Disney's 1967 version of the Jungle Book was the first movie I remember begging my parents to let me see. I was three years old. I was mesmerized by the line art in the newspaper ads. I can remember sitting in the theater and enjoying every minute of it, except the ending when Mowgli walked away from his friends to join the uncomfortably pretty girl. I had a story-book record that I read and sang along with, and I turned the pages when Tinkerbell tinkled.
So, naturally, I was a little skeptical when I heard a remake was in the works, until I learned that it was being produced by my lifetime friend, Brigham Taylor. Brigham was the little brother of my best friend, and kept us endlessly entertained with his ability to quote movie lines. I remember seeing the movie Airplane in the 1970's and going back to the Taylor's home where Brigham stood on the kitchen table and reenacted our favorite scenes. He was probably 10.
It's not my place to profile his career without his input since I'd only get a lot of facts wrong, but here's a great interview with him which will give you some of the highlights.
So, of course I had opening night tickets. The theater was packed, and it was one of the most diverse audiences I've ever sat with. Culturally and age-wise, you could see the anticipation for this movie had very broad appeal. And from what I could tell, everyone loved it. There was plenty of applause at the end. I also enjoyed the quiet hum of children throughout the theater trying to coach Mowgli through his adventures. Normally, that might annoy me, but it wasn't disruptive, and it was actually kind of cute.
The movie might be too intense for the under 5 crowd, but I hardly think of it as a kid's movie. When it was over our entire family felt like we'd seen the best movie we'd seen in a long, long time. The story was told so well, and the visual effects were absolutely stunning. We saw it in IMAX 3D and it was almost as if you were inside the amazing jungle created by director Jon Favreau and his talented artists.
Anyway, despite my personal bias for all things Brigham Taylor, I encourage you not to miss this amazing movie. I even liked the ending this time, and sat through the entire credits.