Director: Jon Favreau. Cast: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong'o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Walken, Garry Shandling. 105 min. Rated PG. Fantasy/Adventure.
I never read the book, and honestly, never understood the brilliance of the Disney animation - the story seemed too shallow to become anything memorable. But Jon Favreau's live-action version has helped me realize: it's all about the experience. The feeling of growing up in an heavenly jungle, befriending ferocious animals, and wanting to be part of their world. If that wasn't enough, the mind-boggling CGI surprises how well (through an Apocalypse Now homage) a giant orangutan resembles Christopher Walken, ... or maybe Walken carries himself like an orangutan? This is magic that out-Disneys even Disney.