It was only two years ago that we saw a live-action Disney film based on Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book so when the trailer for Andy Serkis’ Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle dropped, many, including me, had the same question, ‘Do we need another film on The Jungle Book?’ In the past, we have all seen various adaptations of many popular stories and while each adaptation is a unique take, the comparisons are bound to happen. Here too, comparisons always stay at the forefront and mainly because this adaptation is vastly different from what we have seen before.
Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle starts with an infant sitting all alone in a jungle where he is discovered by Bagheera and after much deliberation, the pack of wolves decide to make him one of their own. But life isn’t all fun and games for this man-cub and his problems are more internal and existential in nature than just fighting against Shere Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch). Bagheera (Christian Bale) and Balloo (Andy Serkis) are his constant companions but unlike the good cop-bad cop behaviour we have gotten used to, the two are tough taskmasters for the boy. Balloo and “Bare Necessities” have been synonymous since the 1967 Disney animated film but the Balloo we see here, is not the adorable bear who loves honey but a sergeant-like-figure who is focused on preparing Mowgli for the tough life of the jungle.