The dark sceptre of high expectations impacted my weekend movie experience again. It is the dreaded situation where you read the reviews, talk to a few people who have seen the movie and everyone seems to be raving about it. You plunk your movie money down and see the film eagerly awaiting the lights to dim. Then they do, and you watch, sinking ever more into your seat knowing that it didn’t live up to how you expected.
The movie in question for me was Jungle Book. This live action/CGI film by Jon Favreau is a reboot of the earlier Disney cartoon based on the Rudyard Kipling book. The reviews (and rottentomatoes) have uniformly praised this film. The voices of known stars like Ben Kingsley, Bill Murray and Christopher Walken are all well integrated. There is some humour, mostly from Murray as you would expect, and the animals generally talk. There is the young Indian star in the film who is quite good. I never saw the entire animated film before, so I was not familiar with the story. I went with girlfriend and her daughter and they both were more familiar. I knew the songs (Bear Necessities and I Wanna Be Like You) but that was about it. Here the songs with the talking animals just seem out of place. They interrupt from the otherwise straight story-telling. But tell me why is that some of the animals can talk and others can’t? Mowgli even asks one, what his “language” was. Curious. If animals can talk – even the smallest of mice – then why not all?
Idris Elba, your boyfriend, sounded more and more like Liam Hemsworth I have to admit, but he had an effective role. There are some unique messages here, like the power of man, and man’s ability to impact on the environment, both the good and the bad. Further messages about cooperation and peace too. Still I left the theatre thinking – M’eh….this was a movie I hadn’t intended on seeing, and I went because it was given such positive reviews.