Jungle Book

Panther and Wolf 2

Just went to see the new 3D Jungle Book film.

Well I don’t think I’ve ever before seen a film that makes me feel like it should be one of the ‘seven wonders of the modern world’.  The fact that we’re able to create such a thing – imagine what all previous generations would have thought if they’d seen it.  It’s magical, wonderful.

So, Jurassic Park had occasional computer-generated dinosaurs.  Things like the Narnia films had some talking animals – Aslan, etc, and lots of animals in the battle scenes.  The Life of Pi had a very realistic tiger, but it was only in the second part of the film.  The Golden Compass has lifelike talking Polar Bears, but they still share the screen with a mostly human cast of characters.  But this films is pure CGI animals beginning to end.  The only live character is the boy Mowgli (and glimpses of other humans).  Probably the backdrops were all computer-generated as well.  Certainly I don’t think there’s even a glimpse of a real animal in it.  They are pure technology, and yet these days so very cleverly, perfectly done.  The way the panther walks and leaps, the fur of the bear and of the wolves.  Fantastic fight scenes between the animals, and the monkeys in the temple, all different sizes, scurrying about.

There must be some reason that there aren’t films featuring deceased human actors yet.  If they can make such a perfect panther and bear out of bits of computer program, surely they can make a passable Elvis Prestley or Marilyn Monroe?

As soon as I realised it was all computer-generated animals though, I had a dreadful feeling that, that’s it – now we can create whatever creatures we like on the screen, the real animals out there are doomed.  That will be the future.  Real tigers and wolves and bears will be extinct, and there will only be electronic versions.  They will become like dinosaurs – recreations only.  Children won’t know the difference between a real panther and one in a film that talks – they’ll think they were all like that.

Anyway, I thought it was a very impressive film.  Loved the 3D touches, especially when something is ‘pointing’ right out of the screen at you, like a snake’s head or a pangolin’s nose.

It slightly jarred that the boy had such a broad American accent – in old live-action versions of the film he’s always an Indian boy with an Indian accent, but I guess that’s old-fashioned and defunct; and it’s so far removed from reality anyway, that he’s actually conversing with the animals.

Don’t leave before the credits, which are fun.

Panther and Wolf