Obviously 1967’s animated The Jungle Book is the main inspiration for this Disney extravaganza, but its creative forebearer is actually 1942’s Bambi. Few films — Disney or otherwise — have so elegantly employed state-of-the-art technology to give flora and fauna such an electric, immersive authenticity. Bambi, even as hand-drawn animation, evoked a naturalism of such depth and detail that watching it you feel shrouded by the forest. Something similar happens with The Jungle Book: our heads may tell us that the villainous tiger Shere Khan has been created entirely via computer animation, yet he prowls and growls with such a natural, shudder-inducing silkiness that we accept him as an actual beast. The animators here — overseen by director Jon Favreau — skillfully negotiate that delicate space between animalistic naturalism and approachable anthropomorphism. They know just when to let the animals talk and when to let them run wild. (And don’t discount the sound design’s part in all this; one reason these animals seem to have such a physical presence is because each of their steps lands with a unique, distinctive thud.) There is excellent vocal work all around — Idris Elba, nicely honoring George Sanders as Shere Khan; Bill Murray as Baloo; Ben Kingsley as Bagheera; Scarlett Johansson as Kaa; Christopher Walken as King Louie — as well as the delightful anchoring presence of a young Neel Sethi as Mowgli, who is often the only “real” thing we see on the screen.