Most of us are quite familiar with the Rudyard Kipling story of the young man-cub Mowgli who was raised by wolves in the Indian jungle and hunted by Shere Khan, the ferocious Bengal tiger  but protected by the wise panther Bagheera and the fun-loving Baloo the bear.

However, we are all probably more familiar with the 1967 Walt Disney animated movie of the same name.

Now Disney have come out with a new version for the next generation, complete with CGI jungle animals and they have also thrown in a couple of favourite songs from the original cartoon, namely ‘Bare Necessities’ and ‘I Wan’Na Be Like You’.

Do we really need another remake of a beloved classic animated movie?

Apparently yes, we do.

I went along to the screening with my mind already made up and that I was going to lose 105 minutes of my life, gone forever.

How wrong was I? I absolutely loved this film.

The CGI is flawless, bringing to life a tropical jungle and a whole host of animal characters with perfect voice casting.

The saviour of the baby Mowgli, Bagheera the panther is voiced by Ben Kingsley who has very English air of authority and would risk his life to protect the Man-Cub. Aided by Baloo the bear voiced by Bill Murray with his usual sardonic laid back one liners who also has a fondness for the boy.

This is a much darker version and the tale kicks in with no immediate backstory and within the first 10 minutes, Mowgli is running for his life in the long grass from the evil Shere Khan menacingly voiced by Idris Elba with his unmistakable English accent.

Khan was scarred by Man long ago, and has only one good eye and is one of the most-scary villains Disney has produced. You can feel the power that Khan exudes.

Although also in the running for most frightening bad guy has to be the Orangutan (or Gigantopithecus) voiced by Christopher Walken, in a subtle Apocalypse Now / Colonel Kurtz parody. This is no amusing smiley King Louie but a terrifying monster in an edge of the seat chase sequence.

Let’s not forget Kaa the hypnotic giant snake, cast as a female character with the velvet voice of Scarlett Johansson, who befriends Mowgli but naturally sees him as lunch.

The film doesn’t let up for a second. You never get the chance to really catch your breath.

This is a visual spectacle and if you get a chance to see it in Imax 3D you will be amazed by the technical wizardry.

What holds the film together is the wonderful performance of Neel Sethi who plays the live action Mowgli who has to interact with an assortment of CGI animals and scenery. To assist Neel with how to react with the other characters, Disney used Jim Henson’s Workshop puppeteering crew to perform the movements for the young actor to work from.

This film is a real roller-coaster of a ride. Thrilling, scary, funny and entertaining.

I thoroughly recommend that you see this version of The Jungle Book story.

In cinemas Friday April 15

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