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The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling

While I admire Disney’s animation (and am looking forward to their Hamlet-ish The Lion King), I usually gripe about the changes they make in their movies from their source material. All one has to do is read the original Pinocchio, Peter Pan, or, supposedly, Bambi, to berate them for destroying classics. I probably should be bothered as well by their Jungle Book, except that I think that it was one of the cases where the marriage of animation, story, and music achieves more than the original. Without the source material, it would be nothing, of course, but the wonderful songs (who can forget “Bare Necessities,” “Trust in Me,” or “I Wanna Be Like You”?) and the structure that turned Kipling’s short tales into a two-hour movie create a gestalt that I’m not sure Kipling’s tales do by themselves. This is probably sacrilege to the ears of the true Kipling fan, but I’m nothing if not opinionated.

The stories that make up The Jungle Book aren’t solely about Mowgli, though, and it’s the others, especially “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi,” that make this a definite must have.

[Finished 11 May 1994]


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