If Rudyard Kipling was alive today and got a chance to see 2016's warmly felt, state-of-the-art "The Jungle Book," he would not believe his eyes. Kipling's timeless 1894 story collection was inspired by his early childhood spent living in India and allegedly written for daughter Josephine, who passed away at age 6 in 1899. A grand adventure featuring anthropomorphic animals and a lot of heart, the book was a personal work for the author—one which director Jon Favreau (2014's "Chef") and screenwriter Justin Marks (a long way from 2009's "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li") have lovingly conceived for the screen. At once a remake of Disney's 1967 animated musical and a straight adaptation of Kipling's opening story in the anthology, called "Mowgli's Brothers," "The Jungle Book" is a visionary showstopper that nonetheless never misplaces the tale's characters and emotions. That the film was shot exclusively at L.A. Center Studios in downtown Los Angeles is beyond comprehension; never for so much as a second does this look like it was shot anywhere but on location in the Indian jungle.
Abandoned in the wilderness as a toddler, young human Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is saved from certain death by black panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) and subsequently raised as one of wolf couple Akela (voice of Giancarlo Esposito) and Raksha's (Lupita Nyong'o) own. Trained to run with the pack, Mowgli is happy with his place among the animals of the jungle until his life is suddenly put into jeopardy. As he has continued to grow, unforgiving tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba) sees this man-cub as a direct threat to his domain. The boy is begrudgingly sent off with Bagheera en route to a nearby village where the hope is he can be safe to grow up with his own kind, but Shere Khan makes it clear he will not rest until Mowgli is dead.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review