It seems that no matter what medium they're working in these days, Disney can do no wrong. After the massive global success of the exceptional Zootopia, they've scored another delightful success with their second live action remake after Cinderella.
Jon Favreau's take on Rudyard Kipling's classic tale is an exercise not only in great story-telling but also in love for Disney. It is a fan's love letter to the house that Walt built and a stunning achievement in narrative and effects, laced with some exceptional action sequences and brilliant central performances. To say that it will deserve to be considered among the Oscar contenders next year is no exaggeration. That it will be among this year's highest box office earners also seems assured - or at least it deserves to be.
It's just that good.
Despite the fact that the film is set in a jungle (obviously), and the inherent limitations of referencing other universes, The Jungle Book is also stuffed with Easter Eggs, references and in-jokes, making it a multi-layered pleasure for fans. Favreau has created an affectionate, nostalgia filled charmer, and spotting the nods is incredibly fulfilling...
17. The Castle Make-over
As tends to be the way these days, the Disney castle ident that plays before the film starts is given a bespoke redesign treatment fitting the film. Obviously there aren't too many castles in the middle of the jungle but the redesign to look more like Eastern architecture is a nice touch and the pull-back from the hand-painted cell into the very real jungle is magical.
The way the castle is integrated and the drifting camera that takes the audience into the forest also feels extremely reminiscent of the opening tracking shot through the trees in Bambi...