A human child raised in the jungle learns where he truly comes
from and must defend his chosen family from a vengeful tiger.
Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (2018)
Directed by Andy Serkis
Written by Callie Kloves
Starring Rohan Chand, Christian Bale, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Matthew Rhys, Naomie Harris,
Peter Mullan, Tom Hollander, Freida Pinto, Eddie Marsan
Based on stories by Rudyard Kipling
I remember when this came out. It was weird to do a gritty Jungle Book reboot just as Disney was releasing their own (less) gritty Jungle Book reboot. Just didn't seem necessary. Having watched it, I still think it's not necessary and Disney's version is vastly superior. Still, I must praise the impressive visual effects, score, and voice talent. Hell of a cast assembled by relative newcomer to the director's chair, Andy Serkis. Makes me excited to see what he does with the upcoming Venom sequel. But I digress. Mowgli's biggest issue, apart from it's unnecessarily long title, is that it doesn't really know what story it wants to tell. So it tells them all, resulting in a bit of a mess.
We all know the story. Mowgli (Chand) is a young boy raised by wolves and taught lessons by his mentor and friend Bagheera (Bale). When the evil tiger Shere Khan (Cumberbatch) swears to kill him and all who defend him, Mowgli must get to safety, and to Bagheera and the rest of the wolf pack, that means going back to his own people. That's about where the similarites to Disney stop. Baloo (Serkis) is more of a battle-hardened warrior than a bumbling dolt, and King Louie is nowhere to be seen. We get a subplot involving a sadistic hunter named Lockwood (Rhys) and while the idea of Mowgli growing into more of a man than an animal is explored, it's completely abandoned in the final act in favor of a more actiony approach.
Mowgli had potential, and it's not a bad film by any means. It just doesn't bring enough to the table to justify its existence after Disney already milked this cash cow for all it was worth. Despite an impressive cast, the story lacks focus and there's too many things left unsaid. It's quite frustrating.