‘Jungle Book’ puts viewer in the action
You’ll have to admit that Disney’s visit back to the rumbling jungle has shaken up all the wild animals. Whether bright, detailed sunsets or dim, treacherous ravines and sparkling, rapid waters, the epic puts you in the jungle with man cub Mowgli, the boy raised by a pack of wolves.
Director Jon Favreau’s (“Elf”; “Iron Man”) use of computer-generated images of Mowgli’s wolf, bear and panther mentors blend perfectly with young Neel Sethi, the actor portraying Rudyard Kipling’s iconic character. Reaching out and touching the characters comes through the sharpness of standard 2D or a colorful splendid digitized definition of 3D.
For “The Jungle Book,” I did a screen format preference test utilizing a pre-selected viewer who had not stepped into the latest state of the art projection, sound and glasses upgrades. After a thundering 2D venture, we (with permission) took in a rewind – last 15 minutes of the feature in 3D.
The ‘newbie’ marveled. Wearing glasses, their last experience with the format came with the retrofit of “Titanic,” which left an annoying need to repeatedly reposition glasses and a bothersome headache. Not so with Disney Digital and RealD 3D. Sampling the latest version of the premium format induced a smiling “awesome” accompanied by anticipation of upcoming productions.
To paraphrase, “I was right there with them. I mean, like, you can nearly feel drops of ‘eat me’ saliva flowing from Shere Khan’s mouth. You want to hug the Bill Murray-voiced Baloo and run your hands along Bagheera’s black fur. “No comment” on what frights the snake Kaa (voice by Scarlett Johansson) would have evoked.
Personally, I needed a 3D reinoculation. The format had lost some thrills due to a string of run-of-the-mill productions. Easily, multi-dimensional visuals are best reserved for themes that captivate immersion. “The Jungle Book” might be the next best thing to a zoo which can’t slip in lessons on species respect and equality as espoused in the “Bare Necessities” of life theme song.
Speaking of visual next steps, “Star Trek Beyond,” this summer, will test newly demonstrated panorama projection at 50 cinemas. Developers hope a roll out compared to 3D within a few years. Anyone remember cinerama?