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Disney's "The Jungle Book" (2016) Is Stunningly Beautiful

Robert J. Sodaro is an American born writer, editor, and digital graphic artist, who loves writing about comics, movies, and literature.

Rudyard Kipling's tale comes to life in Disney's 2016 reboot.

Rudyard Kipling's tale comes to life in Disney's 2016 reboot.

The Jungle Book (2016)

  • Director: Jon Favreau
  • Starring: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o
  • Rating: PG
  • Length: 106 minutes

Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book Modernized

As a youth, we remember The Jungle Book as not only a book containing a collection of short stories by Rudyard Kipling, but also a 1967 animated film by Disney. The most famous of the tales from The Jungle Book involved Mowgli, as well as a young mongoose named Rikki-tikki-tavi.

To be sure, we don’t actually remember reading The Jungle Book as much as we remember watching Wolfgang Reitherman's film, and perhaps reading illustrated children’s book versions of Mowgli. Well, now Disney has chosen to give us a new, photo-realistic, computer-animated, 3D version of the story, and it is magnificent!

A Man-Cub in the Wild

The story (which is essentially the same as we remember it) involves the man-cub Mowgli (Sethi) who flees the jungle after he receives a threat from the tiger Shere Khan (Elba).

Mowgli is guided and protected by Bagheera the panther (Kingsley) and the bear Baloo (Murray), as he embarks on a journey of self-discovery while he attempts to determine his own place in the world—is he a man-cub who lives with the animals of the forest, or a human who should live among men?

Throughout his journey, Mowgli also meets his fair share of animals who don’t have his best interests at heart.

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The Story of Mowgli

Mowgli was raised by a family of wolves since birth, but now must leave the only home he’s ever known when the fearsome tiger Shere Khan determines that he is a threat to the rest of the jungle.

Guided by the no-nonsense Bagheera and the free-spirited Baloo, Mowgli meets up with an array of jungle animals, including the slithery python Kaa (Scarlett Johansson) and the smooth-talking ape King Louie (Christopher Walken). Along the way, Mowgli learns valuable life lessons as his epic journey of self-discovery leads to danger, adventure, and yes, even some fun.

L-R: Baloo, Mowgli and Bagheera hang out in The Jungle Book (2016).

L-R: Baloo, Mowgli and Bagheera hang out in The Jungle Book (2016).

A Most Excellent Film

So, as an adult sitting in the theater (watching this film in 3D), it was a truly wonderful experience. Some may feel that the photo-realistic nature of the film might be a tad traumatic for younger viewers, but our own nieces took their young children to see the film and all four of the young’uns came away entertained and with their fragile psyches intact.

Yes, there are some (technically) frightening sequences, but really nothing that youngsters shouldn’t be able to process, especially since everything turns out okay in the end. Still, parents should keep this in mind before bringing their own kids to The Jungle Book.

The film is faithful to the book, and the lessons learned by Mowgli can be translated into real-world applications for older kids, while younger kids get to see a fun, entertaining film, as do the adults who take them. Watch it and enjoy yourselves.

Post Script


Be sure to stick around through the end credits so you can hear Christopher Walken sing "I Wan'na Be Like You" (see above) and Bill Murray sing "Bare Necessities." You’ll be glad you did.

© 2016 Robert J Sodaro

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