(Chris Stuckmann Movie Reviews intro plays)
Chris Stuckmann: The Jungle Book is directed by Jon Favraeu, and is the 17th adaptation of Jungle Book. We've seen quite a bit of them. I made that number up. I don't even know if that's true. (Laughs) But it feels like it is.
(An image of all the characters in the movie is shown)
Chris (vo): This is a live-action version, it was entirely done in LA, in sets. Not a single scene was filmed in an actual jungle. All the animals and locations are CGI...
Chris: ...combined with actual sets, and that's kind of insane. And I went into this movie saying, "Wow. This is going to be so bad." I was so upset they didn't film anything on location. It seemed like a giant cop-out, it seemed like a total CGI crutch.
(An image of Mowgli and Bagheera is shown, as well as an image of Shere Khan)
Chris (vo): And if you know anything about The Jungle Book, then you know this is about a little boy named Mowgli, who is raised in the jungle by wolves, and is eventually challenged by Shere Khan, the tiger who rules over this area, and has to try to escape his grasp by finding his people.
Chris: So it's time for me to eat some major crow here. Uh, this movie was fantastic. I was consistently blown away by this movie. The CG here is absolutely astounding. It's some of the best CG work I've ever seen. The technical prowess it took to make this movie blew me away. I am so stunned by the look of this film, by the CG work done with the animals, the motion capture work combined with the onset filming.
(A close-up of the movie's poster is shown)
Chris (vo): This truly is a masterpiece of CGI work, and I am blown away by what they were able to accomplish.
Chris: Because I was one of those people that was like, "No! That's stupid and dumb! Why are they doing it all with CG? CG sucks! We need practical effects!"
(An image of Bagheera is shown)
Chris (vo): Particularly Bagheera, the black panther. I don't know if in 10 years, it'll look this great, but right now, today, watching this movie, that thing was real.
Chris: And I cannot believe they were able to do that, because we are actually getting to that point where sometimes, you can actually, you're like, "Is that CG?" See, I grew up with the 1994 live-action adaptation, which today, doesn't hold up as well. It's still kind of fun, but, you know, it's not really the greatest movie. And, of course, the original 1967 animated film. But I can tell you that if I was 12 years old today and I saw this movie for the first time, I would grow up telling everyone it's a classic. It would be my definitive Jungle Book movie for the rest of my life. This movie is incredibly well made. But on the flipside, I am also a full grown man now, and I think this will be my definitive version of The Jungle Book. I can't see another adaptation of The Jungle Book being this good, even though they are actually working on one right now, which is kind of nuts, and we'll see how that goes in a couple years, since it's directed by Andy Serkis. So that's interesting. But that just goes to show you that this movie is great for kids and adults. A kid who saw this movie today would be like, "This is incredible. I love this. I want to buy every action figure. I want to buy all the animals, I want to buy all the plushies." But my theater was also loaded with adults, who seemed to have a great time, too.
(An image of Baloo and Mowgli is shown)
Chris (vo): So it's one of those movies that really fits both demographics. Let's talk about Bill Murray as Baloo. I mean, could they have made a better choice?
Chris: Idris Elba was very haunting as Shere Khan. I mean, he did a fantastic job. My issues with the movie revolve around a few things, and they're fairly mynew. To the newcomer who plays Mowgli mostly does a very good job, but there are a few times where he has shifty eyes, and you can kind of tell he's a little unsure what he's acting to. And that's understandable. This is his first movie. And to be honest, he really did a great job. But there were a few moments where you could tell he was kind of acting to nothing, trying to struggle to figure out exactly what he's supposed to be looking at right now.
(An image of Kaa and Mowgli is shown)
Chris (vo): Also, the sequence with Kaa the snake, played by Scarlett Johansson, while impressive, it felt like a departure.
Chris: It was very exposition-heavy, and I didn't really appreciate it that much, but it wasn't like I looked at that and said, "I don't like watching this scene." It just felt like a departure from the rest of the film.
(An image of King Louie and Mowgli is shown)
Chris (vo): And that's really it. I loved Christopher Walken as this giant king ape. My God, that was incredible.
Chris: He sings the song and everything. I was in heaven. Christopher Walken singing a song as a giant monkey. (Beat) Can you really get better than that? I don't think you can. (Laughs) Guys, this movie was great. It surprised me on so many levels. Jon Favreau absolutely pulled it off. Please direct the stand-alone Star Wars movies, sir. You would do a great job. This is a CGI masterwork.
(A poster of Mowgli and Bagheera is shown)
Chris (vo): I'm gonna give The Jungle Book an A-.
Chris: So, guys, I just want to say, my wife and I had been floored by the things you guys have sent in the PO box, some really funny stuff. Somebody sent me the Dragonball Evolution soundtrack. I died laughing seeing that. That was so funny. (Brings out several things from the PO) A Batman v Superman comic was sent to me, as well as a Batman short film, which I hope to see soon. Dances with Wolves on Blu-Ray, which I did not have. A very cool novel about horror films, which I'm excited to read. And something else that just...I just can't. (Reveals a Star Wars DVD box) Someone sent me a Harmes and specialized editions of Star Wars, like, with a complete Blu-Ray set that they built. Sir, I popped these in yesterday, and I, just...thank you. Your name's Kurt? Thank you very much, Kurt. I am, just...I don't deserve this, man. I really don't deserve this. I...don't. You guys are the best. Thank you so much. Now, today's actually my birthday, and I'm trying to get some work done as well as do some other stuff this weekend with my friends and family, so we'll see how that goes. But I do want to review Criminal and, hopefully, Barbershop 3 as well, because I'm a fan of Ice Cube and I'm hearing some good things about that movie. So I do want to see it. Guys, you are the best. Thank you so much as always for watching, and if you like this, you can click right here and get Stuckmannized.