Sunday, October 15, 2006

Tigers and monkeys and boas, oh my!

One of the more devious ways that God, or Karma, or the Fates, or the Universe, or the Football Gods, or our Alien Overlords, have of getting even with us in our adult lives for transgressions of childhood is by bestowing us with children whose favorite movies are movies we just can't stand. Here at Casa Jaquandor, the movie of choice for The Daughter is The Jungle Book.

Now, I've always been mildly tepid about The Jungle Book -- I kind of like the animal characters and all the little vignettes, but as a character, Mowgli bores me to tears and I can't frankly care if Shere Khan eats him or not. But "mildly tepid" feelings about a movie can quickly turn sour when one's kid watches the same movie too many times. Now, it's pretty safe to say that I can't stand The Jungle Book.

So, for some unknown reason, I relented the other day when The Daughter decided that she wanted to check out The Jungle Book II from the library.

God, this movie makes me want to kill something. It makes me want to pave all the jungles in all the world for new Targets and Starbucks outlets. It makes me want to bulldoze the Disney studios, and then salt the earth there so that nothing ever grows there again.

What a horrifically awful movie. It exists for absolutely no reason other than to put out a sequel to a Disney "classic", and clearly demonstrates that if ET: the Extra-Terrestrial had been made by Disney, we would have long since had a sequel in which ET returns and takes Elliot to his home planet, where Elliot would have to phone home.

In The Jungle Book II, Mowgli isn't completely satisfied with village life and yearns to go back to the jungle, despite his friends Shanti (a girl) and some little toddler whose name I can't recall. Eventually Mowgli does go back to the jungle, and he has more adventures with the exact same bunch of animals from the first movie. Baloo the bear, Baghera the panther, the elephant brigade, the goofy monkeys, the treacherous snake, the vultures, and Shere Khan the tiger, who wants a rematch. That's it. Retread, retread, retread, confrontation with the same villain, retread, retread, culminating with one of those action sequences where pits of lava exist for absolutely no reason. And in all that, we have to hear "Bare Necessities" four or five times.

Also, the color scheme in Jungle Book II is too bright. The original movie was able to convey that the jungle is really no place for a kid to hang out, but here it looks like a Club Med getaway that would be perfectly benign if not for that annoying tiger who keeps walking around saying menacing things in a deep British accent. What a waste of Tony Jay, the wonderful voice actor -- do we really need "Come out, come out, wherever you are?" Geez.

Anything good about this movie? Well, there's a song called "Jungle Rhythm" that's kind of catchy. But that's about it.


Anonymous said...

I used to love The Jungle Book but after seeing it a few dozen times I have no desire to see it again.

Kids these days! When I was a kid we got to see a movie once at the theater, if we were very good, then once more a couple of years later when they showed it on TV and that was it.

Traci said...

The one to rent is the live action version of The Jungle Book with Carey Ewles or whatever his name is. Excellent!