Spotlight - - ARTS -

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.

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