The Jungle Book (1994 film)

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Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book
Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster by John Alvin.
Directed by Stephen Sommers
Produced by Edward S. Feldman
Raju Patel
Screenplay by Stephen Sommers
Ronald Yanover
Mark Geldman
Story by Ronald Yanover
Mark Geldman
Based on The Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book 
by Rudyard Kipling
Starring Jason Scott Lee
Cary Elwes
Lena Headey
Sam Neill
Jason Flemyng
John Cleese
Music by Basil Poledouris
Cinematography Juan Ruiz Anchía
Edited by Bob Ducsay
Production
company
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • December 25, 1994 (1994-12-25)
Running time
111 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $30 million[2]
Box office $43.2 million[3]

Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book is a 1994 live-action 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 first remake of Walt Disney's 1967 animation adaptation of the Mowgli stories from The Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling.[4]

The film stars Jason Scott Lee and Lena Headey, and co-stars Cary Elwes, Sam Neill, John Cleese and Jason Flemyng. In this version, the animals do not speak.

Released on December 25, 1994, by Walt Disney Pictures, the film received positive reviews and grossed $43.2 million in theaters against a $30 million budget.

Plot[edit]

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 is leading Colonel Geoffrey Brydon and his men as well as Brydon's five-year-old daughter Katherine. That night, the deadly tiger Shere Khan attacks the encampment, intend on killing a trio of soldiers who had been shooting several animals for fun in the jungle earlier, which had enraged him. He kills the first two hunters, but when he tries to kill the third hunter, Buldeo, Nathoo defends Buldeo, who ungratefully leaves him to be mauled to death by the tiger. In the confusion, Mowgli is lost in the jungle with his pet wolf cub, Grey Brother. Brydon and his men believe Mowgli has been killed too. Mowgli is taken by Bagheera, a gentle black panther, to the wolf pack. Mowgli also befriends a bear cub named Baloo.

Years later, Mowgli, now a young man, 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, Katherine and her father are still stationed in India. She and Mowgli meet again, but neither recognize the other. Katherine is also in a relationship with one of Brydon's soldiers, William Boone. Mowgli enters the village in search of Katherine. Boone and his men manage to capture him and find the golden dagger from Monkey City in his possession. Katherine discovers an old bracelet of her mother's; one she gave to Mowgli when they were children, and instantly realizes who Mowgli is. She and Dr. Julius Plumford (a good friend of Brydon's) decide that they must re-introduce Mowgli to civilization. In doing so, Mowgli and Katherine 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 refrains from revealing its location to him upon realizing his lack of respect for the jungle. Boone later proposes to Katherine and she accepts. Around this time, Mowgli returns to the jungle as he does not feel at home in the village. After Boone's cruel treatment of Mowgli, Katherine realizes she cannot marry Boone, so she decides to go back to England to get away from him.

Meanwhile, Boone and his friends (Lieutenant Wilkins and Sergeant Harley) team up with Buldeo and his confederate Tabaqui. The men 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, Tabaqui, and the bandits then ambush Katherine and her father (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, Tabaqui and Buldeo manage to capture Katherine and her father and hand them over to Boone, Wilkins, and Harley who plan to use them as blackmail: if Mowgli leads them to the treasure, Katherine and her father shall live. That night, the group learns that Shere Khan has returned to the area and is following them.

The next morning, Harley catches Mowgli escaping (with the aid of Bagheera) and gives chase, only to fall into quicksand and drown, despite Wilkins' attempts to save him. Mowgli then has an elephant to take the injured Brydon back to the village, promising to rescue Katherine. As the day progresses, Tabaqui attacks Mowgli on top of a cliff, but falls to his death when Mowgli causes him to lose his precarious balance. Wilkins panics and tries to run off, but is mauled to death by Shere Khan. Eventually, the remaining group enter Monkey City, where Buldeo inadvertently entombs himself in a trap while trying to kill Mowgli. Only Mowgli, Katherine, and Boone reach the treasure room, where Mowgli and Boone engage in a fierce fight until Mowgli injures the soldier with another dagger. Mowgli then escapes with Katherine, while Boone begins greedily pocketing treasure, only for Kaa to attack and kill him.

As they escape from Monkey City, Mowgli and Katherine are confronted by Shere Khan. However, Mowgli shows no fear and stands up by roaring back at the tiger, who then sees him as a creature of the jungle and accepts him. As a result, Khan allows Mowgli and Katherine to leave peacefully. Mowgli and Katherine 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 and begins a relationship with Katherine.

Cast[edit]

Trained animals

Kaa is portrayed by both a computer-generated and a real anaconda. Other trained animals were monkeys, elephants, camel, horses, zebu, and wolves. The sounds used for the monkeys were actually those of chimps.[6]

Production[edit]

Principal photography took place in India (Jodhpur and Bombay) as well as parts of the Southern United States (South Carolina and Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee).[7]

Score[edit]

While electronics dominated most of his work during the early '90s, composer Basil Poledouris returned to his symphonic roots for his score to this film. Most European versions of Milan's official CD release include "Two Different Worlds," a pop song performed by Kenny Loggins.[8]

The Jungle Book (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Film score by Basil Poledouris
Released December 13, 1994
Genre Soundtrack
Length 48:20
Label Milan Records
The Jungle Book (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
No. Title Length
1. "Main Titles/The Caravan"   4:24
2. "Shere Khan Attacks"   4:49
3. "Mowgli"   3:41
4. "Monkey City"   4:41
5. "Kitty"   5:23
6. "Treasure Room"   4:13
7. "Civilization"   5:35
8. "Baloo"   2:52
9. "Spoils"   9:13
10. "Finale"   3:29
Total length:
48:20

Reception[edit]

Critical[edit]

The film was well received, with praise towards its performances, action and visuals, but chided for not staying true to Kipling's work, although his name remains in the title.

Noted critic 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."[9]

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."[9]

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."[10] 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."[11]

The film currently holds a 79% 'fresh' rating at review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes, based on 38 reviews with the consensus: "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."[12]

Accolades[edit]

The film was nominated for Excellence in Media's 1994 Golden Angel Award for best motion picture.[7]

Video game[edit]

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/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.

References[edit]

External links[edit]