Upcoming Film Mowgli: Will it Do Justice to Kipling’s ‘The Jungle Book’


Netflix is soon to release its version of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book directed by Andy Serkis. This rendition entitled Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle leads us into the complex character of Kipling’s mind and the diversity of the animal world.

Kavya Thomas | The New Leam

As Indians, we have all grown up watching Mowgli. The story of this orphaned boy named Mowgli who is raised by animals inside the jungle and learns to face many enemies including the truth of his human origins is captivating.

The fascination with the great Rudyard Kipling’s literary imagination will never fade away especially if we consider the fact that so many child-centric and visually attractive films about the animal-human bond have been made ever since then but the popularity of Mowgli as never ceased.

This goes on to explain that in recent times, the newly emerging and popular platform like the Netflix is releasing its own adaptation of the legendary Mowgli. This is the directorial debut of the legendary actor Andy Serkis, he says that his version of Mowgli is a much more intense and dark rendition from the earlier version of Mowgli which was released in 2016.

The film takes you on an emotionally scintillating journey of fantasy and fear. The film asks you to leave behind the much familiar jungle where Mowgli rests and plays in a loving ambience in the warmth of his animal family.

This jungle as all those who have seen and read Mowgli books would remember is one where there is sheer peace that you can pass on into a slumber as the waterfalls turn into slides that take you downstream on the upturned belly of a friendly bear.

This new version of Mowgli staging on Netflix takes you to a lesser known jungle that is dirty, dark and raw. This is a jungle where danger awaits at every corner and where there is nothing whimsical about childhood anymore.

One of the major aspects of the film that one is likely to observe in the beginning is the fact that the animals are made to look much wild despite the fact that a lot of work has been put in order to make them expressive.

It becomes impossible to not compare Serkis’s version of the classic tale to the Disney version of 2016 live-action remake of its original 1967 animated film.

The animals in the earlier version looked as if they are animated versions of photos but the director Serkis has on purpose tried to attain something altogether different.

The film has made these characters appear more realistic and recognizably human. This means that the challenges that the director are not just the voice over but also to ensure that the animals are expressive and affecting.

The animals in this version may not be as charming as they were in the Disney version but they are certainly more realistic.

What stands out a lot in the film are Benidict Cumberbatch’s ferocious role of the tiger Shere Khan and Christian Bale’s role of Bagheera the panther. The character played by Serkis himself Baloo feels more like a caricature and a little rough around the edges.

The missing music and dancing in the film and its overtly darker tone leaves it without any softness or comic gestures.

The film’s uniqueness is that it tries to understand the psychology of the little boy called Mowgli as he is growing up from a boy to a man and the dilemma that he is having in the road to this transition. Despite the many ups and downs, the version of Serkis is worth watching. The dark, murky avatar that the film has captured is definitely worth watching on Netflix.


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