FILM PREVIEW | ADVENTURE
Just when you thought that Jon Favreau’s 2016 film version of The Jungle Book was the last word on Rudyard Kipling’s beloved story, along comes another interpretation of this classic tale of jungle life. But is there anything left to say?
It appears that there is. For one thing, British director Andy Serkis’s film is called Mowgli. This shifts the focus of the film firmly on to the development of the human character of that name (Rohan Chand) and on to his journey to adulthood and self-awareness. Another new aspect is Serkis’s decision to give the animals more mythical roles — closer to those imagined by Kipling. Both the elephant, Hathi, and the serpent, Kaa (voiced by Cate Blanchett), appear as ancient jungle souls guiding Mowgli on his journey. The panther, Bagheera (voiced by Christian Bale), and the bear, Baloo, are jungle warriors training Mowgli to survive. Shere Khan (spoken by Benedict Cumberbatch) is still the bad guy. Now he also controls the monkeys. The arrival of a white man with his gun threatens to disturb the already delicate jungle order. Mowgli may not feature any singing monkeys, but with its impressive visuals and soundtrack, this is certainly highclass drama and first-class entertainment. Starts 25 October.