It’s been almost 10 years since the last instalment, but the latest release of Pixars’ crown jewel is still just as good as ever. Acting as an epilogue to the Andy trilogy, Toy Story 4 closes things well, yet still , leaves the door open for more fun down the road.
Directed by Josh Cooley
Starring Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Christina Hendricks
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Pixar have a habit of constantly releasing critically acclaimed hits, and their latest venture, could prove to be their greatest triumph yet. It’s taken Coco a few months to arrive on these shores, but the wait has been worth it.
The Day of the Dead, is our main focus here, the Mexican holiday in which people come together to celebrate the lives of the members of their family who have passed away. Miguel, our young protagonist, yearns to be a musician, but due to a complicated family history, the art of music, in any form, has been prohibited in the family. But in his attempts to emulate his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz,, the greatest musician of his time, Miguel finds himself trapped in the Land of the Dead, seeking his hero for a way out.
Considering the theme of film is pretty morbid, the movie itself is surprisingly vivid! It is probably one of the most resplendent settings in any Pixar movie, with the festival ambiance providing a fantastic backdrop to the story. The visuals are stunning, and has some of the best animation the studio have produced.
Pixar movies are always an emotional ride, and Coco delivers. The recurring themes of death, grief and family are mentioned throughout the film. So it’s not too much of a surprise that there is a certain level of poignancy to the plot. But the final third of Coco is so well done, it should move most people to some degree! Without spoiling, it packs a punch!
The cast are thoroughly enjoyable. Hector, a charming, witty trickster who accompanies Miguel on his journey is a wonderful character, he’s just not there for comic relief though, his story arc plays out to perfection. Ernesto, our pompous superstar, is just about the right level of irritation & arrogance! Considering there are two sets of families, one alive, one passed away, there is an abundance of names and faces, not all of whom are important to the plot. But it plays a vital role in pushing through its message about family.
With it being a Disney production, the musical score will always be a crucial factor. With Coco, the soundtrack delivers a wonderful blend of music, will the effervescent flamenco/latino party rhymes, to the sombre melodies. ‘Remember Me’, the recurring track that plays throughout, not only carries a great level of poignancy, it also plays a vital role within the film.
Regarding negatives, there really isn’t much to say against it, but if you were to knit pick, the opening 1/3 is rather slow to kick on. It’s really not too clear where the movie is going with things, but the remainder of Coco is so good, you’ll let that go. Also, there really isn’t a villain in the film, it doesn’t really hurt the enjoyment, but if you like a movie with a clear antagonist, this may bug you a bit.
That being said, these are very minor flaws in what is already one of the candidate for film of the year! A sure winner for the Oscar for best animation!
See our spoiler-free review if you have not seen this film!!
(Though if you haven’t seen it by now, come on, what are you doing?)
Be sure to comment any points I may have left out.
So it is the long awaited arrival of the second installment of the new Star Wars Trilogy. There has been a large amount of hype for The Last Jedi and unfortunately for me I allowed myself to be dragged into the chaotic chorus of high expectations. After a nostalgic and interesting setup in The Force Awakens, an unrelated yet enjoyable Rogue One, and a tasty exhilarating trailer (with Porg goodness) I think we can all agree we were expecting good things. I, however, was less than fulfilled and found myself severely disappointed and close to anger on leaving the cinema. Probably not helped by the fact that my friends and I had been to the double-bill feature and had left the cinema at 3am after being there since 9pm!
Before I get into a laboured account of the negatives let’s start with something positive…
Yes they may be unnecessary and not at all relevant but it was an inventive solution to a problem and a creative reflection of the true location. Ahch-To, aka Skellig Michael, is just off the Southern Coast of Ireland and was the perfect location for the remote Jedi monasteries, what with the abandoned monasteries already present on the Island that were once home to Christian monks some 700-800 years ago.
Also present on the Island at certain times of year were PUFFINS! As the Island is a nature reserve, it would be wrong to remove the vast number of birds (not to mention logistically incredibly difficult), and to digitally erase the native birds would be hugely time consuming; so it was decided that they would have to roll with it and create a new indigenous species. Just like on the island, these birds get EVERYWHERE in the film (but thankfully not to an annoyingly obnoxious level) and even have an actually funny interaction with Chewbacca when he tries to eat one of them.
REY AND KYLO
This storyline was genuinely intriguing as you have a bridge between two characters who are still unsure of their paths and roles in the upcoming story (aren’t we all).
Each is trying to win the other to their side, while being slightly confused as to whether they are light or dark themselves. A mind bridge is created between the two characters by Supreme Leader Snoke, an ingenious plot to lead Rey to them and turn her to the dark side. Rey falls for this and seeks Kylo out as she still sees good in him. This plan back fires on Snoke, resulting in his death and an impressive fight scene between Kylo and Rey, and the Praetorian Guards. I personally enjoyed this fight, the style being a favourite of mine, mainly because of the way Rey and Kylo interact and fight alongside one another against the guards (however tentative the link between the two and how little they know of each other’s fighting style). Ultimately, they go their separate ways and leave the arc open to perhaps continue in Episode IX…
I liked it! Some people said he looked weird but I was glad to see him, being my favourite Star Wars character. Not only that, he is still schooling Luke even after being “dead” for decades and pushes him past this nihilistic stage of his life. Still the most subtle and natural laughs in the film and humbly awesome.
Well that’s me being nice…moving on!
SUPERMAN/MARY POPPINS/LEIA ORGANA
Right, I get she is force sensitive and there may be precedent for this scene in other obscure pieces of lore, games or series. But COME ON? Really? Also, I get this was filmed before she passed away (RIP, love and respect) but I really thought this was going to be it for Leia in the film. And it could have been so beautiful! I could feel myself tearing up as she gracefully floated through space in a dignified end to a powerful and forever rebellious character. But then she reached out her hand and force pulled herself back?!!? To a door that was not an airlock!! Which did not seem to bother anyone?! Except shields blah blah. NO! Some may say that it was an interesting twist and wasn’t expected but I believe it was just Disney rubbish and I wholeheartedly disagree with this scene. Not only that, now Leia’s death will either be reduced to a minor mention in the opening scrolling text, or some hurried and heavily CGI’d scene in Episode IX. I just can’t…
SLOWEST. CHASE. EVER
I think this was just a plot device whose sole purpose was to legitimise a pointless, convoluted and bloated sub-plot. I’ll get to this. A very long and drawn out plot device. Which also included an unnecessary deception from Vice-Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) again, purely a device to allow Finn and Rose to go on their redundant side-mission. They could have evacuated the ship and headed to Crait while the Vice-Admiral light-speed destroyed the First Order fleet, giving more time for a battle on the surface of Crait. This could have allowed more speeder vs. AT-AT battle, a ground siege of the base, and a more interesting utilisation of Phasma. Again, I’ll get to this.
I suppose Holdo’s light-speed attack came as a last minute realisation moment to save the fleet, and I will also submit that it was a visually impressive and made for an emotional scene. BUT even the prospect of an 18 hour snail-paced space chase when it was first mentioned made many people in the audience groan. It drew the pace of the film to a grinding halt and just seemed to me like a bit of a half-baked idea in order to give Finn a quest of his own. Speaking of which…
CANTO BIGHT SUB-PLOT
During the slowest chase in history Poe, Finn and Rose formulate a plan to find an individual named the Code-Breaker, stow aboard the First Order ship and destroy the tracking device inhibiting the Resistance fleet’s escape. Finn and Rose travel to Canto Bight for what turns out to be more of moral journey for Finn; as well as a display of the subtle effects of living under a fascist First Order and how easy it is to spread hope through the galaxy. I do understand the relevance of this scene and when Finn does take a closer look at his extravagant surroundings to the injustice lingering just beneath the surface it does pluck on a few heart strings. However, the execution felt forced, the message rushed and probably did not require as much dialogue as we were given, which collectively dampens the intended impact.
After exploring the casino settlement for a while, they manage to get themselves arrested ultimately due to a parking violation. In their cell they meet DJ (Benicio Del Toro) who they dismiss as some hack criminal. They escape with the help of children, fathiers (space horses), BB-8 and DJ who they then decide to bring along in place of the Code-Breaker. This backfires when DJ betrays them to the First Order, teaching them a valuable lesson about a) trusting strangers they meet in prison cells, and b) about the people who play both sides in war. The First Order Dreadnought is fortuitously destroyed seconds before Finn and Rose are to be executed, allowing a short face-off between Finn and Phasma. This is a gross misuse of both Benicio Del Toro and Phasma; who, although we were promised a grander role for this bad-ass Storm Trooper captain, was barely used and swiftly removed.
FINN AND ROSE
They had ZERO chemistry! And yet she decides to save Finn’s life and confess her love to him? No. Just no. He started out as a deserter and has a change of heart, wait…doesn’t that sort of happen in The Force Awakens? No, it’s all for Rey, always. Could we have a little character development please? The justification for most of his heroic actions is so that Rey is able to return to a safe and protected rebellion. Up until he calls himself “rebel scum”. I must admit I chuckled. Regardless, none of this explains why Rose would inexplicably fall in love with him. They never show anything resembling attraction to one another and yet she sacrifices herself to stop him from sacrificing himself. It felt forced and like so much of their storyline, unnecessary.
WASTED TALENT AND CHARACTERS
I have touched upon a couple of these points already but I think I should re-visit them in a little more detail. As the sub-title suggests, this film has failed to utilise both actors and characters that were presented to it. Top of the list for me, personally, was Supreme Leader Snoke. He could have been an immensely superior bad guy, resembling the Palpatine/Darth Sidious kind of presence; and yet, we learned nothing of his history, back-story or motivations. What makes this even more disappointing is that Andy Serkis gives a great performance, typical for his calibre. The scene where he finally meets Rey is interesting, he was at least given the chance to display some of his own power and I liked that he had orchestrated the mind bridge between Kylo and Rey. He’s a more stable villain than Kylo Ren and is way more sinister in my opinion. But he is killed-off in an instant in a way that an all powerful being should have seen. No matter how sneaky Kylo was being.
Battle for Supremity
That does not look pleasant
Speaking of Kylo Ren, I believe this character has so much potential but in both episodes VII and VIII he is a little whiny for my taste. I understand that he is conflicted about whether he is light or dark, but he could be played as a little less emo-teenager; having tantrums and hissy fits doth not make a Supreme Leader. I also understand that this is likely down to script and direction rather than Adam Driver’s portrayal, which is very good given the material he has received.
Another First Order character to lose out in this film was Captain Phasma, Rian Johnson has inexplicably risen her from the jaws of trash compactor only to give her an insufficient amount of screen time and a second apparent death. The new films are quite saturated with antagonists, what with Snoke (Darth Sidious), Kylo Ren (Darth Vader), General Hux (Grand Moff Tarkin), Phasma (Boba Fett?) is more in the background but then why hype up the character so much? Why put a prominent actress under the mask? And not just for the lulz like with the Princes and Daniel Craig. It was just a waste of quite a sinister, mysterious character, a great actress, and a waste of bringing her back.
Moving swiftly through to the next underused talent, Benicio Del Toro as “DJ”. Firstly, DJ isn’t even the “Codebreaker” Finn and Rose were sent to find, they decide that it would be a GREAT idea to recruit a man they meet in a prison cell and are then SHOCKED when he eventually betrays them to the First Order. Showing once and for all that War is an endless cycle with an area of grey between the opposing sides full of indifferent people profiting from the spoils. Although this is a great a message and something we haven’t seen before in the Star Wars movies, the creators could have focused more on the character’s back-story, motivations and given Del Toro more room to actually perform, rather than the over-edited scenes of Canto Bight we were actually exposed to. Again, I get the relevance of Canto Bight in Finn’s development from “I must help Rey” to “Rebel Scum”; but this could have been done using DJ as the “Codebreaker” to perhaps further delve into the deference, corruption and greed seen in that Casino town. But then where would we fit in space-horse racing?
CONTINUITY DOES NOT EXIST
J. J. Abrams gave us a nostalgic return to the Star Wars franchise with The Force Awakens in 2015; although many people criticised it due to it’s uncanny resemblance to the Episode IV plot (doesn’t seem so bad now doesit?), I very much enjoyed this instalment and many times found myself squealing and fan-girling in my seat. Unfortunately, Rian Johnson has decided to ignore most of what the previous film gave us and almost create a stand-alone movie.
The fact that the Resistance destroyed the Star-Killer Base in The Force Awakens seems to be of little consequence to the First Order, as they are now chasing the Resistance to the ends of the galaxy. This is a recurring theme even within The Last Jedi, even though Holdo destroys much of the First Order fleet with her light-speed attack, the First Order still have an army with which they can launch a ground assault on Crait. Furthermore, we still aren’t really sure where the First Order have come from and why they arose. Sure we have the maniacal ramblings and speeches from General Hux in both films, and the Opening Crawl text describes them as “risen from the ashes of the Empire”, but no real explanation as to where they came from and how they have amassed apparently infinite numbers of followers in just 30 years since the Empire was destroyed. If you read a little bit deeper in to the story outside the movies, you find out that Hux’s father was part of the previous Imperial movement as an overseeing officer at Arkanis Academy. But you need to look online or watch the Star Wars Rebels series to find out any of this.
This sort of comes under both continuity and characters but I decided to put it here as it’s another example of Rian Johnson’s complete disregard for the events of The Force Awakens. Rey’s parents. Her family was introduced as a mysterious enigma, a premise that had the fan theories going wild all over the internet. Is she a Solo? Is she a Skywalker? Is it going to be another obscure character from the numerous films, literature, games, or series? Nope. They’re nobody. But we all knew that in our hearts, right? I, like so many other people, hope that Kylo was lying so that he might destabilise her and draw her to his side. Please J. J. Abrams??
I wanna just circle back to Phasma for one second. A trash compactor?! But it’s OK! She’s fine! The chrome suit is just that strong! It will probably save from that fire too…
DO YOU REMEMBER EPISODES IV, V AND VI? DO YOU? DO YOU?!
There are quite a few of these so I’m going to bullet points these:
Rebels have been found by first order and are escaping their base aka Hoth
Ahch-Too aka Degoba
Black hole on Ahch-Too aka dark tree on Degoba
Rey sees her reflection, Luke sees himself in Vader
“I feel the good in you” spoken by Luke to Vader and Rey to Kylo
Obi-Wan, A New Hope – “If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine”. Luke, The Last Jedi – Pretty much the same thing
The Emperor, Return of the Jedi – “Come, boy, see for yourself. From here, you will witness the final destruction of the Alliance and the end of your insignificant rebellion”. Pretty much the same as Snoke’s scene with Rey where he tells her to watch the destruction of the Resistance.
Over the last few weeks we’ve heard a lot about whether Mark Hamill loved or hated the film. Also seen a couple of “Not my Luke Skywalker” posts.
I didn’t hate the character entirely, again these points go across sections so I made a special section, but I didn’t appreciate the injection of comedy and the very uncomfortable space-cow scene. It also seems strange to me that he can be so trusting and sure of the good in Vader during the original trilogy, but toys with murdering Ben Solo (before Kylo) because he’s sees a little darkness. The real issue we’ve had is the inconsistency; in The Force Awakens, we are told that Luke left a map behind so that the Resistance can find him if they find themselves in great need. But now he acts stubborn and obstructive when he is found by Rey. I understand why he would be reluctant to train Rey (at this point I turned to my friend and said “Too old, yes, too old to begin the training” nearly right) but he should be more supportive of the Resistance. I see the shift from Hero to Hope they are going for in this film, but it doesn’t quite match up with The Force Awakens, and will it progress into Episode IX?
Last but not least SPOILER Luke’s death. It was very creative the way they hinted at his projection by not leaving the red indentations on the planet Crait; however, would it have been cooler if Luke had actually been there? Sure there might be a timing issue (how’d he get there so fast?! A la Batman in Dark Knight Rises) but if he’d have actually deflected that attack it would have been an incredible display of power! Or, if he’d had projected himself, then NOT died, that would also have been good. I think him allowing Kylo Ren to defeat him would have been way too similar to Obi-Wan in A New Hope.
Overall, I guess you could say I was disappointed. The Last Jedi looks and feels like a Star Wars movie but lacks conviction, continuity and emotion.
Looking forward to the next movie, in the immortal words of Master Yoda: Failure is our greatest teacher.
If you agree, disagree, or think I’ve missed something, be sure to leave a comment and follow our Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.
Back in 2014, when Guardians of the Galaxy dropped into cinemas, there was little expectation and much skepticism. Compared to established heroes like Ironman, Thor and Captain America, GOTG was a very niche franchise. With a small fan base, and Chris Pratt, who up until then, was mostly known for his comedic shenanigans in the sit-com Parks & Recs, taking the lead role in a Hollywood blockbuster. The film was a huge risk, were Marvel getting too arrogant? Well they proved the doubters wrong, GOTG proved to be a resounding success, the film brought a new level of humour and fun not seen in previous MCU entries, and it stands 5th in the list of box office takings for all Marvel releases. Can the sequel, titled GOTG :Volume 2 match the magic and charm that the original encapsulated so well?
Volume 2, takes place soon after our heroes first adventure, as we re-join the antics of Peter Quill AKA Starlord (Chris Pratt), the feisty Gamara (Zoe Saldana), the wise cracking Rocket (Bradley Cooper), deadpan Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) and the adorable Baby Groot (Vin Diesel)! With their new found fame, the team are offered more high profile missions & with increasing rewards, but after being caught attempting to hustle one of their clients, the team end up on the run, only to be saved by a mysterious man, named Ego (Kurt Russell) who claims to be the long lost father of Quill, and help him fulfill his true potential.
Where the first movie excelled in was the chemistry between the members of our ragtag team, and it’s great to say that the same level of cohesion remains with our squad. If anything, the jokes and quips are even better than the first, and the film definitely has more laughs (Trash Panda!) than the first movie! The bickering between Quill & Rocket is constantly dropping zingers, and the writers have used the traits of Drax in order to write in several well placed jokes!
The introduction of Baby Groot was a wonderful addiction, not only is he an adorable member of the group, Baby Groot also has several moments where he is involved in key parts of the story, he’s not only there for selling merchandise!
In my opinion, the most enjoyable aspect of Volume 2 is the development of the bonds between certain characters; there are several relationships that are strengthened over the course of their adventure. You have the central arc of Peter reacquainting himself with his father, Ego. But there are several characters who get a lot more depth to their persona. The aggressive vendetta that Nebula (Karen Gilan) has with her sister, Gamora is given some more time, and Nebula comes across somewhat sympathetic, with the audience having a reason to see why she is so spiteful.
Yondu (Micheal Rooker), also returns, but now is a disgraced member of the Ravagers, after he is exiled. He and Rocket share plenty of screen time together, and create a great camaraderie with each other, in turn, they learn that they may not be so different after all. Yondu has the most development here, and his progression as a character is really padded out, he is probably the stand out character in the flick!
Unfortunately, the movie, when compared to Volume 1, is not anywhere near as great. The story-line regarding Peter & Ego does seem to go on for a bit too long. It is pretty predictable where it will all end up, as the signs are seen pretty early on. Although the story line does wrap up Peter’s origin. It still feels pretty underwhelming to say the least. The majority of the movie takes place on Ego’s planet, where a bit of space travel would have been more interesting to see.
The secondary villain, Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) the snobby leader of the people of Sovereign, a race of beings with a huge superiority complex. First appears to be a real threat. But she disappears for most of the movie, only to show up again near the finale. It’s a shame we didn’t see more of her and her people, as their disdainful nature was good fun to watch!
Drax is also left on the sidelines , his sheer strength is never fully utilised. He is probably the best when it comes to the one liners, but regarding the action, he rarely has any scenes, apart from the opening credits. Drax is a mountain of muscle, but he spends most of the movie in conversation with Ego’s assistant, Mantis.
Volume 2 may not be as strong as Volume 1, and it does have a few flaws to contend with. But it’s another solid entry into the ever-expanding MCU. The film does go a lot more into our characters and their pasts, which give the movie an emotional attachment. It’s also just as hilarious as the original, which fans will savior! Oh, and make sure to hang back for FOUR post credit scenes! Their spoiling us now…..
2016 has been a tremendous year for Disney. The top 4 highest grossing films of the year all have ties with the studio. Zootropolis & The Jungle Book both sit in the Top 4. Along with Captain America: Civil War & Finding Dory, with both Marvel & Pixar having affiliation with Disney, making it a dominant year for the company. There was still time in the year for one more release; can Moana match the sensational Zootropolis from earlier in the year?
Simply put, yes! What we get is a story that is as refreshing as Mulan, which breaks away from most traditional Disney themes.
The film follows the journey of our title heroine, Moana (Auli’i Cravalho), the daughter of the island chief, who rules the tribe on a Polynesian tropical paradise. Although she is warned by her father several times to not venture beyond the island reefs, she longs for adventure, eager to see what lies beyond the horizon. Moana is tasked to return a sacred gem, back to its original resting place. In order to fulfil this, she must search for demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson), who stole the gem in the first place and now must aid her to take it back, otherwise without the gem returning, her island will eventually perish.
What makes the movie great is the perseverance of our heroine. Even after she meets the charming Maui, she still wants to prove herself. It would have been easy to let her take the back seat, and let the muscle do all the work! Maui also proves a big hit, with Dwayne Johnson bringing all his enduring charisma to the part. His role in Central Intelligence was abit awkward, but here, his act is perfect, Maui wasn’t bad, he was simply trying to help humans by gifting them the gem, unaware of its consequences, he has no ulterior motive. All he wanted was the adulation from the people he serves. Plus, his humour is on point, and the interactions with Moana are one of the brightest points of the film. Speaking of humour, Moana’s pet rooster, Heihei, provides plenty of laughs, he is the smartest of animals, even the creators have called him the stupidest character in any Disney film!
If Frozen had the theme of Ice & Snow, than the essence here is Water & Ocean. This allows the production team to use some amazing animation, especially with all the water that’s around! Zootropolis may have been incredibly detailed, but this movie is unbelievably beautiful at times. The Ocean itself is a sentient being, and has its occasional moments of banter with the audience! The subject of the film is sailing and exploration, anyone who has played the Zelda video game, The Wind Waker, will have a comforting feeling! We see Moana go from a rookie, to a master navigator, with the help of our Demigod!
With this being a Disney film, means that of course, you’ll have your fair share of song and dance. The film even makes a joke referring to the ‘breaking out in song’ troupe! The main recurring song though, sang by Cravalho, is a rather powerful melody, which will leave you humming it even after you’ve left the cinema!
The film still has a few clichés, we have the usual death of a character, which pushes our heroine to start her quest. The departing character also comes back in spirit, when our protagonist is at her lowest. The song that follows seemed a bit abrupt and ill-fitting of the situation. It would have been like Mufasa going into a song when he returned to talk to Simba! We also have the predictable moment when the two heroes fall out, which happens in most films, so can’t take away too many points for that!
With the Christmas break coming up, I would highly recommend you check this out with friends and family! The film has not received the same level of marketing and hype as previous films here in the UK, which is a tad disappointing. With is blend of gorgeous visuals, engaging story and plentiful humour, it’s one of the best Disney animations to come in the few few decades.
It’s another packed half hour show this month! For the reviews”Don’t Breathe” and “Kubo and the Two Strings” are cross-examined. Can ‘Don’t Breathe’ match ‘Lights Out’ & ‘Conjuring 2’ in the recent string of fine horror films? Can ‘Kubo’ match heavyweights Disney & Dreamworks in the field of animated feature films?
We also have a quick look at ‘Bridget Jones Baby’ & ‘Sausage Party’, to wrap up the reviews.
Marvels latest release, ‘Doctor Strange’ headlines the October release schedule. Tom Cruise returns as Jack Reacher, in the sequel ‘Jack Reacher:Never Go Back’. Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Gal Gadot & Jon Hamm all star in the comedy ‘Keeping Up With the Joneses’. Finally, as its Halloween next month, we take a look at ‘Ouija:Origins of Evil’.
We’re adding a new section to the show, where we all give our opinions on a question. This show we all discuss “What was the worst film you’ve paid to watch at the Cinema?”. Seeing a bad film is annoying enough, to pay to go watch it is even more frustrating!!
This month we take a look at the big release of the month, ”Batman v Superman, Dawn of Justice”. Was all the hype worth it? ”Zootropolis” is the latest animation from Disney, will it reach the heights of previous releases like Big Hero 6 & Frozen? Finally we discuss one of the films that have flew in under the radar, the wonderfully suspenseful ”10 Cloverfield Lane”.
Starring Neel Sethi, Ben Kingsley, Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson
I can’t even remember the last time I watched the original 1967 animated version of The Jungle Book, so it was great to see that their would be a CGI remake to bring back those childhood memories!
The story follows a similar pattern to the original. in which Mowgli (Sethi) is escorted by his mentor, Bagheera the Panther (Kingsley) to go live with his fellow humans in the village. Baloo (Murray), King Louie (Walken), Shere Khan (Elba) & Kaa (Johansson) once again all feature along with the addition of a few other characters.
In what could have just been a quick cash in for Disney, has turned out to be already one of the films of the year. With director Jon Favreau doing an excellent job in the pacing the story, with some incredible action scenes.
The CGI was always going to make or break the film, especially as 12-year-old Neel Sethi would have to act the entire film on his own, in front of a green screen, as he is the only human character in the entire movie! It cannot have been easy to act on your own for the entire film at such a young age, but the kid did well. The CGI shown here is by far some of the best we have seen, Disney did a fantastic job with all the animals, and never at any point during the film does the quality drop.
The voice casting is near perfect. Bill Murray absolutely nails it with his role as Baloo, and Ben Kingsley provides the calm assurance as Bagheera. Idris Elba does a wonderful job as the villainous Khan. Lupita Nyong’o takes up the role of Mowgli’s adopted Wolf mother Raksha, who does well to voice the pained mother who has to give up her child. One gripe would be the role of Scarlett Johansson as Kaa the Snake, who only features in the film for a brief moment. It would have been nice to the more of the deceptive snake!
The nostalgia factor will play a huge role in the enjoyment of the movie, you cant help but smile when the music for ‘Bare Necessities’ starts to fire up, and the homage to the Lion King with a stampede scene was a lovely touch. Younger members of the audience will find this the definitive version of The Jungle Book, and maybe even for some Adults! It’s no wonder a sequel is already in the works.