I have a fondness towards Rudyard Kipling’s 1967 masterpiece ‘The Jungle Book.’ Back in my childhood days, there was a cartoon TV series of ‘The Jungle Book’ that used to come in the ‘Doordarshan’ channel. I could still remember how magnificent I used to feel watching all the lovable characters — the innocent yet brave Mowgli, the severe and humble Bagheera, the lovely Baloo the bear and the relationship Mowgli has with them and the jungle. Everything in the story is so subtle and beautiful.
Netflix’s ‘Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle’ directed by Andy Serkis is an adaption of The Jungle Book, but the director chose to represent the darker element and side of Mowgli with the Jungle.
The story remains the same. Mowgli is a man-cub, raised by the wolves under the protection of Baloo and Bagheera. He is learning the laws of the Jungle and desperate to prove his position in the jungle. Sher Khan is after Mowgli, poses a threat to his life. Mowgli can’t stay amongst his race until he passes the test. There isn’t any change in the plot, but the whole movie revolves around the theme of darkness.
The image that we all have of Mowgli is ‘sweet, funny and a playful boy’ running around the jungle with his wolf brothers. Whereas Netflix’s Mowgli is an angry, blood-filled, an over-expressive character. There is blood almost everywhere in the scene. This isn’t the version of Mowgli we would like our kids to watch.
The movie is greatly missing the element of liveliness and freshness. There is a lack of balance; it is more focused on the technological aspect rather than building the character. There isn’t any scene I found in the movie where I could connect myself emotionally. Kipling’s story has a life which is entirely missing in Andy Serkis’s Mowgli. I think it is a vague effort to create the movie focusing only on the horror, violence, and cruelty of the jungle world. The theme of darkness has totally overpowered the entire film which is one of the main setbacks why it failed to leave a mark on the audience.
Baloo and Bagheera are two great supporting stars of the movie, able to lift the film to some extent. Bagheera’s constant struggle to keep Mowgli safe from the Sher Khan is heart touching. He believes Mowgli will be safe if he lives amidst the villagers. Rohan Chand as Mowgli has done a decent job. He did exactly what he was told to do.
Now everything can’t be bad about the movie. The rivalry between Mowgli and Sher Khan has shown with great precision. Emotions like hatred and anger that they both feel for each other is vivid and quite dominant too throughout the film.
Despite all, there is way too much bloodshed in the movie which has made it a big ‘no’ kid-friendly show. Two years back, when Disney released the version of ‘The Jungle Book’ they chose primarily for the kids to enjoy watching the movie, and it was a big hit.
Serkis tried to present his audience with a different understanding of the complexities of the characters. Each character deals with dual emotions and Mowgli coping with both the identity crisis and emotions. Chand as Mowgli is torn between the acceptance of his identity. He considers jungle as his home but when Bagheera left him amidst the village of human saying ‘this is your home now,’ he was devastated.
Certain things I found are missing in the movie, and one of them is the ‘boomerang’ which was Mowgli’s weapon as per the book. Also, I felt a lot of scenes left loose and detached. I amn’t disappointed with the movie. It is just another version of the original ‘The Jungle Book.’
I am Paulomi Dutta stay in Pune, India with my loving husband. I love to read, travel and cook. I have been thinking about blogging for the past three years and now finally all is set to start my World Up Close. I will be writing about places, relationships, good and smart living and lastly, will be writing on money and financial tips. My motive is to help others through whatever knowledge I have and can share with you all. Being an introvert person, two things I love the most painting and writing. Both involve sharing thoughts with the outer world.
I hope my little effort to help through my articles will be appreciable and noticed.