Review: Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle
The bare necessities
Do I even need to do a plot run down at this point? Mowgli (Rohand Chand) is a boy left in the jungle who is rescued by a panther, Bagheera (Christian Bale) and ultimately raised by wolves. But the dangerous tiger Shere Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) is hell bent on killing Mowgli as he did his parents.
WB and director Andy Serkis started work on this film before Disney came along and made their own live action Jungle Book, grossed a billion dollars, and won an Oscar. Then they got stuck in the awkward position of telling everyone "but this is the dark version!" Despite the insistence that they were going to go full D.C Universe with this, WB dumped it on Netflix.
For me personally, Netflix was a good move because I don't think I would've went to this in theaters. The fact that WETA, the same people that brought us the flawless Planet of the Apes movies (War should've won that Best Visual Effects Oscar...I will fight you) the CGI is horrendous. I know Serkis is big on showing the human side of motion capture. While it worked with primates in the Apes films it's distracting and cheap looking. When you know that they're capable of, seeing this result is even more offensive.
Another problem this film faced is its voice actors. I really have to question what kind of direction Serkis was giving them because so many of them are completely over the top. Christian Bale was the only one that I consistently liked throughout the film.
Mowgli does dare to be different. Shere Khan is legitimately terrifying and his and Mowgli's final show down was done really well. I also give props for attempting to be different with the character of Baloo, who Serkis plays like the town drunk here. I'm not sure if it worked, but it was new.
This makes for a fine Netflix watch but I just feel bad for Andy Serkis and all involved at this point. The entire situation is just rough, and the finished product certainly didn't soften the blow.
Memorable Quote: "I haven't come to rescue you, little brother." - Bagheera (Christian Bale)