The recent adaptation of the Disney’s classic animation “The Jungle Book” by director Jon Favreau is not going to get a better timing than now for the remake. Other than the facts that the CGI technologies today are going to make the animals look awesome and alive, it’s also because of the increasing awareness in environmental sustainability among the society.
When the animation came out in 1967, the songs became instant hits. Almost every child at home knew about the little boy in red pants, and the grey sloth bear who sings “The Bare Necessities”. But that was the time when the world’s economy was starting to grow, and people were more keen on exploiting than sustaining the nature. The idea of a little boy communicating with animals and living among them was fun, but only served as an entertainment back then.
Fast forward to present, we are definitely seeing more recognition on the importance of environment and animal protection. Our new generations see animals differently than the baby boomers, and this is why watching The Jungle Book again is going to bring more inspirations on the topic. I was really surprised by the story when I watched the new movie in the theater. Perhaps it’s because I never really understood it as a kid, or because the live action version of the story has more sense of reality in it. All in all, The Jungle Book is indeed a piece of profound literature that should be taken more seriously.
Humans are considered the most intelligent species of earth, we have the power to dominate other species, and utilize them to suit our needs. In the game of survival, humans will win. This is why all animals in the jungle are not fond of human. They are afraid, and at the same time envious of what humans are capable of. “It brings warmth and life, and destruction to all it touches.” This is what Kaa, the snake said when she described “red flower”, which the animals refer to as fire, the thing only human can create.
“No more tricks!” When Akela, the wolf leader who took Mowgli into his pack requested that Mowgli must not utilize his human ability in the jungle, it becomes apparent that the animals wanted him to become one of their own. They believed that the human tricks will turn the baby human into an evil creature. This is further proven when Bagheera the panther insisted that Mowgli must be returned to the man village. On one hand the little boy’s life was threatened; on the other hand, it also implies that Mowgli’s increasing tendency on becoming a human will eventually piss off the jungle. His existence among the animals is not trusted, even by his closest friends. However, little did they know, Mowgli shown them what humans are really capable of: he brought himself and the animals closer together.
Power is a double-edged sword. The animals’ general perception about the humans suggest that we have been using only one side of it. Such creature is not welcome in the jungle, as Shere Khan put it. The tiger may have the most vicious face ever, but he represents the true form of the nature, reacting to humans’ actions. Nevertheless, as Mowgli has demonstrated, we could change the way it was, we are capable of that.