RELEASED 1967 RUNTIME 78 MIN LANGUAGE ENGLISH DIRECTION WOLFGANG REITHERMAN SCREENPLAY LARRY CLEMMONS, RALPH WRIGHT, KEN ANDERSON, VANCE GERRY, FLOYD NORMAN, BILL PEET STARRING PHIL HARRIS, SEBASTIAN CABOT, LOUIS PRIMA, GEORGE SANDERS, STERLING HOLLOWAY, J. PAT O’MALLEY, BRUCE REITHERMAN MUSIC GEORGE BRUNS, TERRY GILKYSON, RICHARD M. SHERMAN, ROBERT B. SHERMAN
Disney’s The Jungle Book is an animated adaption of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book and tells the story of Mowgli, a young kid who gets adopted by wolves in the Indian jungle and tries to find his way home to the human settlement to escape the fangs of Shere Khan, a tiger who hates humans. Mowgli is being accompanied by his loyal protector, Bagheera, a black panther.
I love the Jungle Book. As with almost all Disney animated movies, everything works. The story, the characters, the visual style, etc.
Essentially, this is an adventure movie that takes the viewer on a journey with Mowgli through the jungle world with various terrains and encounters. On his way we discover great side characters, such as the snake Kaa, an elephant herd patrol, a pack of vultures, King Louie and the monkey city and of course Baloo the bear, who becomes a constant companion.
As with all Disney animated movies until the digital era, this film feels like a musical. With each chapter we get introduced to a new song sung by the characters Mowgli encounters on his journey. The Baloo song Bear Necessities has become one of the all time Disney classics, but others, such as I Wanna Be Like You sung by King Louie and Trust Me performed by Kaa, are also well known, even when you haven’t watched the film. I love the songs and it’s always my favorite parts about any Disney animated picture.
When I re-watched the film I totally forgot how funny it actually is. Especially the section with the elephants cracked me up. Also the section with the vultures made me smile because for the first time I noticed how Disney stereotyped them by giving them all Australian accents. As a kid I always watched the German dubbed version, so that joke completely got missing for me.
Shere Khan is a good villain. His voice work is spectacular. Too bad he doesn’t really get that much do compared to other Disney villains. The focus of the story definitely is locked on other things, especially since we have adversaries sprinkled all throughout the story who try to hinder Mowgli from journeying.
Overall this is one of the all time Disney classics no one should miss. If you don’t like musical numbers in your animations, I truly pity you. It’s a very adventure type film and while some story elements feel unnecessary, you can’t deny the love and care the animators have put into this. For every animation lover this is a must see.