The Jungle Book - BBC1

The stars of the new Jungle Book film
(Image credit: ©2106 Disney Enterprises, Inc.)

A wonderful film for all the family to enjoy...

Disney's live-action version of its 1967 cartoon classic The Jungle Book, starring Neel Sethi as Mowgli, is a spectacularly entertaining family film.

This version is not as cuddly as the original, based on Rudyard Kipling's classic stories, and it takes a moment to adjust to the sight of the film's talking CGI creatures interacting with impishly charming newcomer Sethi's 10-year-old hero, the boy raised in the wild by wolves.

But the starry voice cast soon has us under its spell. Ben Kingsley is a purring panther Bagheera, Mowgli's stern mentor, while Idris Elba's fearsome tiger Shere Khan, Scarlett Johansson's seductively sinister python Kaa and Christopher Walken's giant ape King Louie represent some of terrifying threats the man-cub encounters.

Fortunately, this Jungle Book is fun as well as frightening, particularly when Bill Murray's laid-back hustler of a bear, Baloo, appears on the scene.

Director Jon Favreau also drops a few of the original cartoon's Sherman Brothers tunes into the action - with mixed results. Murray's rendition of The Bare Necessities isn't a patch on Phil Harris' original, although Walken has a better stab at I Wanna Be Like You. But they're just minor nitpicks in what is for the most part a thrilling, amusing and delightful movie.