#19 The Jungle Book

#19 The Jungle Book

Can anyone spell “necessities” right on the first try? Asking for a friend…

Today is the last movie of the swinging sixties, and they’re really about to swing as I’m covering The Jungle Book! The movie is based on the book of the same name by Rudyard Kipling. This was the last film that Walt Disney worked on at the studio as he passed away during production. He was actually more involved in The Jungle Book than he had been for the previous films because of their poor performance of The Sword in the Stone.

In the book, Mowgli goes back and forth from the village to the jungle, but the production team decided to keep the movie more straight-forward and ended with Mowgli returning home for the first time. The original lead writer of the film wanted to keep closer to the book, but faced opposition from Walt, who wanted to keep the plot lighter and more family-friendly. The voice actors greatly inspired the personalities, and even at times the designs, of their characters, particularly comedian Phil Harris who voiced Baloo and musician Louis Prima who voiced, coincidentally, King Louis. Quite a bit of the animation of The Jungle Book would be reused in Robin Hood just a few years down the road – everything from dance sequences to actual characters.

The film was a commercial success and was rereleased into theaters several times. It is, to this day, the best performing film in Germany based on ticket sales (what?!). The reviews for the film were very positive, though bittersweet as it was released only ten months after Walt’s death. Critics found the film fun and delightful, with beautiful backgrounds and great songs. And though some did point out the differences between the movie and book, they didn’t mind the changes. Actor Gregory Peck (he played Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird) even campaigned for the film to be nominated for best picture at that years’ Oscars!

A sequel to the film, The Jungle Book 2, was released in 2003. There have been two new versions of the film, both titled The Jungle Book: one being live-action and released in 1994, and the other partially-live-action (human Mowgli, CGI animals that looked real) that came out in 2016. There have been various spin-offs of the original movie, as well. There was a prequel (?) animated series called Jungle Cubs that followed the main adult animals from the movie as children. There was also Tail Spin, which featured several of the original characters. And, there was a 1998 direct-to-video movie called The Jungle Book: Mowgli’s Story.

This was a movie that I watched a lot as a kid, it was definitely a favorite in my house, but I haven’t watched it in years! So, I’m excited to re-explore it. As always, watch along as I comment along.

My thoughts on The Jungle Book:

  • Ooh lots of scenery shots
  • Haha Bagheera is like “wtf is THAT?”
  • Aww poor baby mowgli 
  • Although, I’m glad they left out the “parents get mauled by a jungle animal scene” bc the beginning of Tarzan is horrific
  • Mowgli is the original baby yoda-cute lil baby all alone and found by someone who should probably have killed him
  • What would Bagheera have done if the wolves just straight up ate him?
  • Does wolf maternal extinct extend to humans? Why is Bagheera just assuming it does?
  • Why do the animals wait until Mowgli is ten?
  • I wonder where Shere Khan has been for ten years…Ibiza? Hawaii? Did he go out to try to make it in a city like New York, LA, or Austin?
  • How did Mowgli learn to walk?
  • So Mowgli has to leave because Shere Khan hates man, but there are NO other animals in the entire jungle who hate humans? As a human I find that VERY hard to believe
  • Plus, Mowgli seems to have a lot of friends – he has the wolves on his side, Bagheera’s a panther, he later meets Baloo and the elephants – the head wolf says the pack can’t take on Shere Khan, but what about all the back up? You’re telling me one tiger can take all of them?
  • Maybe he can, I don’t really know that much about tigers tbh
  • Man, I shoulda saved up to get Zoobooks as a kid
  • Shere khan joins the long line of Disney villains beefing with children 
  • Here comes the creepy snake with Winnie the Pooh’s voice 
  • And he’s so close to recording Winnie the Pooh here, the voice is too much
  • Bagheera is not a great baby sitter
  • As a kid I thought snakes could hypnotize cuz of this movie
  • I really needed Zoobooks didn’t I?
  • Love these sound effects 
  • snack falls on the ground*splat!*
  • Apparently snakes sound like accordions when they curl up and squeek as they slide away
  • Honestly, I hope this movie won best sound design at the Oscars
  • Bagheera’s just gonna go back to sleep after doing so before nearly killed the kid he’s in charge of?
  • The elephants!
  • Aww the baby elephant is so cute!
  • Ok one elephant is chewing on something green and has red eyes…

Is that a weed? I’m calling the police

  • “I’m transferring to another herd” hahaha
  • “Stick your nose out” “like this?” Mowgli and the baby elephant are so cute together!
  • But does Mowgli really think he won’t be noticed among the elephants?
  • Did he not know he was human til he spoke?!!
  • lol the head elephant was so flabbergasted as if he was deceived, Mowgli was just standing there and you couldn’t tell he wasn’t an elephant
  • Mowgli is rocking the fall/winter 2019 bowl cut
  • I’m NOT going to reference a disturbing horror movie in relation to this elephant crash…
  • How DID Mowgli survive 10 years 
  • Bagheera couldn’t even last a day babysitting smh
  • He left this child alone in the jungle, Bagheera said f them kids
  • Baloo!
  • This kid just out here punching bears omg Mowgli are you TRYING to get yourself killed??
  • “Hey kid, you need help” hahaha tell him Baloo
  • Aww Baloo trying to teach Mowgli how to growl is pretty cute
  • “I shouldn’t have left him alone” ya think Bagheera?!!
  • I know I just said this but Mowgli tickling Baloo is super cute!
  • “They’ll make a man out of him!” Baloo, we have 17 more movies before we get to Mulan!
  • “I wanna stay with you” Mowgli you’ve know Baloo like 2 minutes
  • He hasn’t even mentioned his wolf family
  • The poor dad wolf said earlier that Mowgli was like his son and Mowgli hasn’t even said he missed them
  • Cold. Blooded.
  • Bagheeras acting very high horsey for someone who left the kid
  • Bare Necessities! A classic! A bop!
  • This movie did so many things first: it did “baby orphaned in the jungle” before Tarzan, it did the “carefree animal who eats bugs” before Lion King, it did all the character animation of Robin Hood before Robin Hood
  • When I was a kid I used to act out scenes from this movie, apparently, including the floating on the river scene
  • Oh good job Baloo
  • Poor Mowgli’s babysitter’s keep failing him
  • “He aint no champ, he’s a chump” hahaha that line should be quoted more often
  • Oh man now the monkeys are throwing fruit at him and making fun of his song, Baloo you’ve been Roasted
  • Bagheera’s so condescending with his “well it happened. took a little longer than I thought” like BRUH in under 24 hours you 1)nearly slept through Mowgli getting eaten alive AND 2) abandoned him in the jungle
  • Baloo and Bagheera need to stop arguing and just learn to co-parent

King Louis when it’s time for his musical number:

  • Here we go “Wanna Be Like You”, such swingy, groovy fun!
  • Oh now he’s…beatboxing?
  • Baloo goes from wanting to throw hands to dancing in .5 seconds
  • Baloo Puts the wild in wild card
  • Baloo in his costume omg
  • “Take me home daddy!” Baloo……what?
  • Mowgli you didn’t realize that was Baloo? Are you dumb?
  • This chase scene is pretty funny and zany
  • Dang Louie, your crib fell down
  • Bagheera (a panther): You wouldn’t marry a panther, would you? Baloo: I don’t know…no panther’s ever asked *nudges Bagheera* I ship it
  • “Can’t a guy make one mistake?” “Not in the jungle” BAGHEERA, you’ve literally made multiple mistakes already, at least admit that you’re not good either
  • Bagheera: Shere Khan will literally murder Mowgli on sight. We need to keep him safe. Baloo: yes of course whatever we have to do. I’ll do anything. Bagheera: we need to take him out of the jungle. Baloo: I won’t do that.
  • Baloo loves mowgli like a son after knowing him one day?
  • Idk Baloo, I’ve seen how Mowgli easily forgets his father figures
  • I feel like this would have been more emotionally effective if Baloo had been a life-long friend, like I get it’s hard and they bonded a lot but it’s really only been a day
  • Mowgli goofing around while Baloo tries to break the news is good writing imo, it comes off as true 10 year old
  • “You’re just like bagheera” “that’s going too far” hahaha yes roast Bagheera

Real ones remember the free Tiger Poster

  • Ooh Shere Khans voice is so creepy
  • The elephants are back!
  • Baby elephant water skiing by holding onto the tail in front of him!! Why you so cute baby elephant?!!
  • Oh no SK heard Mowgli ran away!
  • Shout out to Winifred for standing up to the colonel
  • Aww the baby elephant is trying to help
  • Ok trust in me is putting ME to sleep
  • Ooh will Kaa get mowgli caught??
  • Kaa’s excuse that he sings himself to sleep is pretty funny
  • Did they just reuse a bunch of footage?
  • The Beatle vultures!
  • I can’t figure out which hairstyle is my favorite
  • I relate heavily to this “what are we going to do” back and forth as an indecisive person
  • “No one wants me around” you ran away!
  • Aww these vultures wanting to take him in is sweet, what nice lads
  • This friends song has a nice sentiment but, again, it’s just a boring sleepy song
  • Shere khan coming in with that baritone
  • “Why should I run” mowgli you dumb af
  • Ooh that jump was scary!
  • Baloo!!
  • Where tf is Bagheera?!
  • Wow the vultures can literally lift and carry Mowgli
  • No! Baloo!
  • So the wolf pack couldn’t take Shere Khan but these 4 vultures can?
  • Haha gtfo Shere Khan!
  • Pour one out for Baloo 😦
  • Aww even the vultures are crying
  • Is this the first time Disney’s done a fake-out death? hmmm…
  • What a nice speech, Bagheera
  • You think the vultures are a little disappointed that they won’t get to eat
  • Nothing will tear them apart…until the girl
  • I get he’s supposed to be in like love at first sight but Mowgli isn’t at least a little freaked out at seeing another human for the first time?
  • And does this girl not think it’s weird that there’s a boy living in the jungle?
  • Yeah one last round of Bare Necessities

This was a really enjoyable watch! It was nice reliving a childhood favorite and also having a good time watching it as an adult. For me, much of the entertainment comes from all the different animal characters – the military elephants, King Louie, of course Baloo – rather than Mowgli. Not to say I think Mowgli is a bad character; I think he was written as a very accurate ten year old: rambunctious, stubborn, just wants to have fun. Bare Necessities and I Wanna Be Like You are such great Disney classics that make me want to dance! It was good to hear some jams again. There’s a reason this story has been done over and over in various ways and animation styles: the theme of growing up and having to move out of your comfort zone (and sometimes the literal place you’ve lived forever) is universal, and the characters that populate this story are entertaining, charming, funny, and, in the case of Shere Khan, fear-provoking, no matter what age you are.

Next week, we start a new decade! The ’60’s went by SO fast which is easy to do I guess when there are only three movies. Next time we move from the jungle to Paris for the Aristocats!

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