This post is sponsored by Disney, Dolby Cinema, and AMC Prime. The nostalgia, experiences, and opinions are obviously very much my own.
I was 12 years old in 1967 and I still distinctly remember going to see the original Walt Disney Pictures' The Jungle Book. My brother took my 2 sisters and me to a drive-in to see this latest offering from Walt Disney Pictures. It was all the more poignant for us because it was the last animated feature that Walt himself worked on before he passed in late 1966.
Movie-going, circa 1967
There were four of us, plus my 2 toddler nieces cramped and on top of each other in our old family car. The big, ridiculously heavy and clunky speaker attached to the window, which had to be carefully held as you rolled up the window (by hand crank) to make it balance just so. This beast that produced the sound had two settings: Unintelligible and Feedback Loud. Of course we set it on loud because with that many people in the car, it would be otherwise impossible to hear. The little girls were soon asleep after about 15 minutes. The rest of us were a tangle of arms and legs and shifting and lots of "ow, move your elbow!" because there was absolutely no way to get comfortable.
However, what happened next was truly magical. The four of us fell so in love with the characters and the songs that we went back the next night - without toddlers - for a better movie-going experience and were able to more fully enjoy the antics of adorable Mowgli and his old pal, Baloo the bear.
First, let me say that I had very high expectations. (Picture me, if you will, with my arms crossed and tapping one foot.) Come on, Disney. You're going to take on my beloved Jungle Book?
I had already been present for a special discussion of the techniques used to make this film - See Welcome to the Jungle - Disney's Jungle Book Comes To Life - and had listened to Jon Favreau explain his vision and his passion for using all the tech at his disposal to make the Jungle Book story so new-and-improved as to delight an entire new generation of movie-goers during the Jungle Book press event.
Disney's The Jungle Book delivers on all the awesome. Dolby Cinema at AMC Prime takes it to another level.
Movie-going, circa 2016
My daughter, Lucy and I arrive at the beautiful AMC Century City 15 Cinemas to meet and greet our guests/winners of last week's ticket giveaway.
We are greeted with smiles and fabulous free Jungle Book t-shirts (Yay!) as well as tickets with our numbered and assigned(!) seats so there would be no jockeying for a good position in line or running (and elbowing) to try getting the best seats.
It's hard to imagine that the original Rudyard Kipling story of The Jungle Book written 100 years ago could have the same impact now as it did then. My kids have always loved the characters and the drama of the sweet man-cub, Mowgli, who has been raised by a wolf pack in the jungle, being forced to leave his home because he's being hunted by the vengeful tiger Shere Khan. Helped along his journey by Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear, your imagination cannot help but be sparked by how Mowgli will survive all the beasts and troubles he encounters.
But the question remains - can this beloved classic be successfully translated to a compelling, semi-live action, full-length feature for today's audiences?
“The Jungle Book” is an all-new, live-action epic adventure about Mowgli, a man-cub raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan, who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera, and the free-spirited bear Baloo. Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa, a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie, who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire.
The story, not only holds up, but I predict that this PG version will become a family favorite for years to come. Thanks, in large part must go to the talented voice cast. The all-star voice cast includes Oscar®-winners Ben Kingsley (“Learning to Drive,” “The Walk”), Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) and Christopher Walken ("The Deer Hunter"), as well as Bill Murray ("Lost in Translation"), Idris Elba (“Star Trek Beyond”), Scarlett Johansson (“Avengers: Age of Ultron”) and Giancarlo Esposito ("Breaking Bad').
The Jungle Book is sure to delight all ages. Even the scarier moments are beautifully tempered with great storytelling and lots of lighthearted fun. The marriage of CG, motion-capture, storytelling, green screens, and all the techy-tech stuff with this timeless story is a winner. Also, please remember as you watch the film, the only thing that's really real is the kid. I know. *mind blown*
The Dolby Cinema Experience
If you want to feel completely transported to the jungle, you should probably make plans to see The Jungle Book this week as it has a limited engagement at one of the following participating Dolby Cinema at AMC Prime Theaters. Buckle in for the movie-going experience of a lifetime! The incredible seats with the built in sound made us feel like we didn't just see a movie. We were moved! Many thanks to Disney, Dolby Cinema and AMC Prime.
I'm still happy to remember my original 1967 drive-in movie experience with great fondness and I love telling my kids the story. But I promise you, I don't miss the elbows-in-the-ribs-everyone-on-top-of-each-other part. Thank you, Dolby Cinema at AMC Prime. This experience will also go down in my family's movie going history for all the right reasons.
AMC Garden State 16
AMC Town Square 18
AMC Deerbrook 24
AMC Willowbrook 24
AMC NorthPark 15
AMC Hampton Town Centre 24
AMC River Park Square 20
AMC Tysons Corner 16
This is us, thoroughly enjoying our Dolby Cinema at AMC Prime experience, including the state-of-the-art recliners, interactive video entrance and all the awesome of the magic of Dolby sound. A big thank you to Disney, Dolby, and AMC for providing the tickets so that I could treat my readers. Everyone had a great time and we all loved the film.