shere Khan's pursuit of Mowgli to the heights of a giant tree reminiscent of pirate Israel Hands' pursuit of Jim Hawkins up a mast in Treasure Island - Disney's first-ever live-action film 65 years ago.

David Quinlan

USA 2016. UK Distributor: Disney. Technicolor.
101 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 20 Aug 2016