The legendary Jungle Book lives again, bear necessities and all

Whether cartoon-animated or live-action, “The Jungle Book” is one of Disney’s most beloved classics. The original animated film was made by Walt Disney Productions in 1967.

The 2016 live-action film returns to the jungle of India with some new twists on the story that we are all familiar with.

“Maintaining the buoyant heartbeat beneath all the digital flash, (director) Favreau never loses sight of the fact that he’s making an adventure story for children,” said Andrew Barker, senior features writer of Variety.

The main protagonist, Mowgli, played by Neel Sethi, is a human boy found in the jungle by the panther, Bagheera, voiced by Ben Kingsley, who takes him to be raised by a pack of wolves.

That is until the tyrannical, vengeful antagonist, Shere Khan the tiger, voiced by Idris Elba, objects, and swears to murder the man cub and all who try to protect him the longer he tries to call the jungle home.

“‘The Jungle Book’ is shot beautifully, and has a fantastic sense of wonder within the world being created,” said Eric Eisenberg of Cinemablend. “That translates into big-screen magic.”

The film itself proved to be great with only some minor plot holes.

In the original, Mowgli’s foster parents were a mother and father wolf raising their young cubs.

This adaptation only showed a mother wolf (Lupita Nyong’o). There was nothing wrong with this idea, but the difference is clearly noticeable.

Another off-putting but improved character was the snake, Kaa, voiced by Scarlett Johansson.

I realize they wanted to give Kaa a minor perspective change. In the original, Kaa was a male serpent, and you could tell from the sound of his voice just how devious he was.

This can be easily overlooked though. The new Kaa was just as good and actually seemed to be more convincing.

Despite these minor oddities and the omission of characters, I would give the film an A+, a job well-done.

The new Baloo, voiced by Bill Murray, proved impressive and comical. However, he cut “The Bare Necessities” song short.

King Louie, voiced by Christopher Walken, also seemed to set the tone for his scene inside the ruins of an old temple. Whereas the original orangutan sounded like he had his own jazzy nightclub, this King Louie was a combination of a gangster and King Kong.

“‘The Jungle Book’ is proof that even the crassest commercial imperatives can be transcended when imbued with love and creativity,” said Christopher Orr, senior editor and the principal film critic of The Atlantic.

I enjoyed the use of imaging, the effects and, most of all, the voice portrayals of each animal.

Bagheera kept a wise teacher-like persona and Baloo stayed true by being laid back with a heart. I was most impressed with Shere Khan.

Compared to the original, the tiger was meaner and seemed to have more command of the screen. He definitely sounded like someone nobody wanted to mess with.

“The Jungle Book” is a job well-done and highly worth seeing. Jon Favreau has truly brought new life to a classic legend.