Daily Archives: April 30, 2016

The Jungle Book Movie Review

Earlier today, I wrote a Flashback Friday post about previous film adaptations of The Jungle Book.

This post is about the new adaptation, which premiered in theaters two weeks ago.

Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is a man-cub living in the jungle. Raised by the wolf pack, led by Akela (Giancarlo Esposito), the boy is simply part of the of the wolf pack, especially to Raksha (Lupita Nyong’o), the female wolf who took him as her own.

Together with Bagheera (Sir Ben Kingsley), the wolves and Bagheera are doing the best they can for Mowgli. But he is still a man-cub. When Shere Khan (Idris Elba) wants Mowgli dead, the wolves and Bagheera decide that it is time for the man cub to be around his own kind. What starts out as a simple journey becomes fraught with complications. Baloo (Bill Murray) wants what is best for Mowgli, but Kaa (Scarlett Johansson) and King Louie (Christopher Walken) have ulterior motives.

Fans of the 1967 animated film will be thrilled that the filmmakers kept the narrative and many of the elements that made that film a success. While it is less of a comedy and more of an action film,  it still well done and entertaining.

I recommend it.

The Jungle Book is presently playing in theaters. 

 

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The Flight Of Gemma Hardy Book Review

Jane Eyre is a respected classic. Charlotte’s Bronte’s immortal novel of a young woman who is able to rise above the challenges of her early life to find success, love and happiness has appealed to readers for a century and a half.

The Flight Of Gemma Hardy: A Novel by Margot Livesey takes Jane Eyre out of rural Victorian England and takes the story to 1950’s and 1960’s Scotland. Gemma Hardy lost her parents before she could know them. Taken in by her maternal uncle, who has also passed away, Gemma lives with her uncle’s widow and his children, who resent her and abuse her.

At the age of ten, Gemma receives a scholarship to attend school. It appears to be heaven-sent and freedom from the abuse she received from her aunt and cousins.  But it turns out that Gemma is not going as a student, but as a maid. Eight years later, the school is bankrupt and she finds work as an au pair for the mysterious Mr. Hugh Sinclair. Mr. Sinclair lives in Blackbird Hall on the remote Orkney Island. Gemma’s charge is Mr. Sinclair’s eight year old niece.

Following the narrative of the original novel, Gemma falls in love with her boss and he with her.  But there is a dark secret and a journey that the heroine must go through before she has her happy ending.

Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books.  Jane’s tenacity, strength and courage, when she is abused, mocked and taken advantage of shines through every inch of the book.

On the surface, it’s easy to take a classic and put in another era. The difficulty is to take the heart and soul of the original novel and keep those elements intact while changing the specific details of the era. Unfortunately while the author was able to transport the story and characters to Scotland in the 1950’s and 1960’s, she lost the heart and soul of Jane Eyre.

Do I recommend it? No, not even if you’re a Bronte fan.

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Late Flashback Friday Post-The Jungle Book-1967 & 1994

A fish out of water is a common tale. Among the many fish out of water tales is The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling.  Published in the 1890’s, it told the tale of a young boy named Mowgli who raised among the animals in the Indian Jungle.

In 1967, the Disney film company decided to take the book and turn the story into an animated film. Mowgli (voiced by Bruce Reitherman) is man cub living in the jungle. Baloo the bear (Phil Harris) and Bagheera the panther (Sebastian Cabot) differ on what to do with the man cub. Baloo would be happy to keep Mowgli with him, but Bagheera knows that the boy is in danger should he stay in the jungle.

 

In 1994, a live adaptation was released into theaters, also by Disney. Mowgli (Jason Scott Lee) was raised by animals in the jungle after his father was killed by a tiger. Years later, Mowgli returns to the “civilization” of Colonial India. Reuniting with his childhood sweetheart, Kitty (Lena Headey), Mowgli must find out not only where he belongs, but what he considers to be civilization.

Do I recommend them?

Let me put it this way. The 1967 adaptation is very era centric. The 1994 movie is more of a what if sequel with a bit of Tarzan in the civilized world in it to move the narrative beyond the original tale.

To answer your question, both are a maybe for me.

 

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