Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle Review
Here's the truth, and I admit it with a heavy heart: To adapt a line from the movie: "You came out wrong!" Well, there's no denying it. Give it every break you can afford to give it, and Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle only continues to disappoint. From before I thrilled myself watching the first trailer probably 20 odd times, I was completely on board with the concept of an Andy Serkis-directed original take on the excellent adventure story, Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. I protested the unfairness of Disney's sneaky "cash grab" remake, which stole audience members in droves from the Warner Brothers re-make, and I was disgusted when I found out that it was considered fit only for Netflix, despite boasting a fine A-list cast. I gave it every opportunity to redeem itself, but the critics said it first - it's sadly just a bungle in the jungle.
The movie contains many elements which, put to another purpose, may have created a really terrific story, but this time it's a mess. I think perhaps the script should be held to the light first, as it's not put together in a solid and logical manner, leaving the viewer confused and dissatisfied. Characters and sub-plots are glossed over, making the short running time feel incredibly restrictive. Incredible talent (perhaps no-one more than Freida Pinto) feel so very underused, which is a real shame. The effects (and voices!!) are indeed distracting, and although a deliberate decision on Serkis' part, only exasperate, and leave you wishing you were back in Favreau's Disney world, where the animals at least looked somewhat realistic.
Considerations as to your child's maturity are also important, as this version does contain some wilder violence. Although not on the level of the source material, the movie is not afraid of showing a little death, and one moment in particular, involving the horrific death of a supporting character, is strikingly shocking, and may frighten or sadden young children. Language is hardly an issue, with some name-calling like "weirdo" and "freak" being basically the extent of profanity. Mowgli wears his customary underwear throughout the film, and the people of the village dress loosely, with the women sporting free-flowing garments and the men often going shirtless. At one point, a man reveals a scar on his lower stomach.
Although some may find some entertainment here, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle will likely prove something of a bungle-in-the-jungle to most.