Opening in a limited release this past weekend ahead of its debut on the service on Friday, Andy Serkis’ “Mowgli,” a dark and more accurate adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book,” has scored decidedly mixed reviews from critics.
With over two dozen reviews counted, Rotten Tomatoes has it on a score of 50% with a 5.7/10. Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto, Rohan Chand, Matthew Rhys and Naomie Harris star in the film which Warners produced and sold off to Netflix earlier this year.
Reviews call the film ambitious, boasting impressive effects and trying to bring a mature and more serious sensibility to the genre, but it also loses focus on the way and lacks an emotional throughput. Here’s a sampling of reviews:
“The filmmakers are clearly trying to bring an uncommon maturity to the fantasy film, and in many respects they succeed. While not everything here works, what does is impressive.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times
“Serkis throws in too many new elements and, in the process, derails the plot’s familiarity and some of its charms.” – Monica Castillo, TheWrap
“Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle may have intended to offer a darker, grittier take on the classic Kipling stories, but the end result proves to be more of a murky muddle.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Hollywood Reporter
“Like the boy himself, the movie is not able to resolve its conflicting dualities.” – Nell Minow, Movie Mom
“Andy Serkis opts for an unnecessarily “gritty” adaptation that showcases the actor-director’s CGI-enhanced performances, but otherwise fails to make Mowgli’s coming of age meaningful or unique.” – Todd Gilchrist, Nerdist
“Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle” premieres on Netflix worldwide on December 7th.