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The Jungle Book

I accidentally saw this in LIE-MAX 3D. Well, maybe accidentally is not the right word, but it sounded cool. It was more of a last minute surprise, given some quick thinking and schedule reshuffling based on auditoriums. I typically don't advocate for premium screens with an unnecessary upcharge, but this may have been one of the few that would be worth it.

The other big surprise was just in how enjoyable this movie was. The current trend of live action remakes of animated fairy(ish) tales has been sort of hit or miss, and nothing indicated to me this would be a hit. I was wrong.

I'm not even sure what was so right about it, but all I know is that I was instantly absorbed into the world. I do give a lot of credit to director Jon Favreau, who clearly knows how to orchestrate a true crowdpleaser (see also Iron Man, Elf). Everything just looked and felt amazing.

I expected much of the film to hinge on the nostalgia factor, and there was just enough of that. I got far giddier than I would have ever expected when I heard Christopher Walken sing "I Wanna Be Like You". But even though it was a familiar world with a familiar story, enough of the details were changed that it felt new. Sure, I mostly knew what would happen next, but there was just enough mystery to keep things fresh.

However, I think the single best thing was the voice cast. Whoever thought to cast Bill Murray as Baloo was genius. I don't think we could have had a more perfect loveable bear. He alone is worth watching for. Ben Kingsley as Bagheera was also perfection, and Scarlett Johannsen as Kaa was an inspired choice.

I don't know that I'm adequately capturing the magic of the movie. But I will say this. Watching the movie, all I could think is that I wish I was back home so that I could take my little cousins to see this. This is an experience that is truly meant to be shared with the whole family. Wow that was cheesy.

The Jungle Book - \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/
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