Abandoned in the jungle as an infant, Mowgli has been raised by Panther, Bagheera, and a pack of wolves. At the age of eight, the ruthless, man-hating tiger, Shere Khan, threatens to kill Mowgli and anyone who stands in his way. To protect him, Bagheera takes Mowgli away with the hopes of reuniting him with his own kind, however, when Shere Khan attacks them, Mowgli is forced to go on alone. With his loyalties still firmly with the jungle animals, Mowgli must find a way to help his family without putting them in further danger.

The Jungle Book (2016) – Director: Jon Favreau

Is The Jungle Book appropriate for kids

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Rating: PG

Running Length: 95 mins

Starring: Neel Sethi, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba

Genre: Action/Adventure

REVIEW

‘The Jungle Book’ is a live-action remake of the 1967 animated movie of the same name, both of which are based upon the works by Rudyard Kipling. Taking on a much darker tone than the Disney classic, this 2016 version follows the same story as before but focuses on realism and with just a few simple changes, creates a believable yet fantastical view of jungle life.

The casting for each character is perfect but special mention must be made to the young Neel Sethi (who plays Mowgli). Carrying a movie is never an easy task especially with the story being so loved all over the world; being the only human character in the entire movie (the animals are all CGI animated), Sethi rises to the challenge and enables the audience to be fully immersed into the world as he sees it. The incredible cinematography brings the jungle to life with beautiful colours and scenery that ensures that everything is brought together, and this stops the somewhat far-fetched story from being anything other than real.

‘The Jungle Book (2016)’ is a beautiful and well acted version of an old and well-loved tale that manages to stick to its 19th century roots, closely follows its Disney predecessor of 1967 and also brings the story fully up to date. Keeping a number of the songs from the original as well as some of the music from the score, this is an uplifting family movie that everyone can enjoy.

IS ‘THE JUNGLE BOOK’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

The movie opens with Mowgli running through the jungle; he appears afraid and looks around at several wolves running beside him. As he runs, he keeps looking behind him as something very dangerous is chasing him. Suddenly, a large, aggressive animal leaps out at him with its teeth bared and pins him to the floor.

The movie’s antagonist, Shere Khan, is an extremely dangerous and menacing tiger. Due to a human severely injuring him in the past, he hates all humans, including Mowgli and makes it known to all the animals of the jungle that he wants the ‘man cub’ dead. Because he knows that the animals may try to protect Mowgli, he threatens to kill anyone who tries to help him and asks them ‘how many lives is a man cub worth’.

A herd of wildebeest get caught in a mudslide and fall from a height into some water below. None are seen to suffer but they do groan in distress, there is a brief shot of one of the herd in the water but no deaths are seen.

Mowgli comes across a character who speaks to him in a very calm, slightly hypnotic manner. They appear to be friendly, seeming to want to help Mowgli; however it becomes clear that this character actually intends to harm Mowgli. This scene is quite short but quite intense, shot in darkness and could be quite disturbing for some kids.

A character speaks to some young animals and pretends to be nice to them. When their mother approaches, the story he is telling them becomes a threat to their mother without them realising.

Mowgli is taken against his will to a huge orang-utan called King Louie who believes that the boy can give him power that only humans possess. When Mowgli is unable to help, the ape becomes enraged, thinking that Mowgli is simply refusing his request and aggressively chases after him. Louie could be quite a confusing character for kids as he is very charismatic but this personality instantly changes when he doesn’t get what he wants. His eyes are bright blue and intense and his enormous size makes him an intimidating figure.

Throughout the movie, Shere Khan fights many animals, usually seriously hurting or killing them. These fights are similar to what is often seen on nature documentaries but, as Shere Khan is ruthless and evil, his aggression towards other, more passive animals could be upsetting for kids.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

‘The Jungle Book (2016)’ is an excellent version of an old story which manages to bring it up to date with plenty of respect to its source material. Due to some scary scenes and violence between animals, this movie is likely to be too scary for younger kids, we therefore recommend ‘The Jungle Book’ for kids aged 9 and over.

  • Violence:  4/5 (An established character is suddenly killed by Shere Khan in a very cold-blooded manner. Other characters who know them well gasp in horror but are forced to accept the death, knowing that they would also be killed if they stood up to Shere Khan. A man is mauled by an animal, only shadows are seen but a loved one watches the whole thing unfold and is horrified)
  • Emotional Distress: 2/5
  • Fear Factor: 4/5 (there are several intense moment throughout the movie which are threatening and menacing. There are also numerous times when animals suddenly leap out of undergrowth, lunging directly at the camera with teeth bared)
  • Sexual Content: 0/5       
  • Bad Language: 0/5
  • Dialogue: 0/5  
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of knowing your true family, trusting your own instincts, revenge, staying true to the morals you have been brought up with, the importance of societal rules, courage, distrust of man and the dangers of fire.

Words by Laura Record

The Jungle Book [Blu-ray] [2016]


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