Netflix's Mowgli Brutal Reviews

Aug 19, 2007
8,330
68
935
#1
I got most of these from an article about the brutal reviews, so I did not go hunting across the internet for positives.

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle is receiving some brutal reviews, which isn't good for Netflix's big release. Mowgli was originally slated to release around the same time as Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book in 2016, but it received multiple delays before ultimately landing an October 2018 release date. Then, things took a turn when Warner Bros. unloaded Mowgli to Netflix. And now Netflix is releasing Mowgli on December 7 after first debuting it in select theaters around the United States.

Despite production delays, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, which is directed by motion capture mastermind Andy Serkis, sounded promising, since it was described as a more faithful adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's novel, The Jungle Book, which Disney's animated and live-action movies have taken inspiration from but tweaked for younger audiences. Starring Christian Bale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hollander, and more, Mowgli was supposed to be WB's blockbuster answer to Disney's Jungle Book - but that may not be the case, even at Netflix.

The reviews for Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle are in, and it seems that while Serkis might have had a good idea on-hand, the execution of is poor and uneven. Critics have praised the performance of the young Rohan Chand as Mowgli, but the CGI and mo-cap performances have resulted in clunky, unfinished animal sequences which are difficult to watch. Added to that, Callie Kloves' Mowgli screenplay has also come in for criticism. And all of that is evidenced in Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle's most brutal reviews.
The Wrap - Monica Castillo

Perhaps the weakest link in the film’s food chain is first-timer Callie Kloves’ anemic script, overstuffed by fillers of little substance. The story does not move as swiftly as the wolves do. The script’s solution to standing apart from the classic story is to add new characters and subplots; unfortunately, too much of a good thing can also tire a viewer out or bore them.

As an actor, Serkis may be the industry’ mo-cap master, but storytelling through performance is a different skill than writing or directing. The forced additions of characters like Bhoot needlessly bloat the movie’s mismatched visual style and misfit character looks. Since it can take years to put one of these CGI-filled movies together, it was perhaps poor timing that Mowgli followed Jon Favreau’s 2016 live-action reimagining of Disney’s 1967 animated movie. While Serkis and his team tried to separate his retelling from the others, the experiments and extras did not always work out.
THR - Michael Rechtshaffen

Alas, just like Mowgli, who, as Kaa accurately observes, was “both man and wolf, and neither,” the film is constantly conflicted with its own considerable identity issues. Although the Serkis version would obviously like to be taken on its own terms, it’s virtually impossible to not invite comparisons to the Favreau film, both in terms of tone and technology.

Even more problematic is the lack of a unifying tone, with two instances in particular — one in which Mowgli is brutally attacked by his ape abductors and another in which he makes a shocking discovery in the hunter’s trophy room — pitched to such violently horrific effect it could have just as well been Sam Peckinpah’s Jungle Book.

Meanwhile, back in the wilds, unlike the lithe, remarkably fluid movements of the performance-captured, four-legged characters that graced the Favreau version, there’s an odd jerkiness to the computer-generated animals here, particularly in their interaction with Mowgli, that ironically bring to mind some of those vintage Disneyland animatronics.

https://screenrant.com/mowgli-movie-netflix-brutal-reviews/

As in Favreau’s The Jungle Book, all of the animals in Mowgli are digital creations—though, unlike Favreau, Serkis doesn’t strive for realism. Far from it. With his lame paw and over-sized head, Shere Khan looks like an old, ratty toy, while Akela bears a striking resemblance to Huckleberry Hound. Other characters have been given squashed, anthropomorphic facial features; this makes the mo-cap performance more humanlike, though it has the unintended effect of making the denizens of the jungle look like escapees from The Island Of Dr. Moreau. Favreau’s film offered seamless, photorealistic spectacle; Mowgli answers the question of what a panther would look like if it had Christian Bale’s face.
https://film.avclub.com/with-mowgli-andy-serkis-brings-a-marginally-darker-jun-1830869818
 
Likes: Musky_Cheese

Jesus Carbomb

From Water into Guinness
Dec 11, 2004
4,563
399
1,420
#7
Bummer. I was hoping this would be great because I really like Andy Serkis. I'll still watch just to see how it compares to Favreau's Jungle Book.

So if Netflix buys something when it is supposed to be released chances are it sucks.
Nah not always. I remember they acquired 'The Little Prince' from Paramount because those clowns have no idea what they're doing and kept fucking about with the films theatrical release. It's a really good animated movie and I'm glad Netflix stepped in to give it an audience. Still holding out hope for a proper bluray release but that shit isn't ever going to happen.
 
Apr 15, 2007
9,175
133
980
London UK
#10
I was really excited for this when it was first announced and was looking forward to a more serious take on the Jungle Book. Serkis and the other talent involved seemed like they would deliver something really good but when the trailer arrived my heart sank because it looked awful.
 
Feb 6, 2012
1,260
78
435
#11
As in Favreau’s The Jungle Book, all of the animals in Mowgli are digital creations—though, unlike Favreau, Serkis doesn’t strive for realism. Far from it. With his lame paw and over-sized head, Shere Khan looks like an old, ratty toy, while Akela bears a striking resemblance to Huckleberry Hound. Other characters have been given squashed, anthropomorphic facial features; this makes the mo-cap performance more humanlike, though it has the unintended effect of making the denizens of the jungle look like escapees from The Island Of Dr. Moreau.
Ouch!
 
Jan 9, 2018
418
296
220
#12
This movie is a disaster.
It must have been butchered in editing. It has no pace and no tone. I'm sure there's a better cut with unfinished CGI (there's plenty of unfinished CGI in this version too). Much of the story is complete bullshit. Batman bin Suparman flows better than this. Valerian is a storytelling masterclass compared to Mowgli.
I'm absolutely baffled by the hunter character's handling.
Also the music is awful and badly used.

Anyway it's not all bad. Mowgli's actor is good, light years ahead of the Disney kid.
The visual style, including the animals, is... bold.
It has some brilliant moments, like the underwater scene and some of the village stuff.

But man, it really, REALLY doesn't work. It's not even a fun or at least engaging misfire, like Independence Day Resurgence or Jupiter Ascending or whatever other blockbuster ended up bad.
 
Likes: dorkimoe
Aug 19, 2007
8,330
68
935
#14
This movie is a disaster.
It must have been butchered in editing. It has no pace and no tone. I'm sure there's a better cut with unfinished CGI (there's plenty of unfinished CGI in this version too). Much of the story is complete bullshit. Batman bin Suparman flows better than this. Valerian is a storytelling masterclass compared to Mowgli.
I'm absolutely baffled by the hunter character's handling.
Also the music is awful and badly used.

Anyway it's not all bad. Mowgli's actor is good, light years ahead of the Disney kid.
The visual style, including the animals, is... bold.
It has some brilliant moments, like the underwater scene and some of the village stuff.

But man, it really, REALLY doesn't work. It's not even a fun or at least engaging misfire, like Independence Day Resurgence or Jupiter Ascending or whatever other blockbuster ended up bad.
Might not even bother watching it now. Can’t believe Netflix keeps doing this
 
Feb 3, 2009
1,050
3
680
#16
I liked it though it does have a bizarre visual aesthetic with the way the animals look. The Disney version probably had 3 times the budget (regardless of whatever Disney SAYS the film cost) and it shows in the way the fur looks and how smooth the animals are. Some stuff like the moss covered elephants looked really good though. Serkis also got much better voice performances out of his cast that the Disney version IMHO. The white hunter bit was unnecessary, could easily have been an Indian hunter with no change in plot. And WTF was the gorgeous Frida Pinto doing in there? I wonder if they cut lots of the people stuff to shorten the film (a common theatrical decision that doesn't have the same impact on streaming, IMHO). As it is, it spends far too long on Mowgli's origins and not enough on him dealing with humans and animals.
 
Sep 27, 2010
2,193
1
550
#17
Netflix's biggest mistakes have been these high price acquisitions of movies that studios knew would flop in theatrical. I doubt it adds any subs, and it just makes Netflix seem like a second tier dumping ground. They had the right idea with stuff like 1922, Gerald's Game, Buster Skruggs. Focus on smaller scale, low to mid budget stuff with high quality.

Feel bad for Serkis. This was such a doomed project.
 
Mar 20, 2017
148
118
185
#18
The Babysitter was definitely a super fun time.

Netflix has to be careful not to be associated with the straight to dvd stench stigma when it comes to movies they aquire.
 
Last edited: