The Jungle Book?! It's really not. It's more like Tarzan if anything. The little (as in young) Mowgli doesn't look like Mowgli, and the new one looks neither like Mowgli nor like the little Mowgli. Nor is the story true to the original one at all.
What makes it even weirder is that both the sequel to this, and the new one that came after that, and the newest one that came this year are all true to the original... in their own ways. They all feature a different Mowgli however, and all tell the same tale with a few different touches.
If you're looking for a chronological Jungle Book adventure it seems it's just not possible to get one, but I'd recommend the second Jungle Book movie from 1997 over this, and second to that: the newer ones.
The props are good here. The jungle's good. The characters are good, the treasure, the lightning, it's all filmed in a dreamy and genuine way - yet the battles look incredibly fake, the tension's never there, the animals look tame and the main actor (Jason Scott Lee) doesn't make for a real life-like Mowgli at all.
Not to mention the jungle feels like a very closed in place, like a stage more than anything, and in all these areas both of the ones after this were better. This whole thing feels more like a Shaw Brothers take on a classic film, similar to this old thing.
It's not a bad movie per say, but it just doesn't capture the atmosphere, the characters, or the continuity you need for a good film. The stereotypes also all feel outdated, and I don't think it's only because Mowgli's all grown up.
Props on the good people doing a good performance despite the bad movie, and it's always fun to see John Cleese play a part, but this definitely wasn't one of his stronger roles. Nor Jason's.
The alternatives do this particular title better justice.
rated 3/5: not bad