The Jungle Book (2016)

Jon Favreau is a magician who weaves a tale which is rich beyond measure! He achieves aesthetic brilliance and sensory perfection with the characters that are so beloved in India and all over the world.

The story of Mowgli and his friends is told with convincing reality, so much so that it enthrals children and adults alike. The talented voices of Ben Kingsley, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, Christopher Walken, Lupita Nyong’o are perfect, creating feelings of tension, fear, security, adventure, trance, belonging and freedom!

Young actor Neel Sethi makes a confident debut amongst the live action / CGI reimagining, which leaves you spell bound. It is as real as it can be, capturing the grace of the animal world, where their love is equal, if not more, than what humans have for their families and friends.

A tale told with precision and dedication, it is a treat for all our senses!

4/5

The Walk (2015)

Robert Zemeckis can add one more unique film to his large and varied repertoire. His recreation of the towers and the era itself gets points, and the way his tale is narrated leaves an endearing effect on the audience.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the principal role of the famous Phillipe Petit and has a believable French accent to boot. His dream, which is not a secret, was to walk the ‘void’ between the two World Trade Center towers in New York. A feat back in 1974, the world was still a trusting place and that vulnerability along with his passion has been captured beautifully. He is ably supported by an eclectic ensemble cast, their characters etched well even in their short roles.

Aesthetically the film is consistent throughout. It slowly builds the back story and the current scenarios to prepare you for the tense, nail biting, edge of the seat tension later. The climax merges serenity with tension, leaving you transfixed!

A sweeping cinematic experience where we walk the tight rope too!

3.5/5

Exodus : Gods and Kings (2014)

The biblical tale of Moses, is gripping in parts and clumsy in others. Not overly opulent and shot with an authentic eye for the era, it falters with the body language, which isn’t serious and the English is casual, which doesn’t tie up the film neatly.

While the special effects and locations are spot on, the casting is varied but not entirely strong. John Turturro (Fading Gigolo) looks out of place as the Pharaoh Seti. Joel Edgerton as Rhamses gives an uneven performance, while Sigourney Weaver as Tuya has a blink and miss appearance.

Christian Bale as Moses gives a sincere insight into his dilemma, and Ben Kinglsey as the elder named ‘Nun’ has a short but powerful role. God is depicted as a young boy, a master stroke by Director Ridley Scott, who has approached the episode differently, trying to weave in more science and less miracle.

The overall effect is a well made film, which has a relatively smooth pace, brilliant action sequences, not supported by the cast and its length at 2 hours and 30 minutes.

2/5

Ender’s Game (2013)

It took some convincing to watch this film, which appeared another ‘save the world’ genre, using the talents of young children’s gaming skills no less! Keeping the alien threat aside, this film used combat strategy and teenage psychology to come up with the most effective battle plan to save Earth.

The pressure the kids are put under seems downright unethical, because they are strategically being used for their ‘fearless, risk taking, abandoning feasibility’ type qualities. The training they go through, and how Ender is identified and rises up the ranks, balances the action/special effects quotient with decent drama.

We have stalwarts like Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley supported by the talented Viola Davis, but the film belongs to the ensemble of young adults in it. Asa Butterfield as Ender, Hailee Steinfeld as Petra and Abigail Breslin as Valentine are memorable, whilst their peers that surround them are sincere to their roles.

An engaging watch.

3.5/5