Starring: Phil Harris, Sebastian Cabot, Louis Prima
Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
Running Time: 78 mins
The Jungle Book is an American film about a young boy, Mowgli, who is left in the jungle and raised by wolves. When he is older, he meets Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear, who have differing opinions on whether Mowgli should be returned to human civilisation or live out his life in the jungle.
This is one of the most beloved Disney classics. It’s not only got a catchy soundtrack and fun all around, but it also tells a very emotional story about growing up, and the characters are all very three-dimensional and interesting, something that many of the more fairytale-based Disney films fail to do.
The story here really is one for the ages. It’s not something that everyone can immediately relate to, however the story of longing for independence and then growing up into the real world is absolutely fascinating to follow. This film will pull your emotions from side to side, being delightfully happy and joyous at one point, and deeply sad at others, making for a fantastic viewing experience that few cartoons can be.
You’ve also got to love all of the characters here. There’s a wide variety of personalities here, from the sensible Bagheera to the fun-loving Baloo, from the evil Shere Khan to the young Mowgli, there’s someone in here that everyone can relate to, even the animals, and that makes this a much more interesting and accessible drama than you would expect.
However, the main thing about this film is not the powerful emotion, rather the fun and entertainment that makes it such a good family film. The best part of that is the soundtrack, with groovy timeless classics such as ‘Bare Necessities’ and ‘I Wanna Be Like You’ giving you catchy tunes to sing along to throughout and enjoy even more.
Also, the animation is beautiful here. There’s the normal classic Disney animation on display in the foreground, but it’s the background images of the jungle landscape that really are fantastic to look at, with the hand-painted watercolours making it look like something out of a wonderful dream, making this all the more pleasant to watch.
Overall, this gets an 8.1 because it’s not only an engrossing emotional story with very human characters, but it’s got a great atmosphere of fun coupled with beautiful on screen imagery that all the family will love.