There are “great movies” and then there are great movies. Anong pinagkaiba? Kunwari, The Godfather. Universally accepted yan as a great movie diba? One of the best. Sa katunayan pag may nagsasabi sakin na pinanunuod niya yun at nakatulog siya sinasabi ko na lang sa madiplomasyang paraan na “siguro pagod ka lang nun, panuorin mo na lang ulit” imbis na dukutin ko yung mata niya for blasphemy.

Pero yung Finding Nemo, maganda rin naman yun diba? Not on the level of The Godfather siyempre pero maganda pa rin. Pag nagpapa-impress ka sa ka-date mo hindi mo naman pwedeng banggitin yun na isa sa mga pelikulang nagandahan ka unless 10 years old lang kayo ng ka-date mo at ang date niyo ay sa Kidzania.

For all the grief the critics got for Batman v. Superman, I have to admit that they still do get it right most of the time. As of this writing, The Jungle Book currently has a rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Hindi pa siya released sa US so sigurado magbabago pa yan lalo na pag may gumawa ng review na nagkataong galit sa mundo ng araw na yun for whatever reason. But for initial reviews? That’s really impressive.

The Jungle Book sits somewhere between “great” and great in my opinion. And that’s not a bad place to be in. It’s a great movie, I’m just not sure how great it is. As a whole, I can’t find any fault in it pero hindi naman kasi complicated ang kwento e. It’s actually one of the most well-loved stories from literature. By now we probably all know the story. A boy is left alone in the jungle, is saved by a Bagheera the panther, is raised by a pack of wolves, befriends a bear named Baloo, has to go back to his people or risk being killed by Shere Khan the tiger. So basically para siyang general patronage version ng The Revenant kung imbis na kinagat sa leeg at tinapaktapakan yung ulo ni Leonardo DiCaprio nung bear e naging magkaibigan sila at nagkantahan sila.

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Sa Jungle Book, sumakay si Mowgli sa tiyan ng isang bear habang kumakanta sila. Sa Revenant, pumasok si DiCaprio sa tiyan ng isang patay na kabayo. Kung di pa siya nanalo ng Oscar nun malamang nasapak niya na si Eddie Redmayne.

Kung napanuod niyo yung movie or kahit yung trailer man lang, I’m sure napansin niyo kung gaano kaganda yung CGI. But it’s even more impressive once you find out that almost the whole movie is CGI. Kung nabilib kayo dun sa tiger sa Life of Pi, well isipin niyo na lang kung buong gubat ginawa nilang ganun. Mula sa maliit na daga hanggang sa elepante. In this day and age, mahirap na tayong maimpress sa special effects and CGI. Maski mga TV shows gumagamit na ng CGI e. Maski Wansapanataym sa ABS-CBN gumagamit na ng CGI. Pero iba yung ginamit dito. Not since Avatar have we seen something like this. Isipin mo bawat damo, bawat patak ng ulan, bawat balahibo ni Baloo, computer generated lang. Pag nababasa yung mga hayup sa ulan nakikita mo yung patak ng tubig sa buhok nila at kung paano unti-unting nagbabago yung itsura nila habang mas nababasa sila. Of course it’s not perfect. May mga scenes na mapapansin mong naka-angat si Mowgli sa background niya. Pero nag ninitpick na lang tayo niyan. Parang sinabi mong di gaanong maganda si Charlize Theron kasi mas makapal yung kilay niya sa kaliwa by 5% kesa sa kanan.

I don’t know if it’s a testament to the technology or the directing, but the animals in this movie feel organic. Makakalimutan mo minsan na hindi sila totoong mga hayup e. And with motion capture technology, nakaka-arte na yung mga animals. You can actually imagine Bill Murray doing the mannerisms that Baloo is doing in the movie. Yung mga subtle head movements, pag shift ng mata to convey emotions. Hindi na sila emotionless sprites ngayon. With the way things are going now, hindi na ko magugulat pag eventually nagkaron ng “Best Animated Character” award sa Oscars kasi you can’t not recognize these things anymore. (Double negative yan alam ko, oo na oo na!)

As these things go, the casting is sometimes half the battle. And for this movie, the casting was perfect. Bill Murray as Baloo, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Christopher Walken as King Louie, Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, and Idris Elba as Shere Khan. Hindi ako makapili kung anong paborito ko diyan kasi lahat sila bagay e. Parang sinulat yung script with their voices in mind. They helped bring to life all the characters that we grew up with in the book and the cartoons. Pero balewala lahat yan kung hindi magaling si Neel Sethi as Mowgli. As the only live actor there, isipin mo paano shinoot yan araw araw siyang nasa harap ng green screen tapos mag eemote at kakausap ng puppets. Hindi lahat kaya yan sa edad niyang yan e. Tingnan niyo na lang si Hayden Christiensen sa Star Wars. Parang mannequin lang na nagsasalita diba?

I’ve always loved the cartoons so I’m really glad that director Jon Favreau was able to give justice to the source material. Tama lang yung pacing and yung tone nung movie. They made it exciting pero hindi naman masyadong gritty. Pwede sa mga bata pero maeenjoy pa rin nung mga matatandang alam yung kwento ng Jungle Book mula pagkabata. May mga comments na sinasabing pilit daw yung ibang parts na may kantahan pero sa akin okay lang e. I grew up singing these songs and it’s nice to see an actual bear actually sing “The Bare Necessities” kahit na CGI lang siya. (And if you enjoyed that, stick around for the credits) Disney has been making live-action versions of their cartoons lately and this one has got to be their best effort so far. If they can do it for The Jungle Book, why not do it for The Lion King diba? Isipin mo kung may totoong baboy na kumakanta ng Hakuna Matata? I’m not even kidding.

What a time to be alive.

8.5/10

 

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