By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Disney‘s live-action update to The Jungle Book shares a few visual and narrative similarities with its 1967 counterpart. While it’s a fun nod, I thought the nostalgia was unneeded. In what I enjoyed was a look at a darker, if not more violent, road to adulthood for a child found in the woods. A few scenes will most likely frighten toddlers but for youths, they may handle the bloodshed better. In the animal kingdom, these beasts have to scrounge for their meals and in this version, part of the tale is about the survival of the fittest.
Part of why I love this world is because of Tale Spin . This Disney Afternoon cartoon used characters from this work, introduced new ones (Don Carnage is a hoot) and placed the irrepressible Baloo the Bear (voiced by Phil Harris in the ’67 film, Ed Gilbert in the ‘toon and Bill Murray in this live-action film) in the lead role. Murray nails the adorability factor easily. While there’s no denying Gilbert was following in Harris’ footsteps for tonality and characterization, the generational factor is key to defining which version is going to be the most loved.