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Thoth’s ‘The Jungle Book’ Movie Review

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Thoth’s ‘The Jungle Book’ Movie Review


I, Thoth – thought…

(‘The man who lives with animals’ plot is a great one! Yet I was never convinced that anyone could do justice to it in live-action – until this movie)

The Jungle Book? – a couple of months back – It’s probably going to be another Tarzan and Jane movie, I’m thinking – and unfortunately I’d just watched the Legend of Tarzan trailer, which I’m thinking was – Myeh… But then I heard Jon Favreu was directing this Mowgli movie and I’m thinking that got my curiosity – Meowing – instead.

(Favreau’s gone from successfully directing Iron Man, to Chef, to now The Jungle Book. What’s he doing next – a Star Wars movie?)

Whoever cut this movie’s trailers – absolutely SOLD it! I’m thinking, the first trailer was great but the second trailer moved me – emotionally. You know what? Even if you’ve watched it! Watch it again! Now!

(See what I did there? Now I don’t have to explain the plot. Plot writing = Draggy Word Count Hog)

… Still need me to explain the plot? He’s Mowgli for crying out loud! I’m thinking, he is to the jungle what Muhammad Ali is to boxing – a legend. And, I’m thinking, Jon Favreu’s cinematic version of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Jungle Book’ – is an intelligent, beautiful, believable cinematic retelling of the legend of Mowgli, the boy who braved the jungle and won the love of animals.

(Bagheera? Baloo the bear with bare necessities? Ring any bells? Did you have a childhood?)

Whether you have or haven’t read the Jungle Book or watched the cartoon, whether you know the “bare-necessities” of its plot or don’t know who the ‘underwear-wearing-flower’ (chaddi pehen ke phool – as known in India) really is – it doesn’t matter, this movie is a must-watch! – preferably on IMAX and the best part, I’m thinking – you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy it.

Meets the Bare Necessities for a great Jungle Book Movie

  • The Animals are super believable and absolutely amazing to look at. The dialogue delivery is so brilliantly in sync with the animals actions and expressions, I’m thinking – it will have you believing animals can talk, like it was always a thing.
  • Neel Sethi looks Indian, sounds NRI (crap!), acts really well and moves like Mowgli, i.e. I’m thinking his body-movements were cleverly interposed with hints of animal-like influence. Like this one scene, I’m thinking, where he scrambles to the top of a cliff and naturally takes a few steps on all fours.
  • The movie is bordering on being for mature audiences only (Thank God for that), I’m thinking – it barely shies away from being scary and almost brutal in some scenes. I normally think the Indian Censor Board is full-retarded, but I’m thinking I’ll be fair and say they went half-retarded on this movie, because I probably wouldn’t take an under 7 years old kid to the movie. But I’m thinking, it’s perfect – because it’s the damn jungle! What do you expect?
  • Bill Murray is super fun and lovable! And Idris Elba – brings the menace and intimation of Shere Khan to life perfectly.

… Ehem ehem – now onto the philosophy…

Baring the Necessity of Life

What are the bare necessities of life? Food and Shelter?  I’m thinking, The Jungle Book’s story of a “man-cub” trying to co-exist with the animals of the jungle, made me wonder if maybe “acceptance” was the one-true necessity of life. But, I’m thinking – what does acceptance mean?

Is acceptance being allowed to mimic another’s way of life? Like when Monkey King Louie (Christopher Walken) sings to Mowgli about his desire to be like man – “Oh oobee doo! I wanna be like you-hoo… I wanna walk like you, talk like you, too-hoo”.

Or is that an ape-like approach to life, as Jungle Book’s story intelligently indicates? – I’m thinking. From the start, Mowgli – who’s adopted by a pack of wolves and trained by Bagheera (Ben Kingsley), constantly indicates an instinctive human need for creating tools to ease his tasks. And each time Bagheera’s parental concern fearfully reproaches him, telling him not to use “tricks” in the jungle. I’m thinking – this is ironic, since in the movie all the animals of the jungle – reverentially bow before the elephants for being the inventors of the forest. The movie soon explains that animals fear the inventiveness of men, because of the destructiveness that usually comes along with it.

However, when Mowgli stumbles on Baloo the bear,  I’m thinking he finds an alternative mentor to compliment Bagheera’s teachings. Baloo encourages Mowgli’s inventiveness (even though initially it’s just so that Mowgli’s tools can help him get honey), I’m thinking it’s his quick friendly acceptance and appreciation of the kid’s creativity absent fear or paranoia – which plays an important role in Mowgli’s maturity.

And thus, I’m thinking, true acceptance is – having your way of life being accepted and co-existed with. I’m thinking, especially in modern context to the jungle of diversity that India is (where Mowgli is from), it’s not about belonging to a different religion, being homosexual, being omnivorous or herbivorous, nor is it about agreeing with each other’s way of life, it’s about sharing existence despite the differences. It’s not about being like the pack, it’s about living with the pack.

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling is most commonly seen as the perfect story to tell kids, and I’m thinking – it still is, but this particular version by Jon Favreau gives us a glimpse into  the essence of the story, which may have so much for grown-ups to learn from, especially about parenting.

After all, I’m thinking, every kid that grows up indoctrinated into society, is kind of like a Mowgli that’s learning to live with the jungle. His upbringing will decide if his originality or creativity is allowed to grow, or if he is trained to ape the archetype of a typical social animal.

What I’d have loved for The Jungle Book to have included –

I’m thinking, I really loved the way the story shows how all the different animals of the jungle co-exist with each other. However, I’m thinking, the movie never fully dwells into how carnivores and herbivores tolerate each other. I’ve always wondered how Mowgli would deal with this dilemma. I, Thoth am thinking that animals don’t have animosity or “anti non-veg movements” – despite being hunted by each other, because they appear to have no sympathy, only empathy for ‘The Circle of Life’ (LION KING – best animal movie forever). Man on the other hand, I’m thinking, feels a lot sympathy, this sympathy leads to fear and –

Thoth Yoda

Darth Mowgli anyone? I’m thinking, Andy Serkis’s upcoming Jungle Book (maybe 2018) starring Christian Bale will try this Thoth-ful idea.

No animals were actually killed during the writing of this review, nor were any spoilers given out, I’m thinking… Unless you count me revealing the following as one –

“Now when you pick a pawpaw,

Or a prickly pear…

And you prick a raw paw,

Next time beware….

Don’t pick the prickly pear by the paw,

When you pick a pear,

Try to use the claw…

But you don’t need to use the claw,

When you pick a pear of the big paw-paw.

Have I given you a clue ?

The bare necessities of life will come to you!

They’ll come to you!”

– Terry Gilkyson, lyrics of The Bare Necessities (Jungle Book 1967)



1 Comment

  1. Vain Gogh November 23, 2016

    Love love love! Love the movie. love the visuals. love the story. love the review. love the writing.


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