Mowgli: Legend Of The Jungle Review – Not Your Favreau’s Jungle Book

Rohan Chand as “Mowgli”

When both Jon Favreau and Andy Serkis’s Jungle Book films were announced, it looked like a real Dante’s Peak/Volcano situation. However, Serkis’s Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle sat on the shelf for two years and then got sold to Netflix. So we didn’t end up with two Jungle Books in the same year or even one year apart. Still close enough and interesting to see two unique takes on the same material, neither being the first adaptation at that.

Legend of the Jungle has some different takes on the Jungle Book animal characters. Baloo (Andy Serkis) here is a gruff, grizzled elder, not a playful slacker. Each animal has a distinct personality, down to the cynical hyena. Like the Disney version, Mowgli just trusts the animals as characters and it’s up to the filmmakers to realize them like they would any human being.

Rohan Chand as “Mowgli” in the Netflix film “Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle”the human camp and the film explores that adjustment, developing his man side more. Therefore you get more conflict between Mowgli’s man and animal side too.

 

Mowgli plays up Mowgli (Rohan Chand)’s identity crisis a bit more. Bagheera (Christian Bale) thinks it’s too dangerous to allow a man into the pack. Baloo believes in him and Mowgli just wants to be a wolf. He really can’t deny he’s a man though. This Mowgli spends more time in the human camp and the film explores that adjustment, developing his man side more. Therefore you get more conflict between Mowgli’s man and animal side too.

Ultimately, a hardcore tragic discovery with the humans shows Mowgli that he really can’t compartmentalize. These are not two separate worlds. Man attacks the jungle animals so Mowgli has to take sides.

There’s also a message that “others can mistake individuality for weakness.” That’s interesting. Since when is conforming seen as strength? I don’t think the film explored that as much as Mowgli’s role between two worlds.

I think Favreau ended up making the kick ass Volcano of Jungle Book movies, though his made more at the box office than both volcano films combined. Serkis did indeed achieve his vision of a darker, more mature Jungle Book. There is blood and a lot more takes place at night. Mowgli bears the stamp of Serkis’s performance capture technique more than the fully animated creatures of Favreau’s. It’s worth having both.

Written by
Fred Topel also known as Franchise Fred has been an entertainment journalist since 1999 and specializes in writing about film, television and video games. Fred has written for several outlets including About.com, CraveOnline, and Rotten Tomatoes among others. His favorite films include Toy Story 2, The Rock, Face/Off, True Lies, Labyrinth, The Big Hit, Michael Moore's The Big One, and Casablanca. We are very lucky and excited to have Fred as part of the We Live Entertainment team. Follow him on Twitter @FranchiseFred and @FredTopel

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