Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book is another one of those Disney movies that I know I watched when I was young, but I don't remember it too well. It turns out to be fairly significant in terms of Disney history, because it is the last film that Walt Disney himself actually had a hand in before he died. We watched a fun little "making of" that was on the VHS after the movie ended, so we learned some interesting things about how the movie was put together.

Overall it's a cute Disney movie, I liked it, but it's not one of my favorites. Jason liked it more than I did. There are some fun characters, like Baloo and King Louie, but to be honest I really just did not like Mowgli. I mean yes, he is a child, but he's one of those annoying children that thinks they know everything and don't want to listen to anyone else. So the entire time I'm watching, I keep saying things like, "stop being stupid, Mowgli! You probably should be afraid of that snake, if you know what's good for you."

I haven't actually read the stories by Rudyard Kipling, but my understanding is that they are not very similar. Apparently Walt Disney told everyone involved in the movie, "Don't read the book. I want to do this my own way." And I think it definitely worked. The ending is a good one - it works and it's pretty darn cute.

The Music

This is definitely The Jungle Book's strong point. There are so many good songs in this movie, from a variety of genres. You can King Louie's jazz/scat number, "I Wanna Be Like You," Baloo's catchy "The Bare Necessities," and the vultures' Beatles imitation in "That's What Friends Are For." Only Kaa the snake's song was rather weak ("Trust in Me"). We learned from the making of video that the entire movie was actually written, and then re-written because it was too dark. The only song that was kept from the original was "The Bare Necessities."

The Villain

Shere Khan is kind of a lame villain. I mean, he's okay - he's a tiger and all - but he doesn't really do all that much. Kaa, while not exactly the main villain of the piece, is certainly more interesting and entertaining. But neither of them are making it into the top five (or even the top ten) or all time greatest Disney villains. A lot of the opposition comes from Mowgli himself anyway, and his desire to stay in the jungle and not go to the man village.

The Disney World Connection

To my knowledge there are not currently any Jungle Book themed rides or attractions in Walt Disney World. At one time there may have been a show in the Animal Kingdom, but I'm not 100% sure on that. I don't think there's any restaurants or shops either. I do know that Baloo can be seen wandering around the parks - I have a picture with him from the last time I was there!

My rating: 7 out of 10
Jason's rating: 8 out of 10

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