Netflix just added a long list of movies for the month of December and one of those movies was “The Jungle Book”. This film was a more “real-life” version of the animated family favorite “Jungle Book”. I always find it interesting when modern movies recreate older animated movies because it is a really a hit or miss. I think “The Jungle Book” was a hit.
In the first scene, Mowgli (the human boy raised by wolves) is struggling to keep up with the pack in a simulated run from a predator. Bagheera (a black panther who looks after Mowgli) catches him. He says Mowgli is the worst wolf he has ever seen. Mowgli struggles with his identity for the entire film. He was raised by wolves, but he is nothing like them (as much as he wants to be one).
Mowgli shows many signs of human intuition throughout the film. At the watering hole, he creates a device that brings water to him. Bagheera does not approve of his “man inventions” and chastises. Alongside this self-battle that Mowgli is having is another plot. Shere Khan is a vicious tiger who hates man and is on a mission to kill Mowgli. Mowgli is sent away to escape from Shere Khan. Khan continuously kills animals until Mowgli is turned over to him. On Mowgli’s journey, he meets many animals and shows more signs of his human abilities. He creates a device that helps him to obtain a huge amount of honey for his bear friend Baloo. Bagheera disproves of these inventions again and lets Mowgli know it. The movie begins to turn when Mowgli uses vines to save an elephant that was trapped in a pit. Bagheera begins to see the positives of Mowgli’s inventions.
As the movie reaches its climax, Mowgli and Shere Khan meet each other on a dead tree in the burning forest. Mowgli thinks quickly and creates a seat that hangs from the tree. Shere Khan corners Mowgli on a branch and jumps for the final kill of Mowgli. Mowgli then jumps onto the seat that he had created while Khan falls to his death in the burning forest.
The film finally concludes with another simulated run with the wolves. This time, Mowgli moves through the trees and vines instead of the ground with the other wolves. He beats the rest of the wolves and they are upset because a wolf can’t go in the trees. However, he has finally embraced that he isn’t a wolf and there is no use trying to be something that he is not. It was a perfect ending to a really great film that highlighted how we all need to embrace who we are instead of trying to be things that we are not.