The jungle book
Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities
One of the most popular Disney films ever, The jungle book is a song-filled celebration of friendship, fun and adventure set in a lush and colourful world. Inspired by Rudyard Kipling's Mowgli stories, Disney's 19th animated classic was the last animated feature to bear Walt Disney's personal touch.
The jubilant adventure begins when Mowgli, a young boy raised by wolves, is urged by his friend Bagheera, a wise old panther, to seek safety in the man-village. Feeling very much at home in the jungle, Mowgli resists and runs off where he meets Baloo the bear, a loveable jungle bum with a happy-go-lucky philosophy of life. Together, these new buddies find the journey back to civilisation anything but civilised, encountering a crazy orang-utan named King Louie, a hypnotic snake named Kaa and the menacing tiger, Shere Khan, along the way!
Fully restored to its theatrical brilliance and featuring jazzy, toe-tapping music including the Oscar-nominated The bare necessities, this enduring Disney classic will delight your whole family!
Persons of interest
- Phil Harris .... Baloo
- Sebastian Cabot .... Bagheera
- Louis Prima .... King Louie
- George Sanders .... Shere Khan
- Sterling Holloway .... Kaa
- J Pat O'Malley .... Colonel Hathi, Buzzie
- Bruce Reitherman .... Mowgli
- Verna Felton .... Winifred
- Clint Howard .... Junior
- Chad Stuart .... Flaps
- Lord Tim Hudson .... Dizzy
- John Abbott .... Akela the Wolf
- Ben Wright .... Rama
- Darleen Carr .... Shanti
- Rudyard Kipling .... Author
- Larry Clemmons .... Screenwriter
- Ralph Wright .... Screenwriter
- Ken Anderson .... Screenwriter
- Vance Gerry .... Screenwriter
- Wolfgang Reitherman .... Director
Cinematic intelligence sources
- Studios and distributors:
Special Agent Matti
The jigsaw puzzle!
I grew up with a Jungle book jigsaw puzzle of the King Louie scene (Mowgli, Baloo, monkeys, bananas and ancient temples). I had great fun putting the pieces together but always wondered what the story was as I hadn't seen the film when it was first released (as I had with Fantasia 2000). Now I have and it was worth the wait.
Despite the Disneyfication of Rudyard Kipling's classic tale, The jungle book still manages to keep some of its dark origins. The baddies are real baddies who are not at all averse to eating the hero before the film hits halfway. The most powerful declaration of love (if you love something, let it go...) and all the pain it implies is given full flight and falls on the unhappy side of the line despite the happy ending (it's happy for Mowgli who goes off to a new and exciting life but unhappy for all the animals who lose their dear friend). That's the cool thing about animation: even the happiest story can be full of pain.
Just like life.
The animation is really good, full of smooth flowing motion (panthers and tigers!) and wild stuff like the jibber-jabber monkey play. The backgrounds are full of earth tones: greens, yellows, browns and ivories. The ecology is dodgy (bears and wolves do not live in the jungle) but a lot of effort has gone into making the animals move like animals even when they're behaving like humans. And Mowgli and his flirtatious girlfriend have brown skin, albeit with anglicised features. It's not often you see an animated character who's anything other than pinky white.
The songs are really boppy, catchy tunes. You'll find them popping into your head for days after. Kaa's hypnotic seduction of Mowgli (for dining purposes!) is really sinister, better even than Poor unfortunate souls from The little mermaid. Everything about The jungle book is of top quality, making it worth everyone's while to own and see.
Media intelligence (DVD)
Featureette: Making-of (15 minutes)
Security censorship classification
PG (Medium level violence)
111 minutes (1:51 hours)
Not for public release in Australia before date
DVD rental: 26 July 2000