The most faithful adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s timeless tale and hitherto the darkest Jungle Book recreation on screen — Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle is aimed at catering to an adult audience with its underlying themes of man vs. animal and forest depletion, but also has enough in the way of adventure and thrills to exhilarate viewers of all age groups.
Unlike the watered-down, kid-friendly Disney version released two years ago, this one paints its anthropomorphic characters in broad brush strokes, neither making any creature look unnecessarily cute nor unleashing the menace of others without a back-story or some rationality, while man is the one who’s firmly established as the most dangerous of all.
Of course, a bit of expansion on the portion when Mowgli begins coexisting with his species, or taking it up a notch or two during one of the high-intensity action scenes would have benefited the film further, but it’s still an immensely enjoyable journey through the jungle, with enthralling visual effects, brilliant voiceovers, captivating character designs (even the look of the animals is much more realistic compared to the Disney live-action adaptation), exciting sequences, a thoroughly immersive world, and a terrific performance from Rohan Chand in the eponymous role.
The 1967 ‘bare-necessities’ version still remains an animated classic as far as children’s films go, but this one is easily the best live-action outing yet, offering a deeply fleshed out cinematic retelling of the source material with diverse elements and sub-plots to engage everyone. To put it plainly, all previous versions of Kipling’s classic story come across as a jungle theme ride while 2018’s Mowgli is proper jungle adventure.
Movified Rating: 4/5