Underlying Message in “The Jungle Book”

Growing up as a young child, I had a select set of movies that I loved to watch. “Toy Story,” “Lion King,” “Hercules,” “Bug’s Life,” and the timeless “The Jungle Book.” When I found out that there was going to be a live action remake of the film, I could hardly contain my joy and anticipation to see this film. I saw the film this weekend and it met all of my expectations; it was beautifully made with seamless incorporation of special effects and live-action acting. The voice cast is abundantly brilliant: Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken, and Idris Elba- who just might have the most immaculate voice to ever come from the British Isles. The sounds, the sights, and the excitement were all there, and “The Jungle Book” has become one of my favorite films of 2016 so far.

The movie is phenomenal in its ability to bring me back to childhood- that sense of innocence and joy. I fell in love with the marvelous array of characters for the first time and there is so much more to this movie than what is on the surface of the screen. This film is so much more than a remake of a timeless classic, more than just a way to help young adults relive their childhoods, and more than just a showcase of special effects brilliance. This film has an underlying message about what it truly means to be a person and humans are capable of. For those that have not seen the remake yet, the film focuses more on the protagonist, Mowgli, than the adventure and the music that is synonymous with the original. While these two elements play a key role in the movie, watching Mowgli grow as an individual is the most prominent story arc, a stark difference from the animated original. Mowgli has lived his entire life in the jungle trying to fit in. He has ideas, creativity levels, and ingenuity is not found in the jungle and is not expressed by the animal species that he calls his family. Throughout the entirety of the film, Mowgli is told by a majority of the characters that he cannot use the tools and inventions he makes because they simply are not made for animals to use. Man’s inventions led to fire, which is a prominent form of destruction and concern for the animal species living in the jungle. Mowgli is encouraged to suppress his ingenuity in order to fit in better with those around him. In the end, however, it is this inventiveness that becomes the tool that allows him to be the strong protagonist the film needs.

Watching this film reminded me a lot about our current situation. We have the ability to create so many amazing things. We can go to the moon, travel internationally without difficulty, create these brilliant works of architecture, and erect cities that seemingly defy logic. But, we also have the potential to cause massive harm to the world around us. Just as the fire can destroy the jungle in the film, our inventions can and have had drastic impacts on the world. We are reaching a point of desperation in terms of salvaging the health of the natural world because of our ignorance and desire to keep creating more. Despite this fact, this film serves as a timely reminder that while we may be prone to causing harm to the world around us, we have the capability to make things right again. With our creativity, unique sense of innovation, and necessary tools we can right the wrongs that we have caused and create a world in which we live in harmony with the natural species around us. We are special because we have the ability to create so much good in our lives. If Mowgli was able to create a way to save the jungle, we as a people can come together to create a way that will save our planet. This film, on the surface, may be a simple remake of a beloved animated film, but it has so much more to say in the way of showing us our true potential as human beings. And I think we can do right by that message.

Full Review of the movie to come later


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