NovelSisters

watching, reading, and writing stories

The Jungle Book and Community

on April 25, 2016

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I was hanging out with some girlfriends this past Saturday and one of them mentioned seeing a movie. I suggested the Jungle Book, since I thought the remake looked interesting and I’d heard some good things about it. The suggestion was met with exclamations of “Yes!” So a few hours later I went with 3 close friends to the mall to see this remake of a childhood classic.

In many ways this movie holds true to the original animated Disney movie. Most of the characters are the same and they even have updated versions of the classic songs “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wanna Be Like You.” However, there are some noticeable changes, most of which I enjoy. For example, we get a lot more screen time and character development with Mowgli’s wolf family, especially his mother. This was sorely lacking in the original movie, and I appreciated seeing the pack or family mentality woven into the film.

The movie also has a darker tone than the original. There is a lot more action, fear, and a more developed villain. Sher Khan doesn’t just hunt Mowgli, he is the one who killed his father. And he even kills the wolf leader because they don’t hand Mowgli over to him. And Kaa isn’t a bumbling snake that easily loses his prey, instead she is a cleaver seductress that would have killed Mowgli if Baloo hadn’t shown up.

Mowgli is also shown to be a very unique and likable character. He realizes he is not like the other creatures around him and develops his own solutions or “tricks” to problems, such as making a scoop to collect water. He gets in trouble for these “tricks” at first, but later it is seen to be his strength. He also is very aware of other’s needs and wants to help. When he sees how his staying with the wolves is causing a conflict, he decides to leave, and when he sees a baby elephant stuck in the mud, he helps it out.

I also love how Sher Khan is defeated in this film. Instead of Mowgli tying a burning stick to his tail, all of the animals of the jungle pitch in to help Mowgli. Ultimately Mowgli is the one who has to trick the tiger into his death, but I really loved seeing all of the other creatures taking part in the action. It reinforced the importance of the pack, or community. I especially enjoyed this because I love the message for us as well.

If we try to face our problems on our own, it’s hard and we probably won’t make it. But when we look out for each other and care for each other, we can overcome huge things. I’ve seen this firsthand with how my city has gone through disastrous flooding over and over again. If we just let our neighbors deal with their own issues and don’t offer to help, the whole community suffers. But when we come together to bless each other, it strengthens everyone.

We all need friendship and community to get through life’s personal or communal tragedies. And this movie does a good job of showing that. At the end of the film, I expected Mowgli to go back to live in the man village, just as he does in the old movie. But he doesn’t, instead he stays with his real community, his jungle friends who he’s helped and who have helped him. They really have become his family.

So I hope you take the time to go see this film, I really enjoyed it and I think you will too.

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