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Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), based on Rudyard Kipling's timeless stories and inspired by Disney's classic animated film, The Jungle Book is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who's been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he's ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo (voice of Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don't exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (voice of Scarlett Johansson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire.
Mowgli is a "man cub" raised by the Indian wolf Raksha and her pack, led by Akela, in a jungle of Seoni, Madhya Pradesh, ever since he was brought to them as a baby by the black panther Bagheera. Bagheera trains Mowgli to learn the ways of the wolves, but the boy faces certain challenges and falls behind his wolf siblings, and Akela disapproves of him using human tricks like building tools instead of learning the ways of the pack.
One day, during the dry season, the jungle animals gather to drink the water that remains as part of a truce during a drought that enables the jungle's wildlife to drink without fear of being eaten by their predators. The truce is disrupted, however, when a scarred Bengal tiger, Shere Khan, arrives, detecting Mowgli's scent in the crowd. Resentful against man for scaring him, he issues a warning that he will kill Mowgli at the end of the drought. As the wolf pack debates whether they should keep Mowgli or not, Mowgli voluntarily decides to leave the jungle for the safety of his pack. Bagheera agrees with the decision and volunteers to guide him to the nearby man village.
En route, Shere Khan ambushes them and injures Bagheera, but Mowgli manages to escape. Later, Mowgli meets Kaa, an enormous Burmese python, who hypnotizes him. While under Kaa's hypnosis, Mowgli sees a vision of his father being mauled while protecting him from Shere Khan. The vision also warns of the destructive power of the "red flower" (fire). Kaa attempts to devour Mowgli, but he is rescued by a sloth bear named Baloo. Baloo and Mowgli bond while retrieving some difficult-to-access honey for Baloo, and Mowgli agrees to stay with Baloo until the winter season arrives. Shere Khan meanwhile, upon learning that Mowgli has left the jungle, kills Akela and threatens the pack to lure Mowgli out.
Bagheera eventually finds Mowgli and Baloo and is angered that Mowgli has not joined the humans as agreed. An argument flares between Mowgli and Bagheera, but Baloo calms them down and persuades both of them to sleep on it. During the night, Mowgli finds a herd of elephants gathered around a ditch, and uses his vines to save a baby elephant from the ditch. Although Baloo and Bagheera are both impressed, Baloo realizes that he cannot guarantee Mowgli's safety after learning that he is being hunted by Shere Khan. Baloo agrees to push Mowgli away to get him to continue onward to the man village.
Mowgli is kidnapped by the Bandar-log (macaques, langurs, and gibbons) who present him to their leader, a humongous Gigantopithecus named King Louie. Assuming that all humans can make fire, King Louie offers Mowgli protection from Shere Khan in exchange for it. Baloo distracts Louie while Bagheera tries to sneak him out but their plan is discovered. As Louie chases Mowgli through his temple, he informs Mowgli of Akela's death. Louie's rampage eventually causes his temple to collapse on top of him. Furious that Baloo and Bagheera never told him about Akela's death, Mowgli goes to confront Shere Khan alone.
Mowgli steals a lit torch at the village to use as a weapon and heads back to the jungle, accidentally starting a wildfire in the process. He confronts Shere Khan, who argues that Mowgli has made himself the enemy of the jungle by causing the wildfire. Mowgli throws the torch into the water, giving Shere Khan the advantage. Baloo, Bagheera, and the wolf pack intervene and hold Shere Khan off, giving Mowgli enough time to set a trap. He lures Shere Khan up a dead tree and onto a branch, which breaks under the tiger's weight, and Shere Khan falls into the inferno. Mowgli then directs the elephants to divert the river and put out the fire.
In the aftermath, Raksha becomes the new leader of the wolf pack. Mowgli decides to utilize his equipment and tricks for his own use, having found his true home and calling with his wolf family, Baloo, and Bagheera.
Motion capture/voice performances
- Bill Murray as Baloo
- Ben Kingsley as Bagheera
- Idris Elba as Shere Khan
- Lupita Nyong'o as Raksha
- Scarlett Johansson as Kaa
- Giancarlo Esposito as Akela
- Christopher Walken as King Louie
- Garry Shandling as Ikki the Porcupine. This is Garry Shandling's very last role since he passed away in 2016. The film is dedicated to his memory.
- Brighton Rose as Grey Brother
- Jon Favreau as Fred the Pygmy Hog
- Sam Raimi as Giant Squirrel
- Russell Peters as Rocky the Rhino
- Madeline Favreau as Raquel the Rhino
Richard M. Sherman who, alongside his late brother Robert B. Sherman wrote songs for Disney's original animated Jungle Book, originally was going to write new songs for this film, but in the end, the director decided to not exactly make the film a musical, however, Richard revised some new lyrics for the song "I Wanna Be Like You" performed by Christopher Walken, and "The Bare Necessities" has been recycled from the original and sung by Bill Murray.
Differences between the book and the 2016 film
- Tabaqui, Buldeo and Chil the Kite are once again absent. Although, there is a bird in the film that resembles the Chil from the anime Shonen Mowgli.
- Ikki the porcupine is portrayed as a hoarder.
- Hathi summons everyone to the water truce.
- Shere Khan does not promise to not kill Mowgli during the water truce.
- Baloo teaches Mowgli the law of the jungle, instead of thinking the poem is silly.
- Akela gets killed by the wild holes instead of Shere Khan.
- Kaa is a female villain.
- Mowgli gets the fire from coal instead of a torch, Grey brother was also with him.
- Instead of falling into a fire, Shere Khan dies from a herd of stampeding Buffaloes. His novel death is alluded to however when he got hit by a Buffaloee in the film.
Differences between the 1967 film and the 2016 film
- Rama, Winifred, Flunkey, Shanti and the vultures are all absent.
- Bagheera first finds Mowgli after Shere Khan kills his father. In the original, he finds him on a destroyed raft.
- Raksha has many lines while she is mute in the original movie.
- The wolves have a larger role in this movie.
- Shere Khan is heavily scarred (a trait which the original book Hathi had).
- Mowgli says goodbye to his wolf family.
- The elephants are respected creatures, rather than the comedic counterparts in the animated film. The animals are required to bow in respect.
- Neither Hathi nor his son, Hathi, Jr., have any lines.
- Bagheera and Mowgli get separated after Shere Khan attacks them, as opposed to Bagheera leaving Mowgli behind due to arguments.
- Kaa is female and only appears once in the film (unless you count singing "Trust in Me" during the credits).
- Baloo meets Mowgli from saving him from Kaa. Kaa and Baloo also never interact with each other in the original.
- Bagheera finds Baloo and Mowgli when they're floating downriver instead of playfighting.
- Bagheera tells Baloo about Shere Khan's determination to kill Mowgli before the boy gets captured by the monkeys.
- Baloo lies to end his friendship with Mowgli, as opposed to being honest about the Man-Village crises.
- The monkeys don't kidnap Mowgli while he's riding Baloo.
- The other monkeys of the Bandar-log do not speak.
- King Louie is a villainous Gigantopithecus instead of a comedic orangutan.
- Baloo and Bagheera's plan to rescue Mowgli differs as well. In the original film, Baloo disguises himself a female monkey and joins the dance party while Bagheera tried to retrieve Mowgli (unsuccessfully). The plan is exposed when King Louie knocks off Baloo's disguise. In this movie, Baloo simply strolls into the temple and creates a large distraction by talking loudly and acting like a fool while Bagheera sneaks in and signals Mowgli. They nearly escape, until a monkey notices and sounds the alarm. Furthermore, in the original film, the plan is concocted by Bagheera(although Baloo is distracted by the music and dances away), while in this film, Baloo is the one who comes up with the plan.
- The Man-village only appears briefly and is never actually visited.
- Shere Khan dies in the climax, whereas he escaped alive in the original.
- Mowgli stays in the jungle in the end, while in the original, he hears a girl singing as she fills her jug at a river and follows her back to the man-village.
- Because Orangutans are not native to India, this iteration of King Louie is a Gigantopithecus instead (an extinct species of ape), however, he has an orangutan resemblance.
- Kaa is a female instead of male: this is the third time that a Disney character has been depicted as the opposite gender from their original Disney depiction, the first being Bagheera in The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story, and the second being Jaq in Cinderella (not counting Rafiki's and Terk's film and Broadway versions), as well as the second time any Jungle Book character is depicted as the opposite gender from his original Disney depiction.
- In The Jungle Cubs: Born to Be Wild DVD, there is a scene, where Kaa tries to eat Mowgli before Baloo throws Kaa into a big hole. The fighting scene between Kaa and Baloo in this film may have been inspired by the scene from Jungle Cubs.
- Even though King Louie is now an official villain, in that film, he was already believed to be a villain, by some Disney fans.
- This is Disney's third live-action film adapted from The Jungle Book. The other two were Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book and The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story.
- The soundtrack album is scheduled to be released the same day as the film, April 15th.
- The trailers and TV spots for the film are in 1:85.1 aspect ratio but during the showings of Zootopia in theaters, the Super Bowl trailer is in 2:39.1 aspect ratio.
- This is only the third of many live-action reimaginings of Disney animated films released in the 21st century, following Maleficent and Cinderella. Upcoming is Beauty and the Beast, with many others in development.
- This is Garry Shandling's last movie, since he died in 2016. The film is dedicated to his memory.
- This is the second of three Disney movies released in 2016 to feature the voice of Idris Elba. He previously voiced Chief Bogo in Zootopia, and would later voice Fluke in Finding Dory.
- While not a musical, The Bare Necessities, Trust in Me, and I Wanna Be Like You are the only original songs to perform in the film.