Forgive my caginess about a live-action Jungle Book; I still remember 1994’s attempt by The Mummy’s Stephen Sommers. Nothing about this CGI remake of Disney’s 1967 classic disappoints. An inspired cast of voice actors, led by Bill Murray as Baloo (who else would be a better sloth bear?), Ben Kingsley as Bagheera and the regal Idris Elba as Shere Khan, join charming newcomer Neel Sethi as Mowgli.
The high points childhood-you remembers from the cartoon—namely, “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wan’na Be like You,” now memorably sung by Christopher Walken—are ticked off by director Jon Favreau, who combines his knack for effects-laden spectacle (Iron Man) with his family-friendly expertise (Elf). If Walken as a singing gigantopithecus doesn’t win you over, what will?
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