Less than a decade ago, “live-action Disney” meant The Game Plan, College Road Trip, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Then the success of 2010’s Alice in Wonderland taught the studio they could dust off an animated classic, give it the live-action treatment modern CGI afforded, and rake it the big bucks. The six years since have brought about live-action adaptations of Fantasia, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and now, 1967’s The Jungle Book.
Of course, long before The Jungle Book was Disney’s nineteenth “Animated Classic,” it was a cherished collection of stories by Rudyard Kipling. To its credit, Jon Favreau’s take on Kipling’s tales mostly goes the latter as its source whenever a choice is called for, resulting in a tale with a more suitably dark tone. Unfortunately, rather than be allowed to become its own creation, The Jungle Book too often gets needlessly muffled by paying tribute to its animated forebear. Continue reading