Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Jungle Book (1994)

Time and atomosphere almost made this movie a relic. It is pretty hard to find a copy of this as DVD (amazon is selling it for $117...WTF?!?!?) but I have a copy as good ol' VHS. Until the VCR almost ate the tape. And I had to rewind it with my finger. Leaving a strip of tape impossibly twisted. Auto-tracking through about 10 minutes of video playing (eh....they were previews anyway). Nevertheless, I have the movie. And damn don't I still love it.

This was a live action movie released by Disney. They had already done the animated version in 1967 with the dancing Baloo and jazzilicious King Louie. Which was cute and reincarnated awesomely as "Tale Spins" (HA! Now I got the theme song stuck in your head!). No songs in the live action. No gimmicky pop culture jokes. Just a really awesome action movie(Directed by the same guy who did "the Mummy" and "Van helsing" With a sexy-ass Mowgli. Oh yeah. This movie was well-played during my tween years.Did I mention this was Disney?

The animated and live-action version contain the same basic story: An orphaned boy is raised by wolves and the jungle. As he gets older, he faces man. How can boy struggled with the wild and man??????
There are slight differences between the versions of course:
  • How Mowgli gets orphaned:
            animated: found in a basket and discovered by Baghera (the panther)
            live action: stuck on a runway horse-drawn wagon with burning gun 
                            powder as his father  desperately  fights against 
  • Love interest:
           animated: red-dotted girl who sings as she goes to the water hole to
                           fill her jugs. (whoa...that  sentence  is a bit suggestive...)
           live action: Kitty, a kind childhood friend who gives him a bracelet
                           that  he keeps as he grows up in  the jungle
  •  Enemies:
            animated: Shere-Khan
             live action: Capt. Boone (played by Cary
                             Elwes!!! Swoooon), and a bit of
  •  Orangutans
            animated: slightly shy jazz buddies
            live action: crazy, psyho, sadistic observers 
                            of matches between pyton and
                            unlucky soul who wander into
                            the treasure room

Oh yeah. The live action is definitely different from the animated. I haven't read the book (I'm sorry but I read one Kipling book, "Kim", and I never want to read another Kipling book again.) but the movie feels more in tone to a Kipling story. There are definite and clear perspectives on English colonialism in India, obvious class differences, and the comparison between man/wild.
  On hindsight, I was exposed to alot of media regarding colonialism in general. I remember learning nothing but colonialism in elementary and middle school. Stumbled through it in history. Lesson learned: colonialism BLOOOOOOWs.
    Otherwise, this movie was awesome!!! The action is great. The animals are awesome.The characters are a bit predictable but they're still fun! John Cleese as the professor??? How could though twittering females not pay attention to him? His voice is entertaining as hell. I bet he could make multi-variable calculus sound like a clever joke ( which I feel sometimes that it was).Cary Elwes as a villain is just damn sexy. And scary. But oh so sexy. Speaking of which...

MOWGLI (adult) is the sexiest man I have ever seen running around in a loin cloth. His body makes you gulp. His gentle smile makes you twitch with glee. As he moves, anywhere, you have to remember to breathe. All those confusing attractive feelings I had for him as an adolescent is more recognized as I re-watch it was an adult. That man is damn fine.Even when he's making monkey grunting noises.

I really can't think of moment that I hated in this movie. I was engrossed every single moment. It was a just a well-balanced action movie.

My favorite part is when young Mowgli is being introduced to his animal family. When he clutches Bagheras tail (precious!), plucks Baloo out of the trunk, and clutching his wolf puppy to his chest as he slides down the cliff. The movie also does a simple job of setting up where these names come from. Mowglis father tries to teach him engliish by pointing out these creatures from a jug.

Damn. I hope Disney re-releases this movie as a DVD with a decent price. This was a great movie.If I wasn't afraid of tearing apart the tape from replaying it, I would watch it again. Right now. Screw sleep!


Mr. Movie said...

Great Review, sorry about your nearly broken VHS copy, mines also getting a little fuzzy. One personal thing that I would have mentioned was how perfectly animalistic Jason Scott Lee was as Mowgli, every expression in his eyes and movement he makes just feels so wild and in character (did you know he would go on to direct Lillo and Stitch?)

Mr. Movie said...

Well, Rotten Tomatoes has him labeled as a director anyway.

Movie Dame said...

UgH!!! what a great observation!!! i was so used to watching him act that i didn't even note that! he had such great facial expressions.

wha?!? he directed lilo and stitch!!?!??!...makes sense though...

The Inspired Cook said...

I remember that movie! As I remembered, I liked it. It's been a looong time, though! You should read the book. I haven't read "Kim," so I can't comment on that one, but I remember the book being really good.

Movie Dame said...

one of these days, i'm gonna really focus on the classics...