Live action remake of the Jungle Book makes it to the big screen

Chloe DeRosa, Computer Expert

Running into the forest is a young boy, a boy who has never learned the meaning of being human. Mowgli is about to find his place in the world whether it be as the man cub he was raised to be or the human he was born as. After forty-nine years, the live action film of “The Jungle Book” brings the original movie to life on the big screen.

“It shows how childhood innocence is easily manipulated by a child’s surroundings. Mowgli is influenced by the jungle’s dangerous animals as well as the ones he calls friends,” said Alyssa Nash, junior.

The original stories of the “The Jungle Book” started out as short stories written in magazines by Rudyard Kipling in 1893 and 1894, according to “Screen Rant.” The stories gradually grew and were published into books by the author’s father, John Lockwood Kipling.

The first three stories of the series tell the tale of Mowgli who is raised by wolves and is taught by his friends, the bear Baloo and the black panther, Bagheera, the ways of the jungle in hopes that the young boy will become more like the creatures of the jungle, rather than an animal-hunting human.

“[The movie] is a fantasy about a boy living among both friendly and dangerous animals, and coming of age,” said Jon Favreau, director, in his interview with “The Telegraph.”

According to “Screen Rant,” the first live action version of the Jungle Book was released in 1942 and focuses on Mowgli’s adulthood in the human world. The newest version focuses on Mowgli’s childhood as he tries to find his place among the creatures of the jungle.

Actors Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken, Lupita Nyong’o and Giancarlo Esposito play animated characters Baloo, Shere Kahn, Bagheera, Kaa, King Louie, Raksha and Akela, respectively.

According to “Monster Lists,” over 2,000 people lined up to audition for the part of the main character, Mowgli. A child who has never acted before, twelve-year-old Neel Sethi, stole the spotlight. Sethi’s secret is “trying not to act.”

“I’ve never acted before; it was my first audition. I never thought about acting before, but then I thought ‘alight.’ My dad said ‘You have to be good. You’re not supposed to be yourself. You’re supposed to act!’ But they didn’t like it when I acted. They liked me when I was myself,” said Sethi.

While the similarities between the original 1967 film and the live action film of 2016 do not go unnoticed, the character King Louie takes on a different persona. In the 1967 version of the “Jungle Book,” the ape was an orangutan, but in the new film, the ape is a large, extinct creature called a gigantopithecus.

The python, Kaa, played by Scarlett Johansson, is a female in the new movie, rather than male like in the 1967 version. According to “Monster Lists,” the onset of female characters was scarce in the original film. For that reason, Favreau decided to put them into the new version.

“It shows how some people are like snakes by trying to make you do something you do not want to do, which sometimes women are a lot like that,” said Nash.

The new version is not a musical, like the original was, but includes excerpts of the original songs within the movie either in the background or as part of the story. Bill Murray sings Baloo’s song “Bare Necessities” during the scene where Baloo and Mowgli take a leisurely swim in a river.

“The songs are supposed to by a moving, sentimental element towards people. It helps you keep in touch with your emotions, which Baloo tries to teach Mowgli and the audience,” said Nash.

The new movie’s use of recurring plot lines, characters and songs allow fans to relive the thrill of the original movie, while still giving the movie hints of mystery and suspense. Favreau says that keeping parts of the original film is important to the pleasure of reliving old memories.