Netflix's 'Jungle Book' Adaptation 'Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle' Met With Lukewarm Reviews

Netflix's new adaptation of The Jungle Book, Mowgli: Legend of The Jungle, debuted to lackluster reviews this weekend.

On Friday, Netflix brought fans another adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's 124-year-old book, but the response was nothing to rave about. The movie managed a 54 percent on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer, which aggregates reviews and ratings from numerous critical sources. The score accounted for 70 total reviews, 32 of which were negative.

The audience was a little kinder to Mowgli, with a 69 percent rating. This was based on 898 audience ratings, and was still likely much lower than Netflix had hoped for.

The new take on an old story surprised many viewers, as it came just two years after Disney delivered its live-action version. The movie was directed by Jon Favreau, and starred such talent as Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley and Idris Elba, among several others.

Mowgli was not without its unique draws, of course. The movie comes from actor and motion-capture legend Andy Serkis, who made his second attempt as a director in this movie. At a recent promotional event in Singapore, he talked about why the remake was so fascinating to him.

"I love the Jungle Book stories from Rudyard Kipling," he said, according to a report by the South China Morning Post. "I've always had a fascination with the Mowgli character because he is an outsider. He is of two different cultures and my experience connects with that strongly."

"I was brought up with a Middle Eastern father and a mother from England," Serkis continued. "Many of the characters that I've played have examined the nature of the other. Mowgli is really the quintessential divided soul who is trying to find his own identity, so he spoke very closely to me."

With that in mind, Serkis' adaptation makes sense. Its proximity in time to the Disney version may have made the project commercially confusing to some, but many reviews seemed to agree that it had a take that was worth exploring.


"The film reminds you that the jungle is a terrifying place, that nature is cruel, and humans even crueler," wrote Bilge Ebiri for Vulture. "Mowgli at times feels — and I mean this as a compliment — like the psychic runoff hiding beneath Disney's colorful, kid-friendly Jungle Book pictures. In that sense, it's closer in spirit to Rudyard Kipling's original stories, though it strikes a more discordant note than those simple fables."

Mowgli: Legend of The Jungle is streaming now on Netflix.