A movie that appeals to life
The 19th animated Disney classic is, like the other Disney classics
produced in the 60's, not one of their greatest. Yet, it is
entertaining and great fun.
"The Jungle Book" is an appeal to life and a hymn to life. They never
say the words "Hakuna Matata" here, but there's no doubt that the
"Hakuna Matata" philosophy from "The Lion King" is the same philosophy
that we see here: a life full of joy, fun, no worries and which the
problems are to be forgotten. In fact, it isn't any lie to tell that
"The Lion King" was inspired by the idea of this movie.
"The Jungle Book" is a traditional animated Disney classic. Although
some of its designs look simple, the artwork is very good and full of
"life", following the classic Disney's standards. The songs are full of
life and rhythm, making one wanna dance at their sound (that's the case
of "Bear Necessities" and "I Wanna Be Like You"). Speaking of this, I'm
surprised that initially the song "Bear Necessities" wasn't going to be
in the movie - I'm glad they changed their mind, because this song is
so joyful and very important: after all, it symbolizes the main idea of
The characters aren't the very best on Disney, but they're still good
enough. Baloo (the bear) adds a lot to this movie. He is a very cool
bear, not to mention humorous and jolly. Baloo is probably the best
character of this movie. And all this charm is combined with the
inimitable voice of the legendary Phil Harris.
Bagheera is a more serious character than a funny one. Bagheera is wise
and, to tell the truth, it's pleasant to see a black panther being
portrayed as a wise character for once instead of another owl. Bagheera
is voiced by one of Disney's legends, Sebastian Cabot (at his best
Mowgli is an alright man cub, but strangely his voice changes very
much: during a while he has the voice of a teenager and suddenly he
speaks with a more "babyish" voice - perhaps a sign that he was voiced
by more than one actor? The same thing happens with Arthur from "The
Sword in the Stone".
Kaa (the snake) and Shere Khan (the tiger) are the villains, but their
role is small. Kaa is voiced by the unforgettable Sterling Holloway,
while Shere Khan is voiced by George Sanders. Shere Khan is mean but
cool, because of his delicate and charming voice (very much like Scar
from "The Lion King").
Colonel Hathi is an interesting elephant. Everybody knows the myth that
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The last of the animated features produced by Walt Disney, and it's a good one
This is one of many Disney flicks I remember from my childhood, but
unlike many of them, I don't recall ever seeing the whole thing. From
an early age, I was familiar with two of its songs, "The Bare
Necessities" and "I Wan'na Be Like You". I first heard those on an
album of songs from animated Disney movies, and then saw where they
came from. I also saw the live action 1994 film of the same name on the
big screen. I've watched a bunch of full-length Disney cartoons again
in recent years, some produced by Walt Disney himself and some made
after his death. It took me a while to get around to "The Jungle Book",
but I finally rented it a few days ago, and as usual with these movies,
I still found this one entertaining after all these years.
In the jungles of India, a panther named Bagheera finds a human baby
boy (or "man cub") in a boat wreck, far from the nearest human village.
He takes the boy to a pack of wolves for the parents to raise him with
their newborn cubs. The boy's name is Mowgli, and he lives in the
jungle for the next ten years. The wolves then learn that Shere Khan, a
human-hating tiger, is back in the jungle, and Mowgli will have to be
returned to the "man village" to be safe! Bagheera volunteers to take
him back, but Mowgli is reluctant, as he wants to stay in the jungle.
On the way, they encounter creatures that make the journey more
challenging, and after the two of them separate due to the human boy's
resistance, Mowgli meets a bear named Baloo. This laid back bear
teaches him about living a care-free lifestyle, and he now wants to
live with him, but Shere Khan is still a major threat, especially after
he learns that there's a human in the jungle!
Like many other Disney movies, one thing that helps this film's
entertainment level is the animation, most notably the backgrounds
here. You obviously can't expect the computer generated backgrounds we
see today, but the backgrounds here are still beautiful with the faded
colours, especially the green. The story isn't the most interesting one
I've ever seen, at least not early in the film, and for a while, I kind
of wondered if it was enough to carry the film. Fortunately, I think it
gets better along the way, and is often suspenseful, without being too
scary. There are also a number of memorable characters, including the
lovable Baloo (I might have been introduced to him as a little kid with
"TaleSpin"), Kaa the Snake, King Louie the Ape, Shere Khan, and the
vultures based on the Beatles. A lot of the characters provide comic
relief. The voice acting is mostly good, with the exception of Bruce
Reitherman as Mowgli. The songs are not the best to ever be featured in
an animated Disney film, but they are acceptable.
This was the last animated feature, of many, that Walt Disney produced
in his career, and it came into theatres nearly a year after his death.
It was apparently a box office success, which it deserved to be. It
showed that Disney's movie franchise was still going strong thirty
years after the release of the flick that started it, "Snow White and
the Seven Dwarfs". I'm not familiar with the source material (a
collection of stories by Rudyard Kipling), which is usually the case
with me and these Disney adaptations, but judging this version of "The
Jungle Book" just as a film, I think it's good family entertainment,
and obviously many would agree with me. There may be more for kids in
the film than there is for adults, but many adults could enjoy it as
well (that can be said about any good Disney movie), adults who still
like animated family adventures..