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The Jungle Book
Directed by Tony Bancroft
Produced by Steve O'Brien
Written by Paul Dini
Based on Disney's The Jungle Book
by Walt Disney
Wolfgang Reitherman
and The Jungle Book
by Rudyard Kipling
Starring Dwayne Johnson
Jack Dylan Grazer
Jason Isaacs
Jonathan Pryce
Andy Serkis
Toby Jones
Music by John Debney
Cinematography Jean-Christophe Poulain
Edited by H. Lee Peterson
Production
companies
Walt Disney Pictures
Reel FX Creative Studios
Distributed by Disney+
Release date December 1, 2023
Running time 107 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Jungle Book is a 2023 American computer-animated musical film produced and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the fourth film produced by the studio, a remake of Disney's traditionally-animated 1967 film of the same name, and the second computer-animated remake of a Disney classic after Peter Pan, which was released the same year. Directed by Tony Bancroft, the film features the voices of Dwayne Johnson, Jack Dylan Grazer, Jason Isaacs, Jonathan Pryce, Andy Serkis, and Toby Jones.

The film was released on Disney+ on December 1, 2023 to positive reviews from critics, who called it an "imaginative and faithful remake" and praised the songs, animation, humor, vocal performances (particularly those of Laramore, Johnson, Issacs, Pryce, and Serkis), sense of nostalgia, and John Debney's musical score.

Plot

Mowgli, a young orphan boy, is found in a basket, in the deep jungles of India by Bagheera, a black panther who promptly takes him to Raksha, a mother wolf who has just had cubs. She and her mate, Rama, raise him along with their own cubs and after ten years, Mowgli becomes well acquainted with jungle life and plays with his wolf siblings. Bagheera is pleased with how happy Mowgli is now, but also worries that Mowgli must eventually return to his own kind.

One night, the wolf pack parents meet at Council Rock, having learned that Shere Khan, a merciless man-eating Bengal tiger, has returned to the pack's part of the jungle. Pack leader Akela decides that Mowgli must leave the jungle for his own safety. Bagheera volunteers to escort him to a "Man-Village". They leave that very night, but Mowgli is determined to stay in the jungle. He and Bagheera rest in a tree for the night, where Kaa, a hungry Indian phyton, tries to devour Mowgli, but Bagheera intervenes.

The next morning, Mowgli tries to join the elephant patrol, led by Colonel Hathi and his wife Winifred. Bagheera finds Mowgli, but after a fight, decides to leave Mowgli on his own. Mowgli soon meets up with a laid-back, fun-loving sloth bear named Baloo, who promises to raise Mowgli himself and never take him to the Man-Village. However, monkeys kidnap Mowgli and take him King Louie the orangutan. King Louie offers to help Mowgli stay in the jungle if he will tell Louie how to make fire, like other humans. However, since he was not raised by humans, Mowgli does not know how to make fire. Bagheera and Baloo arrive to rescue Mowgli, and in the ensuing chaos, King Louie's palace is demolished to rubble.

Bagheera speaks to Baloo that night and convinces him that the jungle will never be safe for him with Shere Khan around. In the morning, Baloo reluctantly explains the Man-Village is best for Mowgli. Outraged, Mowgli chastises Baloo for breaking his promise and runs off. Bagheera rallies the help of Hathi and his patrol. Shere Khan, who was eavesdropping on this, continues his search for Mowgli. Meanwhile, Mowgli encounters Kaa, who again attempts to eat him, but he escapes; unbeknownst to him, Kaa is interfered by the suspicious Shere Khan. As a storm gathers, a crestfallen Mowgli encounters a group of vultures who accept him as a fellow outcast.

Shere Khan appears afterwards, scaring off the vultures and confronting Mowgli. Baloo and Bagheera rush to the rescue and occupy Shere Khan. When lightning strikes a nearby tree and sets it ablaze, Mowgli ties the burning branch to Shere Khan's tail. Terrified of fire, Shere Khan flees. Realizing he will never be safe in the jungle, Mowgli apologizes to Baloo and Bagheera for his selfishness and finally decides to go the Man-Village. When he arrives, he is smitten by a beautiful young girl who is coming down by the riverside to fetch water, and follows her into the Man-Village, indicating that he made up his mind and chose to return to the Man-Village. The film ends with Bagheera and Baloo deciding to head home, content that Mowgli is safe and happy with his own kind.

Cast

  • Jack Dylan Grazer as Mowgli, an orphaned boy, commonly referred to as "man-cub" by other characters.
  • Dwayne Johnson as Baloo, a sloth bear who leads a carefree life and believes in letting the good things in life come by themselves.
  • Jason Isaacs as Bagheera, a serious black panther who is determined to take Mowgli back to the village and disapproves of Baloo's carefree approach of life.
  • Jonathan Pryce as Shere Khan, an intelligent and sophisticated yet merciless Bengal tiger who hates all humans for fear of their guns and fire and wants to kill Mowgli.
  • Andy Serkis as Kaa, an Indian python who also seeks Mowgli as prey, but comically fails each time he attempts to eat him.
  • Toby Jones as King Louie, an orangutan who wants to be a human, and wants Mowgli to teach him how to make fire.
  • Brian Cox as Akela, an Indian wolf and the leader of the pack.
  • Jeff Bennett as Rama, an Indian wolf who is Raksha's mate and Mowgli's adoptive father.
  • Barry Humphries as Colonel Hathi, an Indian elephant and the leader of the elephant patrol.
  • Jacki Weaver as Winifred, Colonel Hathi's wife.
  • Pierce Gagnon as Junior, Colonel Hathi's son.
  • Dee Bradley Baker as M.C. Monkey
  • Jim Hanks, Scott Eastwood, Michael C. Hall, and Adam Scott as the vultures
  • Carlos Alazraqui, Eric Bauza, and Roger Craig Smith as Monkeys

Reception

Critical response

The Jungle Book received positive reviews from film critics. On the site Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 88% approval rating based on 280 reviews. The consensus reads, "The Jungle Book is imaginative, nostalgic, and faithful remake of Disney's 1967 animated film". Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, singed the film to a score of 68 out of 100 based on 33 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.

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