A human child raised by wolves must face off against a menacing tiger named Shere Khan, as well as his own origins.A human child raised by wolves must face off against a menacing tiger named Shere Khan, as well as his own origins.A human child raised by wolves must face off against a menacing tiger named Shere Khan, as well as his own origins.
The story of Mowgli follows the upbringing of a human kid who's raised by a pack of wolves as one of their own and learns about the harsh but sacred jungle laws under the tutelage of a bear & a black panther. But when his life is threatened by a Bengal Tiger, he's forced to leave the community and must face the truth about his human origins.
Directed by Andy Serkis, the mature themes at play here coupled with more serious approach than earlier adaptations only means that this tale had far greater potential than anyone realised. And it would've absolutely decimated Jon Favreau's take had Serkis managed to refine the narrative and rid the plot of tonal issues that plague it throughout.
Employing motion-capture to make sure the actors' renditions are reflected in their CGI roles, the facial attributes of few animal characters resemble the actors playing them to such an extent that it's somewhat distracting at times. Visual effects isn't up to the mark either, for the CGI looks cartoonish on few occasions while other times it is seamless.
The film attempts to dig into the struggle of a human boy trying to pass as a wolf but in the end, it turns out to be a quick skim instead of a deeper examination. However, the man-cub acts more primal & animalistic in this version, which actually is a much better & more realistic portrait of a character who grew up in a jungle alongside wild animals.
The acting department includes actors performing in live-action, rendering their act with motion capture & lending their voices to their CGI characters and many do well in their respective roles. Christian Bale is quite assuring as Bagheera. Andy Serkis is having too much fun as Baloo. And though Benedict Cumberbatch is fascinating as Shere Khan, he overdoes it at times.
Rohan Chand plays the eponymous character and he is outstanding in the role, far better than that forgettable kid in Disney's live-action flick. Freida Pinto & Matthew Rhys chip in with fine work in their human roles. The background score also lands on the positive side. But the film isn't savage enough, refusing to dig its teeth & rip off the flesh from the body, and that is disappointing.
On an overall scale, Mowgli tackles an ambitious, audacious & far more appealing side of Rudyard Kipling's magnum opus but its improper execution & uneven tone prevents it from realising its full potential. Failing to strike an emotional chord in a way that resonates strongly with the heart, Mowgli has its shares of ups n downs but its interpretation of the famous mythology is actually more interesting than the last attempt. Worth a shot, despite the shortcomings.
- Dec 8, 2018