The Jungle Book (1967)
The Jungle Book is a 1967 American animated musical comedy film produced by Walt Disney Productions. Inspired by Rudyard Kipling's book of the same name, it is the 19th Disney animated feature film. Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, it was the last film to be produced by Walt Disney, who died during its production.
The plot follows Mowgli, a feral child raised in the Indian jungle by wolves, as his friends Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear try to convince him to leave the jungle before the evil tiger Shere Khan arrives.
Why It Rocks
- Brilliant animation that’s pretty impressive for the 1960s.
- Likable and memorable characters, especially Baloo, King Louie and Mowgli.
- Amazing musical numbers, such as Bare Necessities and I Wanna Be Like You.
- Shere Khan is an unforgettable antagonist and George Sanders does an outstanding job voicing him.
- Many memorable moments, such as the scene where Kaa hypnotizes Mowgli.
- Very nice grasp to the source material with some of its own creative adjustments to make it more for Disney’s standards.
- Baloo and Mowgli share a very heartwarming relationship with each other.
- The ending is incredible as Mowgli finally accepts to be apart of the Man-Village but still has a close relationship with the animals in the jungle
- The sequel The Jungle Book 2 is just plain weird.
- The dreaded reused animation that was common for Disney in the 1960s and 1970s.
- While inspired by Kipling's book, the film is generally unfaithful to it.
The Jungle Book received an outpouring of positive reviews upon release, undoubtedly influenced by a nostalgic reaction to the passing of Disney. Time noted that the film strayed far from the Kipling stories, but "the result is thoroughly delightful...it is the happiest possible way to remember Walt Disney." The New York Times called it "a perfectly dandy cartoon feature," and Life magazine referred to it as "the best thing of its kind since Dumbo, another short, bright, unscary, and blessedly uncultivated cartoon." Some negative reviews came from Judith Crist, who said the film was "devoid of mood or atmosphere." Variety's review was generally positive, but they stated that "the story development is restrained" and that younger audiences "may squirm at times."
Retrospective reviews were also positive, with the film's animation, characters, and music receiving much praise throughout the years. In 1990, when the film had its last theatrical re-release, Entertainment Weekly considered that The Jungle Book "isn't a classic Walt Disney film on the order of, say, Cinderella or Pinocchio, but it's one of Disney's liveliest and funniest", while the Los Angeles Times thought the film's crew was "near the height of their talents" and the resulting film "remains a high-spirited romp that will delight children--and parents weary of action films with body counts that exceed their box-office grosses." In 2010, Empire described the film as one that "gets pretty much everything right", regarding that the vibrant animation and catchy songs overcame the plot deficiencies.
- After Walt Disney's death, the studio would go in hell, but it later got avenged with Robin Hood.