Thursday, February 26, 2015

Disney's The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book ~ I had the pleasure of seeing this one again as an in-room movie while on the TCM Classic Cruise on board the Disney Magic. The 1967 animated Disney version of The Jungle Book is probably one of my favorite Disney features, and it was probably one of my first as well. Quite honestly I can't remember if I did see it in theaters at the time or not (I have been assured that I did), but I do know that my big sister bought me the soundtrack record that came with a storybook. I knew all the songs, I knew all the corresponding scenes as well, and I loved it.

This is one of those movies that when it comes on, I just have to stop and watch it. As I said, the music was ingrained in me at an early age, and even today with the original tunes, or with covers like "Bear Necessities" by Harry Connick Jr. or "I Wanna Be Like You" by the Jonas Brothers, I still love it. The flick has a great soundtrack, probably the last full soundtrack to be so cool as a whole until the late eighties.

It is notable that The Jungle Book was the last film that Walt Disney had a hand in personally, and it was also the beginning of a new era of animation for the company. I call it the Don Bluth era myself, even though Bluth wasn't involved in every facet of that era, but his style was prevalent. Many of his tricks are evident here, such as the fake out death of Baloo, and the look of some of the characters. Some of the scenes here are even repeated in 1973's Robin Hood.

The Jungle Book stands out among other Disney animated features for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its stunning voice cast. In a
day when voice actors weren't a big deal, it was here. There was Disney regular Sterling Holloway, Phil Harris, George Sanders, Sebastian Cabot, Louie Prima, Clint Howard, English rock and roll disc jockey Lord Tim Hudson, and Chad Stuart of Chad and Jeremy. And then there's also the matter of the multiple villains - Shere Khan, Kaa, King Louie - something rarely seen in Disney films of the time.

In many ways, despite my love for this film, I kinda dig the 1942 Sabu version more, but still this is one of my favorite Disney features, and an important piece of my childhood. Five stars all around.

1 comment:

  1. Best Disney flick, ever. (I'm intentionally keeping Pixar as a separate company, otherwise UP would be tied for that accolade.)