This week Rudyard Kipling’s master-colonial adventure “The Jungle Book” was released at all good cinemas across the civilised world. THE DAILY VOX TEAM round up a few reasons you should take your brats to watch it this weekend. Warning: SPOILERS ahead.
As children’s movies go, Disney’s The Jungle Book has everything every kid wants (except a tablet under the seat). Terrific graphics, a warm and fuzzy storyline and it’s spectacularly shot as Disney looked to veer old school to make some moola.
It has talking animals
Every kid loves talking animals. Think of Winnie the Pooh, Alvin and the Chipmunks and Dr Dolittle. And though it takes time for your eyes and ears to adjust to life-like beats of the jungle speaking in English to Mowgli, the kids will certainly be thrilled. The details are phenomenal. There are elephants, crocodiles, rabbits, giant snakes, mice, wolves and rhinos. It’s like going to Hluhluwe or Kruger National Park, which of course, you could do instead. But a movie may be cheaper. If you use your discount cards.
The dialogue is very childish
Unlike many other animations or kids’ movies, The Jungle Book is pretty soft with the dialogue. There is no attempt to to teach a lesson about animal or human rights. There is no subliminal message that pushes for a fair and more equitable world. No suggestion that #BlackLivesMatter or #FeesMustFall. Basically, parents would be thrilled to know that their kids won’t pop out of the movie any smarter or rebellious than they were previously. The dialogues are so benign, the philosophy so tame, your kids are not gonna come demanding you pay your domestic any better.
King Louis is spectacular and weird
The animals are extremely photogenic. The opening scene at peace-rock is magical. According to the law of the jungle, if a drought is so severe that a certain rock (known as peace rock) appears above the waterline, then there is a universal truce and a moratorium on hunting. Kind of like how our maize and bread companies keep prices low during our drought, eh? Shere Khan is scary and Baloo is sad but charming. But it is King Louis who will scare your kids shitless momentarily. Then make them laugh. King Louis is tremendously huge and goofy. It is the “monkey sequence” that comes as quite a welcome surprise to the waning plot. Actually as a cynical parent, you’d wish Louis ate Mowgli up and the movie ended then and there in that abandoned stone city. But alas. Apparently it wouldn’t stay true to the book if that were the case.
Mowgli is a weakling
The kid who plays Mowgli acts, talks and squeaks like a weakling. Neel Sethi, the child star who plays Mowgli is a mummy’s boy who tiptoes through the jungle. He wants to be a wolf and join the pack, but little Neel is a bully’s delight. If Mowgli made it out of the jungle and into one of our high schools, he’d get wedgied within a day. The good thing for you as parents, is that it will give your weakling a chance to dream.
It will teach the kids not to play with fire
If anything the central message of the story is that children shouldn’t play with fire. This, dear parent, can be interpreted in many ways. It may be known as the red flower, but it’s not to be groomed or allowed to bloom, or so the movie seems to suggest. It’s quite a disappointing final message to what should have been a thunderously gorgeous epic adventure. But at least you know the kids won’t burn down the house.
The Jungle Book is showing in cinemas across the country.