Starring: Bill Murray, Neel Sethi, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken, Giancarlo Esposito
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Disney’s live action film directed by Jon Favreau about the adventure of an orphaned Indian boy named Mowgli (Neel Sethi) who is raised by a pack of wolves led by Akela (Giancarlo Esposito). But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by a black panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo (Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures that don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (Scarlett Johansson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower, fire.
Bagheera: Many strange tales are told of this jungle. But none so strange as the tale of the cub we call Mowgli.
Bagheera: [to Mowgli] If you can’t to learn with the pack one of these days you’ll be someone’s dinner.
Shere Khan: I can’t help but notice there’s a strange odor today. Man is forbidden!
[as Shere Khan jumps to attack Mowgli Bagheera interjects and gets knocked aside]
Bagheera: Run, Mowgli!
Bagheera: The jungle is no longer safe for you.
Mowgli: But this is my home!
Bagheera: Only man can protect you now.
Bagheera: The jungle is no longer safe. I’ll return him to where he belongs.
Bagheera: Maybe I can be of help. The boy’s right, maybe it’s time to count on other people.
Bagheera: I’m the one who brought him to you and now I’ll return him to where he belongs.
Raksha: I won’t let you. He’s my cub!
Akela: We knew this day would come.
Raksha: We are the only family he’s ever known!
Akela: Raksha, it’s the only place he’ll be safe.
Mowgli: It’s okay, ami, I won’t got far. I’ll come back and visit.
Raksha: Never forget this, you’re mine, mine to me, no matter where you go or what they may call you, you will always be my son.
Mowgli: Hello? Who’s out there.
Kaa: Hi, little cub. Oh, no, don’t be scared. I’m not going to hurt you. Are you alone out here?
Mowgli: I’m waiting for a friend. He should be here soon.
Kaa: We should never be alone. I’ll keep you safe.
Mowgli: Who are you?
[Mowgli sees Kaa for the first time, slithering towards him]
Kaa: Kaa. I know what you are. I know where you came from. Would you like to see?
[Mowgli looks into Kaa’s eye and she shows him what happened to Mowgli when he was a baby]
Kaa: Mostly men stay in their village, but sometimes they travel, and when they do their caves breathe in the dark, they call it the Rat Flower. It brings warmth and light and destruction to all that it touches.
[referring to the man looking down at a young baby]
Mowgli: Who is that?
Kaa: The traveler protecting his cub.
[we see Shere Khan sneaking up on the man before killing him]
Kaa: Shere Khan ended the man’s life. The panther found the cub, and that cub was you.
Kaa: [to Mowgli] Poor sweet little cub. Are you alone out here? What are you doing so deep in the jungle? Don’t you know what you are? I know what you are. I know where you came from.
Kaa: [to Mowgli] Poor little sweet cub. I’ll keep you close. Let go of your fear now. And trusssst in me.
King Louie: You are a man-cub who wants to live in the jungle.
Mowgli: How do you know that?
King Louie: Kid, I got ears. My ears got ears. Only I can protect you.
Baloo: [singing] Forget about your worries and your strife.
Mowgli: What’s that?
Baloo: That’s a song about the good life.
Baloo: [Mowgli wakes up and screams in shock] Relax, kid. No need to get worked up, okay?
Mowgli: Where am I?
Baloo: This is a cave. It’s my cave. You don’t remember what happened, do you?
Baloo: I saved your life. Yeah, I snatched you from the jaws of death, the coils of death if you will, and lucky for you, your new favorite hero, old Baloo here, just happened to be passing by. No big deal. Just tell me this, can you climb?
Baloo: Then let’s quit wasting time and get on with it.
Mowgli: Get on with what?
Baloo: Payback, kid. Payback.
[Baloo starts walking out of the cave]
Mowgli: What do you mean payback? Payback for what?
Baloo: If you send him back to the man village they’ll ruin him. They’ll make a man out of him.
Bagheera: [referring to Shere Khan] He will stop at nothing until he has this boy.
Baloo: If anything happens to that kid, I’ll never forgive myself.
Bagheera: Come on, Mowgli, let’s be on our way.
Mowgli: But I’m helping Baloo get ready for hibernation.
Bagheera: Bears don’t hibernate in the jungle!
Baloo: Not full hibernation, but I nap, a lot.
Shere Khan: You change your hunting ground for a few years, and everyone forgets how the Law works. Well, let me remind you. A man-cub becomes a man, and man is forbidden!
Akela: Mowgli is a member of our pack!
Shere Khan: Mowgli. They’ve given it a name! When was it we come to adopt man to this jungle?
Akela: He’s just a cub.
Shere Khan: [referring to his scars] Does my face not remind you of what grown man can do?
Shere Khan: [to Mowgli] I want him dead.
Mowgli: I’m Mowgli, and this is my home!
Baloo: What did I tell you? He’s special.
Bagheera: I know he’s special. I raised him.
Baloo: Then don’t make him leave Bagheera. You got to let him be what he is.
Bagheera: You don’t understand. The boy’s in danger.
Baloo: I know he told me. He’s being hunted by a tiger.
Bagheera: Not any tiger Shere Khan.
Baloo: Shere Khan’s hunting him? Oh. But if you send him back to the man village they’ll ruin him. They’ll make a man out of him. We should send him back to the wolf pack. Who’s their alpha? Akela. He can protect him.
Bagheera: Akela is dead.
Bagheera: Shere Khan killed him. He will stop at nothing until he has this boy. Nothing. The only way we can save him is if he goes to that man village. Please Baloo. You’re the only one he’ll listen too.
Shere Khan: Did you think I would let you grow old? Either I’ll devour you or the red flower will. It’s only a matter of time. How long did you really think you’ll survive in the jungle? Longer than your father? Longer than Akela?
Mowgli: I’m not afraid of you! Do you hear me? I’m not running from you!
[Shere Khan roars and leaps at the end of the branch to tackle Mowgli, Mowgli manages to jump onto a vine, the branch snaps and Shere Khan falls to his death]
Shere Khan: Nooo!