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RUDYARD KIPLING’S THE SECOND JUNGLE BOOK: MOWGLI & BALOO

"Classic Animal Adventure"

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Language
Violence
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What You Need To Know:

Sony’s TriStar is releasing RUDYARD KIPLING’S THE SECOND JUNGLE BOOK: MOWGLI & BALOO, a prequel to Disney’s JUNGLE BOOK Here, we find Mowgli as a 10-year-old wild child who lives in the 1890’s jungles of India with his adopted animal family: Grey Wolf; Baloo, the bear; and, Bagheera, the black panther. Two monkeys, known as Bandars, are trying to capture Mowgli to bring him to their lost city so they can learn to live as humans. While escaping the Bandars, Mowgli runs into a talent scout for an American circus, named Harrison. Harrison wants to capture Mowgli and put him on display in the USA. When Mowgli escapes, Harrison hires a sinister and mismatched gang to chase Mowgli to the lost city.

This is a fun adventure yarn. It has no sex, nor language except for one exclamatory profanity. The jungle is beautiful; the animals are endearing; and, Jamie Williams is terrific. The filmmakers were very careful to keep the animal attacks from becoming too threatening. This is good for children, but may leave adults a little restless. The major flaw is a romantic presupposition that Mowgli is a noble savage who is kin to the animals. Otherwise, this is an exciting, classic children’s adventure yarn.

Content:

(Ro, B, L, V, D) Romantic worldview with moral elements; 1 exclamatory profanity; nature adventure violence including python attack, pit of cobras, monkey attack, & tiger attack with little or no harm caused in each instance; and, smoking

More Detail:

From two-time MOVIEGUIDE award winner Raju Patel, comes the prequel to his Disney live action hit, THE JUNGLE BOOK, descriptively named, RUDYARD KIPLING’S THE SECOND JUNGLE BOOK: MOWGLI & BALOO. In a unique distribution move, it is Sony’s TriStar that is releasing this fun prequel.

In this episode, Mowgli is a 10-year-old wild child, played by a winsome Jamie Williams, who lives in the 1890’s jungles of India with his adopted animal family: Grey Wolf; Baloo, the bear; and, Bagheera, the black panther. Two monkeys, known as Bandars, are trying to capture Mowgli to bring him to the lost city so the Bandars can learn to live as humans. Escaping the Bandars, Mowgli happens upon train tracks and stops a train full of tourists which includes a talent scout for P.T. Barnum’s Circus, named Harrison, played by Bill Campbell.

Campbell immediately wants to capture Mowgli and put him on display in the United States. Mowgli escapes, and Harrison hires Mowgli’s Uncle, Buldeo (Gulshan Grover), to lead a search party for Mowgli. Buldeo wants to find Mowgli so he can kill him and thus inherit the grand estate which is rightfully Mowgli’s after the death of his parents. Buldeo hires a sinister snake charmer named Karait, who promises that his pet python, Ca, can find the boy. The search party is joined by a wacky Indian charlatan who is looking for his pick-pocket monkey, who escaped off the train with Mowgli. This mismatched gang chases Mowgli all the way to the lost city which is inhabited by the monkey subjects of King Murphy, a crazed army deserter, played by Roddy McDowall. The adventure comes to a climax in the lost city when Mowgli is trapped in a Cobra pit.

This is a fun adventure yarn. My 11-year-old Robby gave it a good rating. It has no sex nor language except for one exclamation by a British soldier on the train. The jungle is beautiful; the animals are endearing; and, Jamie Williams is terrific. The filmmakers were very careful to keep the animal attacks from becoming too threatening. This conscientious attitude is commendable for children, but may put off some adults since there is not enough jeopardy to completely hold an adult’s attention.

The major flaw from in the movie from a Christian perspective is the fact that there is a romantic presupposition that a wild Mowgli in the jungle is better than a civilized Mowgli in the society of man. As appealing as this presupposition may be to some, it contradicts the fact that man is sinful, whether he lives in the jungle or in civilization, and so every man, including Mowgli, needs Jesus Christ to set him free from his sins. Just because Mowgli lives in the jungle does not make him good, and he is not just another animal who would be corrupted by civilization.

Aside from this romantic fallacy, this movie is very moral. In it, bad is bad, but not so bad as to be frightening, and good wins in the end. This is a classic children’s adventure yarn which children of all ages should appreciate.


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