Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Jungle Book - 2010

For as long as one can remember, there have been many interpretations of Rudyard Kipling's famous book of all, "The Jungle Book" - amongst various stage shows, Disney have adapted it several times in animation and live-action (including a sequel and a handful of spin-off shows), Chuck Jones gave us faithful renditions of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, The White Seal and Mowgli's Brothers, and it even made its way as an Anime series, too!

But now the latest re-imagining of the book is currently airing on the CBBC Channel in the UK - and from what I've seen of it, it's not half bad =)

Produced by Indian animation studio DQ Entertainment International, this series of the Jungle Book has been "reintroduced to a brand new generation with a contemporary twist", with scripts penned both in France and the UK.

Despite my thoughts on many animated shows being outsourced from the UK these days, it makes sense to have an Indian-based studio to bring this series to life; who better to recreate a real Indian Jungle setting than the country which inspired the original book? The animation looks amazing and a majority of the episodes - including top writer Chris Trengove - are intelligent and exciting enough with good character balance.

Unlike Disney's version (brilliant as it is), the characters here remain faithful to their original traits prior to the book. Notably of all, Baloo presented as the wise, brown old bear he originally was. The series itself focuses on Baloo, Bagheera the Panther and Mowgli's Wolf Clan preparing the man-cub for the looming threat that is Shere Kahn the Tiger - while also having various adventures within and around the jungle.

The voice cast for the series add as much life to the characters as do the scripts - with heaps of praise for Jimmy Hibbert (Count Duckula, Little Red Tractor, Danger Mouse), David Holt (Noah's Island, Okie Doke, Lavander Castle), Nigel Pilkington (Bottletop Bill, Roman Mysteries), Teresa Gallagher (BB3B, Frankenstein's Cat, Thomas the Tank Engine) and Emma Tate (New Captain Scarlet, The Mr Men Show) for being part of this lovely take on the Jungle Book, which I hope gains as much interest and popularity as the Disney movie everyone commonly remembers 40 years on...

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