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The source material from Rudyard Kipling is justifiably deemed classic literature and the 1967 Disney film was a childhood favourite that still holds dear to me now. Also love a couple of other versions, especially the 1942 film with Sabu, the recent live action version and even more so Soyuzmultfilm's animation.
So there were some moderate expectations for this show, regardless of the animation quality, which didn't appeal to me, and that it didn't look like adults would enjoy it that much. Contrary to what is said here, 'The Jungle Book' (2010) is actually not really based on the Disney film, which despite my love for it doesn't have much Kipling in it other than the characters, title and setting. That there is more elements of Kipling will be appreciated somewhat. What 'The Jungle Book' (2010) lacks is the fun, energy and charm that Disney's version had and Soyuzmultfilm's animation is a much better representation of a "more faithful" adaptation.
Not an awful show by all means, there are far worse shows with cheaper quality and ones that are far more annoying. It just doesn't do much for me, and while kids may lap it up and find some enjoyment adults won't find much to enjoy, even appreciate, or find it easy to watch. For a family-oriented show, NOT kids only, that's not good.
Beginning with the good points, the music is quite good, with a catchy main theme and very energetic and beautifully orchestrated incidental music that doesn't overbear the atmosphere and the tense parts are scored appropriately. A better job generally could have been done with the characters, but Shere Khan comes off very well, he is an effectively sinister villain.
Credit should be given too for the film showing some good values, not done in too preachy a way, and how to get out of tight situations in a way that don't seem too questionable. A couple of the voice actors come off well too, especially David Holt, who is suitably menacing as Shere Khan, and Jimmy Hibbert as a kindly and fun Baloo.
Emma Tate however voices enthusiastically, but in the more tense moments it comes over as too over-eager and cocky, which comes off annoying and in need of more subtlety. The rest of the voice cast suffer from having characters that are obnoxious and sometimes useless, like the monkeys, or blandly written, as nice as it was to see the wolves more prominent little is done with making them interesting or distinct from one another. Kaa is underused generally, and Bagheera- a lenient but flatly written character- is voiced too softly and it's sometimes hard to tell whether Bagheera's meant to be male or female.
Where 'The Jungle Book' is primarily let down is in the animation. The quality would have been forgivable if this was computer animation in its early days but seeing as computer animation has come on a good deal, there was no excuse for the animation to look this cheap. Backgrounds are blocky and lack richness in detail, the colours are very flat but it's the very stiff and quite ugly character designs that come off the worst.
The story lines are far too episodic and formulaic, with too much predictability to a large degree, lack of surprises or real peril and not enough energy. They also devoid of charm, humour feels simplistically juvenile and the more tense parts are hampered by lack of suspense. Dialogue is flat, first-draft-like and constantly sounds like it's trying too hard to appeal to kids, with some groan-inducing juvenile and dull gags to boot, that adults will find little of value.
All in all, not a complete waste of time but didn't do much for me even when taking it for what it was and trying to be. Before anybody gets condescending and attacks me for seemingly judging it through adult eyes, am actually a young adult and a child at heart with an undying lifelong love for animation. 4/10 Bethany Cox
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