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Disney Marathon: ‘The Jungle Book’

Posted on the 06 January 2021 by House Of Geekery @houseofgeekery

Disney Marathon: 'The Jungle Book'

The Christmas season is coming to a close. We ate too much, drank too much and now we're getting back to work. Although in this house, that mostly means binging cartoons and telling people what we think of them.

For those just joining us, this is a movie marathon with a twist. Myself (cranky 30s blogger), my son Josh (stoic 10 year old Nintendo obsessive) and my daughter Amelia (drama llama 8 year old princess) are watching Disney movies in a random order and ranking them. We hope to see interesting differences in how we organise our lists.

Released: 1967

Director: Wolfgang Reitherman

Cast: Bruce Reitherman, Phil Harris, Sebastian Cabot, Louis Prima, George Sanders, Sterling Holloway, J. Pat O'Malley, Clint Howard

Plot: A lost child is found and raised by a wolf pack in the Indian jungles. When he gets older, and draws the attention of the dangerous Shere Khan, the 'Man Cub' is encouraged to return to his own kind.

Disney Marathon: ‘The Jungle Book’

Review: The Jungle Book is famously the last feature film that Walt Disney had a hand in before his death, and his fingerprints are all over it. The idea of an adaptation came from the animating department claiming they could so interesting animal characters, but it gets the full Disney treatment. The darker tone of Rudyard Kipling's original story were exchanged for comedy and musical numbers, with an ending about Mowgli returning to the jungle wielding torch and gun being entirely binned. Famously, Disney handed one writer a copy of the book with instructions to not read it.

Whilst this is the furthest thing from an authentic The Jungle Book story, it's hard not to like the adventure we get put on. Most of the fun comes from the animated critters, which allow the animators to express character, humour and emotions through their fantastic artwork. Each jungle denizen Mowgli (voiced by Bruce Reitherman, son of director Wolfgang and the voice of Christopher Robin) encounters represents a different world view and philosophy as the Man-Cub finds his place. Although it's more than 50 years old, characters like Baloo, Bagheera, Kaa, King Louie and Shere Khan are still very much in the public consciousness.

Disney Marathon: ‘The Jungle Book’

The story itself is a simple one. Mowgli considers himself a member of the wolf pack and part of the jungle, but his guardians see the danger he is in and fear what will happen to him if the tiger Shere Khan (Sanders) finds him. The serious-minded and wary panther Bagheera (Cabot) volunteers to escort Mowgli to the Man-Village. The episodic nature of the story does make its way into the film narrative, with the journey to the village motivating them to keep moving forward. This gives The Jungle Book the same issue as Disney's package films, in that some of the segments are going to be stronger than others.

Baloo (Harris) is an instant classic, espousing a relaxed attitude to life, providing fun comedy and a catchy musical number. The same can be said of King Louie (Prima), with his swinging plea to Mowgli to share the secret of fire. Kaa (Holloway) and Shere Khan are delightfully sinister villains and their scene together is the best exchange in the entire film. On the other hand we have the Beatles-lite vultures scene brings the story to a complete halt just as tensions were beginning to build and the elephants get repetitive after a while.

Disney Marathon: ‘The Jungle Book’

Without a stronger narrative backbone and the abrupt ending, this could stand up to more repeat viewings. As it is, it's something you're going to tune out of between the fun parts.

Best Song: Whilst 'Bare Necessities' is likely the audience favourite, I personally go for 'I Wan'na Be Like You'.

Coolest Easter Egg: Bambi's mother somehow made the journey to India and is briefly stalked by Shere Khan. This is one of two cameos Bambi's mother makes in later Disney films.

Weirdest Trivia: The baby elephant, Junior, is voiced by Clint Howard, brother to Ron Howard. He's also known for oddball horror films Ice-Cream Man and Silent Night, Deadly Night 4.

Rating: SEVEN out of TEN

THE RANKING ME

This is one of those movies that has always been there. I've never considered it a favourite, but I wouldn't turn it off either.

Click those titles if you want to see what we said about the other movies.

AMELIA

Without a strong female character this movie didn't become a favourite for Amelia. Didn't hate it though.

  1. Frozen
  2. Moana
  3. Tangled
  4. The Little Mermaid
  5. Emperor's New Groove
  6. Zootopia
  7. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  8. The Great Mouse Detective
  9. Home on the Range
  10. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  11. Mulan
  12. Hercules
  13. Alice in Wonderland
  14. Cinderella
  15. Wreck-It Ralph
  16. Bolt
  17. Pocahontas
  18. Dinosaur
  19. The Aristocats
  20. The Princess and the Frog
  21. Robin Hood
  22. The Jungle Book
  23. Fantasia 2000
  24. Beauty and the Beast
  25. The Three Caballeros
  26. The Fox and the Hound
  27. The Sword in the Stone
  28. Saludos Amigos
  29. Oliver & Company
  30. Aladdin
  31. Treasure Planet
  32. Big Hero 6
  33. Fun and Fancy Free
  34. A Goofy Movie
  35. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  36. Chicken Little
  37. Fantasia

JOSHUA

Joshua didn't say a lot about The Jungle Book, but a point of finding the middle of the list when ranking it. I think that says enough.

  1. Zootopia
  2. Big Hero 6
  3. Aladdin
  4. Emperor's New Groove
  5. Treasure Planet
  6. Moana
  7. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  8. The Three Caballeros
  9. Saludos Amigos
  10. Wreck-It Ralph
  11. Frozen
  12. Mulan
  13. The Princess and the Frog
  14. The Jungle Book
  15. Robin Hood
  16. Bolt
  17. The Sword in the Stone
  18. Beauty and the Beast
  19. Oliver & Company
  20. Tangled
  21. The Great Mouse Detective
  22. Cinderella
  23. The Little Mermaid
  24. Home on the Range
  25. Pocahontas
  26. A Goofy Movie
  27. The Aristocats
  28. Fantasia
  29. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  30. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  31. Fun and Fancy Free
  32. The Fox and the Hound
  33. Fantasia 2000
  34. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  35. Dinosaur
  36. Hercules
  37. Alice in Wonderland
  38. Chicken Little

Next time...we're looking at some different big cats.

Disney Marathon: ‘The Jungle Book’


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