The Jungle Book (1994 film)
|Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book|
|Directed by||Stephen Sommers|
|Screenplay by||Stephen Sommers|
|Story by||Ronald Yanover|
|Based on||The Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book|
by Rudyard Kipling
|Produced by||Edward S. Feldman|
|Cinematography||Juan Ruiz Anchía|
|Edited by||Bob Ducsay|
|Music by||Basil Poledouris|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
|Box office||$43.2 million|
Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, simply known as The Jungle Book, is a 1994 American adventure film co-written and directed by Stephen Sommers, produced by Edward S. Feldman and Raju Patel, from a story by Ronald Yanover and Mark Geldman. It is the second film adaptation by The Walt Disney Company of the Mowgli stories from The Jungle Book (1894) and The Second Jungle Book (1895) by Rudyard Kipling, and the first live-action adaptation of Walt Disney's animated film of the same name from 1967.
The film stars Jason Scott Lee, Cary Elwes, Lena Headey, Sam Neill, John Cleese, and Jason Flemyng in his first theatrical film role. Unlike most adaptations of Kipling's stories, the animal characters in this film do not speak.
Released on December 25, 1994, by Walt Disney Pictures, the film received generally positive reviews and grossed $43.2 million in theaters against a $30 million budget.
In 2016, Disney released another live-action adaptation, The Jungle Book, which was more similar and faithful to both the 1967 animated film and Kipling's book.
In 1887, during the British Raj in India, Mowgli is the 5-year-old son of the widowed Nathoo, whose wife died in childbirth. Nathoo works as a tour guide. On one of his tours, he leads Colonel Geoffrey Brydon and his men, as well as Brydon's 5-year-old daughter Katherine nicknamed Kitty. Fellow guide Buldeo and two soldiers kill several animals for sport, which enrages Shere Khan, a tiger who serves as the jungle's keeper, and he begins to pursue the tour group. That night, Kitty gives Mowgli her late mother's bracelet as a gift. Mowgli tells Nathoo of a dream where he faced Shere Khan and showed no fear, becoming a tiger himself. Shere Khan attacks the encampment. He succeeds in killing the two soldiers, but when he tries to kill Buldeo, Nathoo defends him and is subsequently mauled to death by Shere Khan. In the confusion, Mowgli is lost in the jungle with his pet wolf cub, Grey Brother, and Brydon and his men presume him killed. Mowgli is taken by Bagheera, a gentle black panther, to the wolf pack. Mowgli also befriends a bear cub named Baloo.
Twenty years later, Mowgli, now an adult, discovers Monkey City, a legendary ancient city filled with treasure belonging to King Louie the orangutan, who has his treasure guarded by Kaa the python. Forced to fight for his life, Mowgli succeeds in wounding the snake with a golden dagger that he retrieves from the treasure horde. Winning King Louie's respect, Mowgli keeps the dagger as a trophy.
Elsewhere, Kitty and Colonel Brydon are still stationed in India. She and Mowgli meet again, but neither recognize the other. Kitty is also in a relationship with one of Brydon's soldiers, Captain William Boone. Infatuated with her, Mowgli travels to Kitty's village and enters her home, alerting the guards. Kitty sees that Mowgli is wearing her mother's bracelet and realizes who he is. Boone and his men manage to capture Mowgli and find the dagger from Monkey City in his possession. Kitty and Dr. Julius Plumford, a good friend of Brydon's, decide that they must reintroduce Mowgli to civilization. In doing so, Mowgli and Kitty fall in love, much to Boone's displeasure. Eventually, Boone convinces Mowgli to tell him of Monkey City and the treasure hoard that it holds, but Mowgli refrains from revealing its location to Boone upon realizing his lack of respect for the jungle. Boone later proposes to Kitty, although she is hesitant to concede. Around this time, after Boone and his men publicly humiliate him, Mowgli returns to the jungle as he does not feel at home in the village. After Boone's cruel treatment of Mowgli, Kitty realizes she cannot marry Boone, so she decides to go back to England to get away from him.
Meanwhile, Boone and his men Lieutenant Wilkins and Tabaqui team up with Buldeo, who is now an outlaw. The men recruit a third henchman, Sergeant Harley, and gather some bandits to capture Mowgli in order to find out where the treasure is. Wilkins and Boone shoot Baloo when he comes to Mowgli's defense, much to Mowgli's distress. Buldeo and the bandits then ambush Kitty and Brydon, who is shot and wounded in the process. Even though Mowgli, along with Bagheera, Grey Brother, and the rest of the wolves, attack and kill most of the bandits, Buldeo manages to capture Kitty and Brydon and the would-be treasure hunters use them as blackmail: if Mowgli leads them to the treasure, Kitty and her father shall live. That night, the group learn Shere Khan is hunting them due to their shooting of Baloo. Because of this, Mowgli decides to escape.
The next morning, Harley catches Mowgli escaping with the aid of Bagheera and chases him, only to fall into quicksand and drown, despite Wilkins' attempts to save him. Mowgli then has an elephant take the injured Brydon back to the village, after promising him to rescue Kitty. As the group make progress, Tabaqui decides that Mowgli is no longer needed and tries to murder him, only to be killed himself after toppling off a cliff. Later, Wilkins becomes separated from the group and is mauled to death by Shere Khan. Eventually, the remaining party enters Monkey City, where Buldeo inadvertently entombs himself in a trap while trying to shoot Mowgli. Only Mowgli, Kitty and Boone reach the treasure room, where Mowgli and Boone engage in a fierce fight until Mowgli injures Boone with another dagger. Mowgli then escapes with Kitty, while Boone begins greedily pocketing treasure, only for King Louie to summon Kaa, who proceeds to attack and kill Boone.
As they escape from Monkey City, Mowgli and Kitty are confronted by Shere Khan, who roars at them. However, Mowgli roars back, leading Shere Khan to become impressed at his bravery, acknowledge him as a creature of the jungle, and allow Mowgli and Kitty to leave peacefully.
Mowgli and Kitty meet both the Colonel and Baloo, both of whom have recovered from their injuries under Plumford's care. Mowgli becomes the new lord of the jungle after fulfilling his childhood dream of facing Shere Khan with no fear and he begins a relationship with Kitty.
- Jason Scott Lee as Mowgli, a wild man who was orphaned at 5 years old and was raised by the animals in the jungle of India.
- Sean Naegeli as 5-year-old Mowgli
- Cary Elwes as Captain William Boone, Kitty's suitor who desires the wealth of the ancient ruins.
- Lena Headey as Katherine "Kitty" Brydon, the daughter of Colonel Brydon who is the childhood friend and romantic interest of Mowgli.
- Joanna Wolff as 5-year-old Kitty
- Sam Neill as Colonel Geoffrey Brydon, Kitty's father who is the head of the British army stationed in India.
- John Cleese as Dr. Julius Plumford, Colonel Brydon's friend who is the medical professional of Brydon's battalion and who assists Kitty in teaching Mowgli the ways of man.
- Jason Flemyng as Lieutenant John Wilkins, a soldier in Brydon's battalion and Boone's close friend.
- Ron Donachie as Sergeant Harley, a brutish soldier who sides with Boone in the mutiny.
- Stefan Kalipha as Buldeo, an outlaw who knows about the ancient ruins. Buldeo was a character in Kipling's stories, but was altered in this version.
- Anirudh Agarwal as Tabaqui, a jungle guide working for Boone. He was a golden jackal and Shere Khan's henchman in Kipling's stories.
- Faran Tahir as Nathoo, Mowgli's father who was killed by Shere Khan. This was Tahir's film debut.
- Casey as Baloo, a male black bear who was rescued by Mowgli as a cub and his best friend among the animals.
- Shadow as Bagheera, a wise male black panther who took Mowgli to be raised by the wolves and watches over him.
- Shannon as Grey Brother, a male Indian wolf that Mowgli had since childhood and has been his closest companion.
- Lowell as King Louie, a male orangutan who is the leader of a community of monkeys in the ancient ruins.
- Bombay as Shere Khan, a male Bengal tiger who is the keeper of the jungle law. Unlike most versions where he is the villain, he is a neutral force of nature in this film.
Kaa is portrayed by both a computer-generated and an animatronic python, as well as a trained anaconda. Other trained animals included monkeys, Indian elephants, camels, horses, zebus, and wolves. The sounds used for the monkeys were actually those of chimpanzees and siamangs. KNB FX Group crew member Shannon Shea doubled for Baloo in certain shots in animatronic bear suit.
Raju Patel, an Indian producer, figured the 100th anniversary of Kipling's "Jungle Book" stories publication should be commemorated with a film adaptation. The production was originally intended to be an independent production until Disney got involved and increased the budget. Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg saw the potential of adapting the animated classic and assigned Ronald Yonver and Mark Geldman to write the project. Dissatisfied with these scripts, one of which was 180 pages long with no dialogue for the first 70 pages, Katzenberg handed the project to Stephen Sommers after being satisfied with his work on The Adventures of Huck Finn. Sommers, who is a huge fan of the original animated film and various jungle adventure films, was eager to do a lush, romantic adventure and to show the beauty of the jungle. Executives were stunned by Sommers decisions for the project as some were expecting an exact recreation of the original animated film and others wanted a teen romance to be the main focus.
When it came to casting, Jason Scott Lee was Sommers' only choice for Mowgli. Disney executives labeled him as “too old" for the role until Sommers convinced them that he would be a much more believable leading man than an unknown teenager. Lee was also cast because the animals reacted to him the best. Sommers and his crew did try to cast actors in India, but due to Bollywood guidelines, their schedules and limits on the number of film works they work on would restrict them from being involved. However, they were able to cast Stefan Kalipha and Anirudh Agarwal before they agreed to any Bollywood productions. The casting of Cary Elwes as Captain William Boone, Lena Headey as Kitty Brydon, and Sam Neill as Colonel Geoffrey Brydon soon followed. The role of Dr. Julius Plumford was always written for John Cleese but Sommers was discouraged that Cleese would never accept it. It wasn't until the last minute that Cleese received the script and fell in love with it that made him want to take the role. Jason Flemyng made his film debut with this film and his role grew after Sommers instantly bonded with him.
For the principal animal actors, a male black bear named Casey was chosen to play a role of Baloo, a male panther named Shadow was chosen to play Bagheera, a purebred female wolf named Shannon was chosen to play Grey Brother, a male tiger named Bombay was chosen to play Shere Khan, and a male orangutan named Lowell was chosen to play King Louie. Lowell being the only animal playing his character all the way through and according to Sommers, the easiest and most entertaining animal to work with. Sommers didn't want the animals to speak but have them perform as much natural behavior as possible and to do as much with the actors as possible. Animals such as rhesus macaques and Asian elephants were shot at Jodhpur and Bombay, the majority of animals were shot along with the jungle scenes in Fripp Island, South Carolina (scenes featuring Bagheera and Shere Khan) as well as Ozone Falls State Natural Area and Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee (scenes featuring Baloo and the wolf pack). Scenes featuring Lowell were shot in a Los Angeles studio against a blue screen due to the production not being able to bring him to India. One of the Asian elephants in the production was named Shirley, and she lived at Wild Adventures Theme Park in Valdosta, Georgia.
While electronics dominated most of his work during the early '90s, composer Basil Poledouris returned to his symphonic roots for his score to the film. Most European versions of Milan's official CD release include "Two Different Worlds", a pop song performed by Kenny Loggins.
|The Jungle Book (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)|
|Film score by |
|Released||December 13, 1994|
|1.||"Main Titles/The Caravan"||4:24|
|2.||"Shere Khan Attacks"||4:49|
The film was released in theaters on December 25, 1994 and was a moderate box office success.
The film was released by Buena Vista Home Entertainment on VHS April 5, 1995. Disney also released the film on DVD January 15, 2002, January 1, 2004, and as a limited edition on May 22, 2017.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film received an approval rating of 80% based on 41 reviews, with an average rating of 6.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book may not hew as closely to the book as its title suggests, but it still offers an entertaining live-action take on a story best known in animated form".
The film was well received, with praise for its performances, action, and visuals, but it was also chided for not staying true to Kipling's work, even though his name remains in the title. Most notably, Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times shared this sentiment. He said the film "has so little connection to Rudyard Kipling or his classic book that the title is beyond explanation".
The sweet innocence of Kipling's fables about a boy who learns to live among the animals is replaced here by an "Indiana Jones" clone, an action thriller that Kipling would have viewed with astonishment.
He goes on to say that it is a good film, awarding it three stars out of four, but it does not fit its target audience; some "scenes are unsuitable for small children, and the 'PG' rating is laughable".
Brian Lowry of Variety said that, "Technically, Jungle Book is an encyclopedia of wonders, from the dazzling scenery (shot largely in Jodhpur, India), cinematography, costumes and sets, to the animals, who frequently out-emote their two-legged counterparts. Even so, Book may have been more effective had its story stayed on one page". Rita Kempley from The Washington Post was more favorable, stating that "the narrative shifts from romance to adventure the way Cheetah used to hop from foot to foot, but Sommers nevertheless delivers a bully family picture".
- Honorable mention – Betsy Pickle, Knoxville News-Sentinel
- Top 18 worst (alphabetically listed, not ranked) – Michael Mills, The Palm Beach Post
The film was adapted into a 1996 game, which includes clips from the film, while providing an original story and new characters. The game follows the player in his or her quest to save the jungle. Soldiers have stolen King Louie's crown and the player must recover it to prevent the jungle from losing its magic. The player is aided by a Scotsman named Ilgwom ("Mowgli" spelled backwards) and his chimpanzee Lahtee, while also guided by a spirit made from Mowgli's memories.
- "Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book". Variety. Archived from the original on December 24, 2008.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved February 18, 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "RUDYARD KIPLING'S THE JUNGLE BOOK (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. January 18, 1995. Archived from the original on January 7, 2016. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
- Moss, Robert F. (December 25, 1994). "FILM; Mowgli We Know, but Who Are Major Boone and Kitty?". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
- "Box Office Mojo". Archived from the original on July 21, 2019. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
- Nibley, Alexander (May 26, 1997). "Are Films Using Names in Vain?". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved November 22, 2010.
- Bates, James (December 23, 1994). "Company Town : The Civilizing Force Behind Disney's New 'Jungle' Movie". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved November 22, 2010.
- Fleishman, Rick (December 22, 1994). "Jungle Goes Back to Drawing Board : Movies: Disney's live-action version of the Kipling tale has the same basic story as the animated hit. But unlike that one, this film has real animals and a balance-of-nature message which means they do speak". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved November 22, 2010.
- "The Jungle Book [Original Soundtrack] – Basil Poledouris | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Archived from the original on February 4, 2016. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
- "Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book (1994)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Archived from the original on November 29, 2017. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
- "The Jungle Book Review". Chicago Sun Times. Archived from the original on October 1, 2012. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
- Lowry, Brian (December 18, 1994). "Review: 'Rudyard Kipling's the Jungle Book'". Variety. Archived from the original on April 25, 2016. Retrieved May 30, 2016.
- "Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book review". The Washington Post. December 25, 1994. Archived from the original on November 8, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- Pickle, Betsy (December 30, 1994). "Searching for the Top 10... Whenever They May Be". Knoxville News-Sentinel. p. 3.
- Mills, Michael (December 30, 1994). "It's a Fact: 'Pulp Fiction' Year's Best". The Palm Beach Post (Final ed.). p. 7.