Jungle Book (2016) – Doug Reviews

Chris Atkinson from Cinema Sins joins the discussion on the critical hit. Will these two enjoy it just as much?

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.

25 comments

  1. I’m going to see The Jungle Book next weekend. I was surprised that you didn’t like it. I never read the book. I hated the animated movie. I can’t wait to see the cowbell scene! <3 Also, they probably got Scarlett Johansson because she was the voice in Her.

  2. Something is seriously going on with either Rotten Tomatoes or Film Critics. Cinderella you & Rob didn’t care for that has like 85% Batman v Superman you guys loved half but hated half that gets 28%…Now Jungle Book….I’m like…I’ll see it cause Christopher Walkens in it…but now I wanna read the book more!

    • What’s going on is a misunderstanding of how Rotten Tomatoes works. BvS getting 28% is not a case of RT “scoring” BvS 28/100. It means 28% of all the independent critics from all the sources RT pulls from (websites, youtube, magazines, blogs, newspapers etc) gave BvS at least 6 out of 10 or equivalent. 28% means most critics thought BvS was “ok” or “average”. Also the more reviews a film recieves, the more above average reviews it needs to get a “Fresh” rating.

    • I’m glad you explained some of that, Salosandre. I knew Rotten Tomatoes was really using a statistical scoring method, based on multiple reviews, but not that 28% was just average. 🙂

  3. Hey, Doug! Have you seen the 1942 JUNGLE BOOK directed by Zoltan Korda and starring Sabu as Mowgli? It’s long been my favorite live-action adaptation, and is surprisingly faithful to the book in both tone and theme — in addition to being a Technicolor feast. It was hard to find in good condition for many years, having entered the public domain, but Criterion released it on DVD a few years back as part of their ECLIPSE series, there’s also an overseas Blu-ray. Loving the book as you do, I suspect you’d really appreciate it!

  4. fyi, we are getting a live action little mermaid. with chloe grace-moretz as ariel. so that “one day” is going to be sooner than you think…

    • The Mysterious M

      I think that’s why that was used as a specific example

      Or, because somehow Maleficent did so good, Disney’s doing another “Villain prequel” film about Cruella De Vil…ugh

  5. A Jungle Book 2 (sequel to this film) has been announced. Additionally the Serkis adaptation has been delayed (with some predicting the projects dead), and the theory is it’s due to the unexpected popularity of this version. If this adaptation holds strong at the B/O and maintains it’s current positive word of mouth it’s very likely the Serkis version won’t get made. Having two different adaptations of the same material inside two years of eachother was already pushing it, trying to do it when this version is already successful with a sequel on the way is well.. kind of moronic from a buisness perspective.

    Love it or hate it, Favreu got there first and most so far have loved what hes done.

    • The Mysterious M

      Two adaptations of the same material within two years of each other? Yeah because that stopped Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Hunstman (both released in the SAME YEAR and both equally atrocious)

  6. Huh more references to Batman v Superman eh?

  7. Well Doug, there are few movies I 100% disagree with you on. This is going to have to be another one. You thought it sucked; I thought it was awesome. I definitely thought it was better than the Disney cartoon…which I am almost shocked to be saying. I didn’t think the day would come.

    True, it might not be as good as the original book, but that goes without saying for any adaptation. If I was so hung up on books, I would declare “Jurassic Park” to be a piece of trash because it’s inferior to the novel in almost every way.

    • Gotta agree with you on this one just because a movie adapted from a book changes things from the original source material doesn’t mean they are automatically bad, like you said Jurassic Park is a great example the book and the film have their differences, but both are great, then you’ve got something like the Shining where the book and the movie are very, very different from each other, but both are still fantastic, and I think this movie is another good example that just because it’s different from the book doesn’t mean it isn’t still a fun and great movie, also I do find it funny that Doug has this argument about this film, yet he loves Frozen and Beauty and the Beast, both good films, Beauty and the Beast amazing, but neither are super faithful adaptations of their original source materials, this is Disney they aren’t known for adapting fables to film 100% accurately, but they can still deliver a great time

      • Well, to be fair, the Jungle Book has only one source. Most fairy tales tend to have shared elements and multiple variations already in print. Some even have countless parallels in different countries, such as Cinderella. That can make a difference when it comes to the fairy tale adaptations versus any other adaptation. Anyone who actually reads them would probably be more open minded to begin with.

        I think there is certainly a great deal of leeway when the changes are good and sensible. For the most part, Disney has tried to adapt things with a younger audience in mind as well as adults and done a pretty good job of generally entertaining a large amount of people.

        That said, I can see why it being very dissimilar to the book would potentially be more frustrating for Doug, if he just doesn’t like the changes. That’s the key right there. Enjoying the changes. If he can’t accept them or agree with them, whatever his reasons, then he simply won’t be happy with it.

        I actually disliked the anime adaptation of Howl’s Moving Castle, when I saw it in the movie theatre. I suppose I might like it better with a second viewing, and it’s been several years now, but I was so disappointed and the changes were pretty big. Some of them were probably time saving (combining or dropping characters), but the rest were conscious decisions by Miyazaki. Admittedly, it’s a really weird book and the romance is kind of an odd conclusion, so some of the things it changes aren’t so bad, but making the Witch of the Waste into a subplot is just… Sophie defeating her was the climax at the end. That’s a huge change. Maybe not a terrible one, but I’d have to look at the whole thing again with fresh eyes and an open heart in order for me to really appreciate it.

        If Doug keeps going into a new Jungle Book movie, hoping that he’ll finally see a closer-to-the-book film adaptation, I don’t blame him for feeling disappointed when it never happens. Crushing his hopes is going to make it harder for him to like what they’ve actually done with it. And I have a feeling he doesn’t necessarily apply this to every single one. We all probably have that one book we really want a faithful adaptation of, because we think it would make such an amazing movie if they’d just give it a chance.

        Overall, it is better to just accept the movie and the book as two different things and keep our expectations low.

  8. Why is Doug so damn hard to please?

  9. Count me in on thinking this was terrific. I wasn’t lukewarm on this like Doug, I thought this was a HUGE improvement on previous adaptations.

    That said, I just don’t think there will ever be a book accurate adaptation.

    The book is entirely of its time. It has pro-Colonialism subtext (and just plain text really), racially coded the animal characters, and, is essentially, about the virtues of the white man “enlightening” the natives. Hell, even Kipling changed his tune on this stuff later in life. And there are people writing “hot take” articles now about “how dare they!” even adapt such ‘problematic’ material today.

    I thought Favreau and Co. did a great job flipping things around, sidestepping and distilling it into a story about friendship, growing up, and it’s just a solid adventure flick. Wish I had this version around when I was a kid.

    • Yes, I can see why it’s tricky to write an adaptation TONALLY consistent with the book. However, things like Kaa being a wise hero and Baheera’s backstory are easy to work with.

      • *TONALLY as in “tone”, not a mispelling of “totally”.

      • Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if those things make it into the sequel. There’s quite a bit to explore for future installments if they want to make more than one more. That said, I liked the restraint they had here with their storytelling.

        Also I can’t blame them for using King Louie in place of other elements since he’s wholly a Disney creation, a big part of the animated movie, and he’s something that the other version *won’t* have.

  10. I am some what puzzled here on Doug’s thoughts towards the movie…By no means is it a masterpiece, but it surely is not as bad as they make it out to be. They seem to take the movie to serious and completely forget that its a boy raised in the jungle by a pack of wolves that he can talk to…Like at that point disbelief must be made, and clearly I think Doug is missing some symbolism that is done here. Especially the fire scene, the reason the camera pans around and sees what is behind him is to represent one thing. Wherever Mowgli goes destruction will follow due to him being a man and he must make the choice to cross a certain path…By throwing the fire in the water he makes his decision to do the best he can not to follow that path. Also I don’t know about anyone else but Akela’s death actually had some emotion to it, cause he came across someone that was wise and cunning, but knowing that 1 vs 1 again Khan he would die. So he was trying to maintain control but against “shear” no pun intended thought he was powerless. You can’t control chaos, also Shere Khan I thought was rather well done, he had a great entrance as the villian.

    • I like the choices they made with Mowgli since he’s traditionally a passive protagonist. The “red flower”, his “tricks”, the choices he makes – it all makes sense with what they’re doing thematically here.

    • I agree with a lot of your points, but especially on Doug’s opinion. I’m surprised too, but I guess not very. Somehow I’m not surprised he dislikes it because, in all honesty, he seems to have this sort of mentality for a lot of new material. I think his suspension of disbelief is part of the problem, but also surprisingly high standards for someone who’s often defending things that are widely considered the worst of the worst.

      I will agree that in terms of character relationships the movie wasn’t exactly on par, but you know what? I would definitely hesitate to say the original Disney film was either. The only character in the original film the Mowgli seems to really connect with is Baloo and I don’t really see what’s too different between this film and that in terms of that dynamic save for the fact the newer one has their interactions abridged a bit more and we don’t get the all important scene of them trying to scratch and itch together. I would say that Mowgli’s relationship with his pack (especially his Wolf Mother) is definitely more dynamic and apparent than any he had in the original. I digress, but my point being that while I agree about character connects in the new one not being great, they’re still a step above the original that’s for sure.

      Otherwise, I personally feel that the new film did a better job telling a cohesive story and felt a lot more congealed as a whole. Sort of like what Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland was setting out to do… only failing miserably. The original film, looking back, really just seems like a collection of sequences that don’t really flow as well as things in the newer one do. I’d say The Sword in the Stone has a similar problem. I would actually love to see that get the same treatment as this film with a live action remake.

      Personally, I feel there was some pretty good symbolism in the film. At least for a film that’s being pushed towards the PG audience.

  11. Dying to know what Doug thinks of the character Tabaqui (the jackal). He’s going to be in the Andy Serkis version!

  12. Hey Doug, since you liked the Disney afternoon so much, I was wondering if you saw the 2 season run of ‘The Jungle Cubs’ basically about the adventures of the jungle book animals when they were young. It was probably one of my cartoon shows from Disney. FYI Rob Paulsen was in it. I think he played Hathi the elephant.

  13. Roberto González

    I never read the book but I kinda agree with Doug. He nitpicks a lot but he doesn’t say he hates the movie or anything. I don’t know if I’ll say Favreau’s version doesn’t do ANYTHING better than the animated one but I agree with Doug that it is kinda unnecessary cause OVERALL it just doesn’t improve the other story or make things different enough to justify its existence, other than showing the good digital effects. It’s not like the new Planet of the Apes movies which you can like them less or more than the old saga but they take elements from it and make a new story and they were clever enough to take mostly elements from the sequels more than the Charlton Heston classic.

    This Jungle Book attempts to give a more cohesive story than the animated one and that works better sometimes but overall it also feels a little disjointed both in plot and tone in its attempt of telling the story from the animated movie and adding elements that I suppose they are taking from the books. It also seems simmilar to the Lion King, but in the Lion King it made more sense that Simba would run away from his home and later return to fight with Scar. Scar’s plan also made more sense, without Simba, he stays and becomes the leader. Shere Khan wants to kill Mowgli but also wants to be the leader. It’s not clear what’s his major goal. If he wants to kill Mowgli he should just go after him like he does in the animated version instead of waiting for him to come back and if he wants to be the leader he could just don’t give a sh**t about Mowgli.

    I also agree that King Louie’s song don’t work for this version of the character, at least in the way it’s introduced. If he had more scenes maybe they could have shown him first as a scary presence and later showing him more relaxed and singing the song but the way it’s done it seems like they had to include the song cause it was obligatory rather than natural.

    Finally I can see how somebody could find the animated version a bit boring or lacking in its story. I do think some of the segments like the ones with the vultures or the elephants are not as strong as the other ones and maybe it’s a bit too silly overall if you are looking for a more serious fable. However the core of the movie which is the friendship between Mowgli, Baloo and Bagheera is really well done. When Doug complained that bit about Baloo saying that he didn’t like Mowgli in the new movie I remembered there was something like that in the animated version so I took the dvd and watched it again. It’s much better in terms of emotion. You can see how Baloo struggles to tell Mowgli that he has to come back to the humans, even though he does like the kid, cause he knows it’s the best for him. It’s the same idea in the new movie but here Baloo’s acting a lot more like a father who knows which is best for his son and even though Baloo’s kind of a simpleton he understands Bagheera’s right. Of course it benefits from Baloo being more antropomorphic in the cartoon version but still it’s better acted and has better dialogue.

    Finally the new version is extremely good in its visuals and the animated version is usually criticized for reusing animation and not having a big budget but it’s really very well animated. The characters have a lot of character in their movements and the designs are very well done. The backgrounds look great too. It may not be Disney’s more flashy movie but it was still made by the Nine Old Men and they were very good animators.

    I am also intrigued about Andy Serkis’ version cause the story may be pretty different since they don’t have to imitate the animated movie.

  14. Now I’m really interested whether the old Soviet cartoon is somehow available in English without freaking changes I’ve just read on Wikipedia about. It was awesome. Animation is enchanting. And it was quite faithful to the book. And had logic)))

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