Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (2018)
Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle is an ambitious take on Kipling’s Mowgli stories, but ultimately a misfire. A troubled production from the start (back in 2012), the film was delayed numerous times to sort out the visual effects. Its release was delayed again in2016 to avoid a box office battle with Walt Disney’s live-action remake of Jungle Book (a battle I believe it would have lost, badly). Out of the two films, the more polished Mouse House version is the one I’d recommend. But if you’re in the mood for a less song-and-
The CGI is occasionally okay, the voice work by the principal cast is okay, and Rohan Chand as Mowgli is just okay in the titular role. Where I feel it trips over itself is due to Andy Serkis’ lack of experience as a director, Callie Kloves’ script, and possibly some studio meddling. There are several weird gaps in the flow of the story, and character actions and motivations don’t always make sense.
From the get-go, something seems off with this movie. Callie Kloves’ screenplay tries to blend two stories with two villains; Shere Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) and a hunter called, Lockwood (Matthew Rhys). But with so much to do, neither story gets adequately developed (which is probably why Lockwood never showed up in Disney’s films). In the end, both threads are concluded, but neither one feels finale-like. More “oh, that’s it?” And not at all, “holy cow!” as you would justifiably expect to feel after watching a big budget CGI fest like this.
Since this is on Netflix and doesn’t require you get out of your pajamas to see it (a serious concern), I say go ahead and watch it. It’ll only cost you time, and it was at least a new take on the material, so that’s something.
Starring: Rohan Chand, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andy Serkis, Peter Mullan, Naomie Harris, Matthew Rhys
Directed by: Andy Serkis
Screenplay by: Callie Kloves
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 1 hr 44 min.