Rudyard Kipling is not a name you hear any more. For those who do not know, he is often considered a major innovator of the short story. He also won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907. Why am I talking about a man who passed in 1936 you ask? Well, that is because he authored The Jungle Book in 1894. And it was that collection of stories and other stories about Mowgli that Disney’s 1967 animated classic The Jungle Book is based on.
The Jungle Book is a hand-drawn, animated classic that stars famous actors as well as Disney regulars and musicians of the time. Here, you’ll find Phil Harris as Baloo, Sebastian Cabot as Bagheera, George Sanders as Shere Khan, Louis Prima as King Louie, Sterling Holloway as Kaa, J. Pat O’Malley as Colonel Hathi, and Verna Felton as Winifred.
The Jungle Book is about a child that was raised in the jungle of India by a pack of wolfs. After about 10 years, Shere Kahn, who has a fear of humans, shows up forcing a change within the jungle. Bagheera and Mowgli set out on an adventure in an attempt to keep Mowgli safe from the wrath of Shere Kahn.
Throughout the story, Mowgli acts like a stubborn child who cannot see beyond his own childish desires. While Bagheera and Baloo are doing what’s best and looking out for him, he dismisses their help. During his journey, he runs into multiple animals like Kaa the snake, Baloo the sloth bear, and a handful of vultures that tend to put Mowgli in more danger than he was in before meeting them.
This film is a traditionally hand-drawn animated classic, and it shows. The art style is clearly one of its time. The backgrounds look like matte paintings and the only thing drawn frame by frame is the characters that are moving. It’s a smart technique, allowing the artists to focus on telling the story without having to worry about drawing a background in every frame.
You can see pencil lines in some of the characters and, overall, that doesn’t take away from the film. If anything, it actually shows the art style of the era’s artists more than a still frame ever could.
The Jungle Book is, at the time of this review, is just over 50 years old. While it may look like it, this film is based on such a classic story that it has been retold a few sperate times in the years since this film was released. In my mind, this alone shows how timeless this story is. I consider this one of Disney’s classic animated stories and one that holds a special place in the hearts of many people.
This is a film that is one that not only anyone can watch, I think it is one that everyone should watch at least once in their life.