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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Encourages teamwork, friendship, and helping others. Family is where you find/make it, and change and innovation aren't to be feared. The wolf pack's motto is "the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack." There's also a sweet message for adoptive/non-traditional families, since Akela and Raksha view Mowgli as the same as their wolf cubs.
Positive Role Models
Mowgli is curious, kind, and intelligent. He's courageous enough to try to protect both friends and strangers. Bagheera, Akela, and Raksha all took care of Mowgli from a young age and treated him as a member of their jungle family. Raksha and Akela raise Mowgli as one of their own, and Bagheera is a godfather of sorts who loves and protects him. Baloo is a faithful, if a little sneaky, friend to Mowgli, and by the end, the entire jungle has opted to protect their man cub. Shere Khan is driven by the thirst for revenge, which is clearly portrayed as an unhealthy obsession.
Violence & Scariness
Characters die; one death is particularly sudden/shocking and upsetting. Others sometimes seem badly hurt/near death. Many scenes of peril, danger, and pursuit in which Mowgli is chased and menaced; he occasionally has some blood on his body due to scratches/abrasions/other wounds (he's also stung by bees in one scene). Animal characters fight each other in intense battles that involve teeth, claws, snarls, and roars. Shere Khan is cruel and scary; he and the snake Kaa both nearly kill Mowgli. Several jump-worthy moments when menacing animals pop up suddenly/threateningly, as well as when the monkeys kidnap Mowgli and King Louie gets angry. He commands his army to dispose of Baloo and chases after Mowgli fiercely. Forest fire scenes portray the "red flower" as deadly and unpredictable; a rainstorm leads to a mud avalanche that sweeps Mowgli into a raging river. It's sad when Mowgli leaves his wolf family; there are other scenes with hurtful words. Music intensifies many of the potentially scary scenes.
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One "shut up," and one "heck."
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Products & Purchases
Nothing in the movie itself, but Disney has all sorts of Jungle Book merchandise, games, apparel, toys, and more available.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Baloo is fixated on honey.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Jungle Book is a live-action/CGI update of Rudyard Kipling's classic book of short stories that has many scary/intense scenes involving menacing wild animals. With its blend of live-action and photo-realistic computer-generated effects, this action-packed adventure -- which was inspired by Disney's 1967 animated musical and has an all-star voice cast that includes Idris Elba, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken, and Scarlett Johansson -- tells the story of young Mowgli (Neel Sethi), the orphaned "man cub" raised as a wolf and hated by the jungle's most vicious predator, tiger Shere Khan. There are several jump-worthy, intense moments (including one sudden and particularly sad death and several vicious animal fight sequences involving fangs, fur, claws, snarls, and roars) that are very likely to scare younger viewers (especially when seen in 3-D). Kids who are familiar with the story and know the animals they're seeing aren't real will probably be fine, but preschoolers and younger elementary-aged kids who have trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality may not be able to handle Mowgli's frequent peril. All of that said, on the definite upside, the movie is gorgeous, and there are clear, strong messages about the importance of courage, teamwork, family (especially the non-traditional kind), and friendship. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Visually stunning and expertly acted, this retelling of a classic pays tribute to the original adventure while erasing the insensitivity of parts of Disney's '60s version. Sethi is a compelling young lead, making viewers really care about a boy who has only known the jungle and doesn't understand why he's being hunted. Elba is pitch perfect as the villainous Shere Khan, who in a misguided way makes sense -- man does cause destruction in the jungle -- but is so blinded by vengeance that he can't be made to see that Mowgli truly loves the jungle. All of the supporting actors are strong as their animal counterparts, and (with the exception of Murray and Christopher Walken, whose voices are too iconic to forget who they are) they don't come off as mere A-list cameos. With her husky purr, Scarlett Johansson is very well cast as giant python Kaa, who hypnotizes Mowgli with the tale of the boy's own origins.
There are only a few musical numbers in The Jungle Book, all of which are rearranged from the original: Kaa's transfixing "Trust in Me" (which really doesn't show up until the credits), Baloo's "Bare Necessities," and "I Wanna Be Like You," which Walken sings as the ambitious Gigantopithecus (an extinct giant orangutan) King Louie. That character's portrayal was problematic in the original Disney film, prompting criticism for being racist, and it's wonderful that director Jon Favreau's interpretation of the story isn't culturally insensitive (just scary -- Louie is huge!). The pacing can be leisurely, but there are also plenty of heart-stopping thrills and action sequences to keep audiences riveted -- and, in a few cases, jumping out of their seats.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.