The Jungle Book (Disney film)
"Many strange legends are told of these jungles of India, but none so strange as the story of a small boy named Mowgli."—Bagheera
A 1967 Disney Animated Canon feature film.
Based on a collection of stories of the same name published around 1893 by Rudyard Kipling, Disney found The Jungle Book and loved at least some of its ideas, so they chose it for one of their Animated Adaptations. The result was and is widely considered a great Disney film, the best and perhaps most original animated Disney film of the 1960s. That said, this adaptation of The Jungle Book was one of the greatest cases of Adaptation Displacement in history, so great a case that Disney felt free to use some of Mowgli's friends and foes and rivals far, far away from the books and jungles where they were conceived, and so it considers them its own.
One of Disney's most publicized features, the film spawned two Animated Series Spin-Offs: Tale Spin, an Anthropomorphic Shift Animated Series that puts three of the main characters from Disney's version of The Jungle Book into an Alternate Continuity, and Jungle Cubs, which focuses on the infant lives of the animal residents of the film. The Jungle Book also received its inevitable sequel titled The Jungle Book 2.
A Live-Action remake by Jon Favreau was released in 2016, with a star-studded voice cast including Bill Murray as Baloo, Christopher Walken as King Louie, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, and Scarlett Johansson as Kaa.
- Actor Allusion: King Louie is played by Louis Prima, whose nickname was "The King of the Swing". In King Louie's song, "I Wanna Be Like You (The Monkey Song)", he refers to himself as the "King of the Swingers".
- It gets better. He was notorious for many songs extolling his preference for bigger women such as "The Bigger The Figure" (featured in Igor). Now, knowing that, observe his character's reaction to Baloo's disguise.
- There's another one in the sequel. If you pay very close attention during the scenes with the vultures, you'll hear Jess Harnell doing his Ringo Starr impression. Again.
- Adaptational Villainy: Kaa was one of Mowgli's allies and mentors in the original book, saving him from the Bandar-log, giving him advice for battle against the dholes, and never threatening to harm him. In fact, Mowgli was the only character able to resist his hypnotic dance. In the movie, he's a more comical villain, but is a genuine threat to the level that Bagheera is afraid of him when he's angry. In the sequel, he's pretty much a Butt Monkey and loses almost all of his original menace.
- Affably Evil: Nearly all of the Rogues Gallery have some amount of charm to their personality and valid reasons for their wrathful intentions (Kaa for food, Shere Khan for his hatred and self preservation from man).
- Analogy Backfire: When discussing the idea of letting Mowgli stay in the jungle...
Bagheera: The jungle is not the place for him.
Baloo: I grew up in the jungle. Take a look at me!
Bagheera: Yes, just look at yourself! Look at that eye!
- Animal Talk: One of the few things that's more or less exactly the same as Kipling's original book is that all animals (and Mowgli) can talk to one another.
- This is taken one step further and goes to ridiculous extremes in the sequel, when both Shanti and Ranjan, who unlike Mowgli have not grown up in the jungle, also automatically understand the animals with no explanation.
- Animation Bump: Milt Kahl's work with Shere Khan is a notable version of this.
- Anti-Villain: Shere Khan's hatred of humans becomes a lot more understandable when you consider that humans almost drove tigers to extinction.
- Art Shift: Very noticable between the two movies. In The Jungle Book 2, the character designs are mostly the same, but they move slightly differently (most notably Mowgli, who is a lot more agile and often sports some animal-like movements he completely lacked in the original), the "hard scratchy outline" look from the original is replaced with the softer lines of modern Disney movies, and the jungle is overall a lot more lush and colorful.
- Ascended Extra: Baloo was really supposed to only be a bit part in the original movie, but Walt Disney was so impressed with Phil Harris's vocal performance that the bear was promoted to a major character.
- Bittersweet Ending: Mowgli leaves for the man-village, and is now with his people. But Baloo is absolutely heartbroken, with Bagheera reassuring him that Mowgli is safer now. In the end, Baloo and Bagheera stroll away into the sunset, singing a reprise of "The Bare Necessities". Its made more bittersweet once realising that this was the final film Walt Disney ever saw completed in his lifetime.
- Big Bad: Shere Khan.
- Big Friendly Dog: Two members of Mowgli's wolf family. In the beginning of the film we see them tackle Mowgli and give his face a good licking.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Mowgli, who refuses to leave the jungle and continuously runs from his guardians in a stubborn fit (usually straight into danger). He tones down a little in the sequel.
- Canon Immigrant: A lot of later adaptions of the original novels, while usually more faithful to the original source material, tend to borrow elements from the Disney movie. Variations of King Louie appear in the live-action movie and Shonen anime for example. Characterizations such as that of Shere Khan and Baloo are also occasionally borrowed vaguely from their Disney interpretations.
- Catch Phrase: Baloo's "You better believe it".
- Cats Are Mean: Shere Khan's very name is enough to bring a chill down the other animals' spines. Bagheera however is a key protagonist and one of the most rational and benevolent characters in the jungle.
- Cats Are Snarkers: Bagheera the panther is easily the snarkiest character in the movie, and Shere Khan the tiger, though he doesn't get many lines, comes across as at least somewhat snarky as well.
- Character Exaggeration: Between movies. Kaa's incompetence and cowardliness are greatly exaggerated in the second movie to the point where he becomes something of a Butt Monkey, whereas in the first he was genuinely menacing yet constantly unsuccessful, and his general fear of Shere Khan (the same as everyone else) is exaggerated to not being able to form full sentences around him.
- Which is an especially ridiculous exaggeration considering Kaa was the only character (besides the elephants who Khan would just avoid) that Shere Khan had anything to fear from. Yes, Baloo tried to fight him because he cared about Mowgli, but was clearly outmatched. But Shere Khan was only able to save himself from hypnosis by Kaa thanks to a very quick reaction.
- Shere Khan seemed to take the opposite extreme who, while still the greatest threat of the original film, was still somewhat hammy and whimsical in tone. In most later depictions (particularly in the sequel) he is much more stoic and sinister in tone.
- Bagheera's Chew Toy status is also exaggerated between films.
- The Chew Toy: Bagheera, somewhat, in part thanks to him being The Comically Serious of sorts.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: King Louie, despite his Ensemble Darkhorse status and appearances in previous media such as Tale Spin and Jungle Cubs, does not appear in the sequel (allegedly due to fears of a lawsuit issued by Louis Prima's widow over caricature of his voice).
- Closer to Earth: Winifred, the only shown female resident of the jungle is much less befuddled and pompous than her husband. Though Bagheera seems to act as the Only Sane Man no contest.
- Cloudcuckooland: The jungle seems to be filled with a rather dominating amount of bizarre and whimsical residents, especially in the original film.
- The Comically Serious: Shere Khan, particularly during his confrontation with Kaa.
- Composite Character: Arguable example. Kaa's more villainous characterization has a few notable character traits more similar to Tabaqui the Jackal of the original novel (mock courteousy, sniveling tendacies towards Shere Khan and, of course, antagonistic Smug Snake persona), a possible reason the latter is absent in the Disney adaption.
- Much lower scale example, Mowgli's father (merely Father Wolf in the book) is referred to as Rama, the name of an unrelated bull character in the original novel.
- Cowardly Lion: The vultures are terrified of Shere Khan, but that doesn't stop them from directly attacking him when he goes after Mowgli and Baloo.
- Cut Song (A ton of cut songs are found on the DVD.)
- The Danza: King Louie is voiced by Louis Prima.
- Deadpan Snarker: Bagheera. See Stealth Insult section. Also...
Baloo: Oh, stop worrying, Baggy! Stop worrying! I'll take care of him.
Bagheera: Yes, like you did when the monkeys kidnapped him, huh?
- Demoted to Extra: The wolves, despite their prominent role raising Mowgli in the original book, only appear at the beginning of the original film and do not appear at all in the sequel or spin offs.
- Akela in particular. Easily one of the most important characters in the book, here he appears for only a single scene and winds up being incredibly forgettable (he also gets a key appearance in an episode of Jungle Cubs however).
- Also, Bagheera in the sequel. Though he's one of the most important characters in both Kipling's book and in the original movie, in the sequel he's barely involved in the plot and basically only shows up to get beat up a lot.
- Disney Death: Baloo.
- Lucky in the sequel.
- Distracted by the Sexy / Love At First Sight: Mowgli instantly loses all control of his mental faculties the moment he sees Shanti and hears her singing, a reaction she quite deliberately uses to allure him into the village - by the time she blinks her eyes at him he's gone, man: solid gone. Funnily enough, in the sequel he has absolutely no problem cheerfully admitting it, but Shanti apparently finds it embarrassing and fervently denies doing any such thing.
- The Dreaded: Shere Khan.
- Early-Bird Cameo: The elephants in this film actually all made an appearance in the short subject Goliath II before actually making their official debuts here.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Kaa dislikes Shere Khan's wrathful reasons for hunting Mowgli rather than hunting merely for food and criticizes him for "picking on that poor defenseless boy" once he knows he's safely out of earshot. Then he remembers that he's currently got that "poor defenseless boy" in his coils.
- Everybody Lives: There are no deaths in either film, which is admittedly odd even for a Disney adaptation.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: King Louie and his monkeys subvert this somewhat.
- Everything's Worse with Bears: Baloo, despite Bagheera's fears of his Toxic Friend Influence on Mowgli, averts this hard.
- Exact Words: "I can see to it that you never have to leave this jungle."
- Expy: Baloo proved so popular that Disney used Phil Harris to play essentially the same character in their next two animated features, The Aristocats and Robin Hood.
- The latter is even more obvious since they re-used animation from The Jungle Book for Robin Hood.
- Gene Hunt Interrogation Technique: Shere Khan to Kaa in both films.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Baloo is getting visibly sexually aroused during Bear Necessities, when he starts scratching himself with the rock wall.
- Gray Rain of Depression: During Baloo's Disney Death scene.
- Happily Ever Before
- Honorable Elephant: Colonel Hathi and his troops. Particularly Hathi, himself.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: Shere Khan's attitude towards humans, which is why he wants to kill Mowgli.
- Hypnotic Eyes: Kaa.
- Incoming Ham: "That's what frieeeeeeeeends...aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaare for."
- Ink Suit Actor: Baloo, Shere Khan, and King Louie are heavily based on their respective voice actors (Phil Harris, George Sanders, and Louis Prima).
- In Name Only: This film is radically diffrent from the original. To Wit:
- It turned Kaa into a literal Smug Snake, Baloo into a hedonist, and Bagheera into something of a godfather.
- Mowgli is changed from a Noble Savage to a Bratty Half-Pint.
- At one point in the Kipling stories, Kaa the python hypnotizes a troupe of monkeys into becoming his helpless (ahem) dinner guests; later on, Mowgli singes Shere Khan's fur with a burning branch, and when that fails to get rid of him, Mowgli and the wolves stampede a herd of water-buffalo over him. As if that wasn't enough, in the story "Red Dog", Mowgli causes the marauding dogs of the title to be attacked by millions of angry bees; those who survive this by jumping into the river are attacked by Mowgli with a knife, and any that are left must then face Mowgli and his enraged wolf pack. Incidentally, Mowgli does most of this while he's naked. It should come as no surprise that none of this makes it into the Disney version.
- Using fire against Shere Khan does show up in the movie.
- The branch was tied to his tail, but he was never directly singed. Well, not that we see, at least...
- It turned Kaa into a literal Smug Snake, Baloo into a hedonist, and Bagheera into something of a godfather.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Baloo and Mowgli, and Bagheera and Mowgli.
- Irony: This exchange:
Bagheera: But Shere Khan the tiger! He's sure to pick up the boy's trail!
Hathi: Shere Khan? Nonsense, old boy. Shere Khan isn't within miles of here!
Shere Khan: (in the brush behind them) (laughs)
- I Will Tear Your Arms Off: When Baloo and Bagheera are trying to rescue Mowgli from King Louie and the apes, Baloo actually tells himself, "I'm gonna tear him limb to limb..."
- Knight of Cerebus: Shere Khan. As Affably Evil as he is, his appearance in the original film stops much of the fun and silly mood and makes things more tense and dark. This is carried Up to Eleven where he's concerned in the sequel.
- Large Ham: King Louie, at least during "I Wan'na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)".
- Line in the Sand: The elephant brigade all step back, (except for one, who immediately steps back, as well), when asked to volunteer.
- Load-Bearing Hero: Baloo and King Louie are stuck holding up the ruins that Louie uses as his headquarters. (Louie might count as a Load-Bearing Boss, though).
- Mind Control Eyes: Anyone whom Kaa hypnotizes. Also Baloo when caught up in the music of King Louie and the Monkeys.
- Misplaced Vegetation: Prickly pears for a start.
- Misplaced Wildlife: Orangutans are only found in Borneo and Sumatra (although they did live in India in prehistoric times, but probably went extinct long before the arrival of mancubs).
- Mistaken for Dying
- Narrator: Bagheera in this version.
- Nobody Here but Us Statues: Bagheera does this, as there are a bunch of statues of panthers in the ruined human city, with one conveniently empty spot for him to sit in and assume the same pose as the statues. Even though he's solid black and they are light gray, he goes unnoticed by the monkeys who pass right by him. But then Baloo opens a door onto him.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown / Gory Discretion Shot: Shere Khan, claws extended, fighting Baloo near the end:
Shere Khan: I'll kill you for this!
- Also implied again in the sequel, this time on heckling vulture Lucky:
Shere Khan: Isn't it ironic that your name is "Lucky"?
- No Pronunciation Guide: Mowgli's name is actually pronounced MAO-gli, not MOH-gli. Mow rhymes with cow. Rudyard Kipling's daughter allegedly never forgave Disney for this mistake, though it's hardly their fault—the mispronunciation of Mowgli's name could be heard as far back as Zoltan Korda's 1942 live action adaptation.
- Odd Friendship / Odd Couple / Interspecies Friendship: Baloo and Bagheera, who start the first movie knowing but not particularly close and end the movie good friends through taking care of Mowgli - though if Jungle Cubs is to be believed they were always friends but not too close in the movie's beginning. Whether or not they are the Odd Couple or just an Odd Friendship depends on whether one considers them or Mowgli the major protagonists.
- Oh Crap: Most epically with Shere Khan after he discovers a big burning bush on his tail.
- One-Scene Wonder: King Louie.
- Old Windbag: Col. Hathi
- The Other Darrin: For rather obvious reasons, none of the original voice-actors reprise their roles in the sequel. It's most obvious with Shanti, who sounds nothing like she did in the first movie, but it's also notable with Mowgli and Baloo. The other voice actors imitate the original actors with various levels of success.
- Pale Females, Dark Males: The wolves and the elephants.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Baloo in drag with the monkeys.
- Pigeonholed Voice Actor: Phil Harris would basically go on to play Baloo again in Robin Hood as Little John and in The Aristocats as O'Malley.
- Pinball Protagonist
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Colonel Hathi's "military band" does little else than march around obnoxiously while singing their Ear Worm. How Hathi got his Victoria Cross is anyone's guess.
- In the movie, Hathi reminisces about being part of a British elephant troop and was presumably released into the wild when he got older; he just kept up his military habits with the herd he became part of (never mind that bull elephants are almost always loners in the wild).
- Please Wake Up
- Putting a Hand Over His Mouth: A monkey does this to Mowgli.
- Recycled Script: The sequence where Baloo and the monkeys kept taking Mowgli away from each other is pretty much a shot-for-shot remake of a similar sequence from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Watch and see.
- The sequel is frequently criticized for its similar plot to the original film.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Baloo is Red, Bagheera is Blue
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Bagheera loses his temper with Mowgli and leaves him to fend for himself at twice over. He quickly darts back at the thought of leaving him with Baloo however.
- Shout-Out: Near the end of the film, Bagheera delivers a eulogy to the apparently dead Baloo as the background music plays. Surprisingly, this background music is a Grief Song called "Chorale for Snow White", a shout-out to the 1937 film Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs.
- Show Some Leg: Shanti blatantly does this to Mowgli at the end of the first movie (which she attempts to deny in the second). Lampshaded by Baloo and Bagheera.
Baloo: (furious) She did that on purpose!
Bagheera: (smiling) Obviously.
- Sidekick Song: "The Bare Necessities", of course! Also, "I Wan'na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)" and "That's What Friends Are For (The Vulture Song)".
- Sissy Villain: Kaa and to a lesser extent, Shere Khan. Both are genuinely feared predators of the jungle (Shere Khan mentioned as being stronger than the entire wolf pack combined) however in both cases, their wrath is hidden in an amusingly flamboyant, playful and soft spoken demeanor. In the sequel, Shere Khan is a more bitter villain, though still plays around with this at times.
- Slasher Smile: Shere Khan seems to have grown a skill for these in the sequel (most notably before he seemingly beats Lucky mercilessly).
- Smug Snake: Kaa is a literal example. Shere Khan is debatable too.
- Spared by the Adaptation: In the original book Shere Khan was killed by Mowgli, to the point of he almost Dropped a Bridge on Him. However the tiger survives in all of Disney's adaptions of the stories and character to date.
- Also Akela, albeit owed more to the shortened timespan and the fact he appears all of once.
- Spinoff Babies: Disney's Jungle Cubs.
- Stealth Insult: Bagheera delivers a sharp one when Baloo is trying to make himself look like someone who can be trusted to raise Mowgli...
Baloo: I'll learn him all I know!
Bagheera: Well, that shouldn't take too long.
- Stock Footage: The scene where Mowgli is licked by the two wolves uses the same animation sequence from The Sword in the Stone where Wart gets licked by Tiger and Talbot, the castle dogs. Shere Khan also spends some time sneakily stalking a deer whose death had already traumatized a generation of Disney Kids. (Thanks again, Bambi). Various shots were also recycled within the movie, chiefly those involving the elephants and Kaa.
- Super-Persistent Predator: Played with and averted. Shere Khan tracks Mowgli all throughout the jungle in both movies, but both times he is out to kill him for being human rather than hunting him for food. Meanwhile, Kaa (who is hunting for food) only chances upon the main characters and quits pursuing them once they prove to be more trouble than they're worth.
Kaa: If I never seen that skinny little shrimp, it'll be too soon.
- Tempting Fate: Mowgli does this a lot. The most obvious example: Kaa first appears immediately after Mowgli tells Bagheera "I can take care of myself", and he nearly gets himself (and Bagheera) killed.
Baloo: Yessir, nothin' or nobody's gonna come between us again! (Cue Shanti)
- And on that note both of those examples are also Inadvertent Entrance Cue of one sort or another.
- Tickle Torture: First Mowgli on Baloo. Later, when King Louie is holding up a section of the ruins, Baloo tickles him. An accidental example occurs when Shere Khan tries to pat Kaa down.
- Too Dumb to Live: Mowgli to an extent for aforementioned reasons.
- Lucky in the sequel is a brainless Screwy Squirrel who spends the majority of his role taunting Shere Khan over his defeat at the hands of Mowgli as up close as possible inadvertently giving him directions to the mancub's location in the process (before falling victim to a rather nasty beating).
- Tranquil Fury: Disney picked George Sanders specifically for his ability to give Shere Khan a sinister yet simultaneously swave and gentlemanly demeanor. He finally loses his cool during the climax, if still more in the form of a haughty snit fit than an outright Villainous Breakdown.
- Villain Ball: Kaa twice over was nearly successful in making a snack out of Mowgli, his tendancy for aloud and attention grabbing Evil Gloating or catchy Villain Songs always foils his plans however.
- Villain Song: "Trust in Me (The Python's Song)".
- Weak-Willed: Mowgli and Shanti are both easy victims for Kaa (this is ironically in contrast to the original novel where Mowgli was the only one resistant to Kaa's hypnotic dance).
- What Song Was This Again?: "Bear Necessities", having a pun-based title, really doesn't translate well. In the Swedish version, the gist of the song is the same, but the pun is replaced by a different bear-related pun. The French version is entirely punless, as is the German version, whose title translates as something like "Let's try it the cozy way".
- With Catlike Tread: The elephants searching for the lost man-cub.
Shere Khan: Element of surprise? Oh, I say... (laughs)
- World's Shortest Book: This exchange:
Bagheera: And just how do you think he (Mowgli) will survive?
Baloo: How do you think he will... What do you mean how do you think he... He's with me, ain't he? And I'll learn him all I know.
Bagheera: Oh? That shouldn't take long.
- Affably Evil: Emphasized even more so with the show, where both Shere Khan and Kaa were friends with Baloo and the others in their early life (if still somewhat antagonistic). This is emphasized in a darkly comic moment in which young Kaa snatches a small bird, seemingly set on devouring it, instead pleasantly greeting it good morning before letting it go, having already had a large meal (revealing a large bulge in his tail as he slithers off).
Kaa: 'Tis good to eat, but 'tis better to have eaten.
- Butt Monkey / The Chew Toy / The Woobie: Kaa.
- Continuity Nod: Several, including a few in the intro. Most obvious are the ruins where the cubs hang out, which are the same ruins Louie and the monkeys rule over in the movie - the biggest one might be an episode where Louie finds out he's destined to be king of the jungle, and learns he has what it takes to be the just, kind ruler that everyone needs someday. Ironically...
- It should be mentioned that Louie is often referred to as a "Prince" in the first season, which seemed to imply that he was meant to be king from the beginning. However, in the second season this is completely ignored in favor of the whole monkey prophecy thing.
- Foregone Conclusion: The main characters' friendship peters out and dies - they all end up being not-so-close, while Shere Khan and Kaa take places as more menacing predators in the jungle and become entirely estranged from the rest.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Baloo is phlegmatic, Bagheera is melancholic, Shere Khan is choleric, Louie is sanguine. Hathi and Kaa qualify as supine.
- Jerkass/Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Shere Khan, depending on the episode.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Bagheera, Shere Khan and Hathi all have American accents in the show, this is made all the more jarring due to "Born To Be Wild" replicating their original British voices for their adult forms.
- Only Sane Man / Closer to Earth: Bagheera, as the voice of reason possibly even more so than in the movies.
- Running Gag: While he does so once in the first movie, this show really started the "Bagheera falls into a body of water" gag, which happens almost Once an Episode, that was used three times in the sequel.
- The two ever-hungry vultures Arthur and Cecil always end up beaten up, crushed, mauled etc while attempting to make a meal out of the main characters.
- Spinoff Babies: Natch.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Judging by the episode where Shere Khan's reaction to his (off-screen) parents is shown, Shere Khan is one of these. May also be a Freudian Excuse for some of his later villainy.