Film / The Jungle Book

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The Jungle Book (or Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book) is a 1994 film directed by Stephen Sommers, loosely based on Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book and starring Jason Scott Lee as Mowgli.

A Walt Disney Pictures film, it includes several shout-outs to Disney's animated film version, including an orangutan nicknamed "King Louis".

Followed by two prequels with none of the same cast, Disney's The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story, and The Second Jungle Book: Mowgli and Baloo, which was made by the same producers of the 1994 version but without Disney's involvement.

Not to be confused with Jungle Book, the 1942 film starring Sabu as Mowgli, or with the live-action/CGI adaptation of the Disney animated movie that was released in April 2016.

Tropes related to The Jungle Book (1994 live-action movie):

  • Adaptational Heroism: Shere Khan is the Big Bad of the original novel, as well as in Disney's adaptations, but here, he is merely the ruthless enforcer of jungle law who accepts Mowgli once they meet face to face.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Kaa is portrayed as a draconic monster who King Louie uses to protect the treasure from thieves.
  • Agony of the Feet: Mowgli is being chased by some angry soldiers and runs across a bed of hot coals. Despite being barefoot, he doesn't seem to notice it. When the soldiers try to follow, they burn their feet despite wearing boots.
  • Anti-Villain: Shere Khan. He's a ruthless killer and even described as "the Devil" by Buldeo, but he kills only to preserve the law of the jungle. In the end, he even accepts Mowgli in the jungle and makes him the new keeper of the jungle law.
  • Ax-Crazy: Harley and Tabaqui mainly. Boone has a brief moment as well.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Wilkins screams at the jungle animals to be quiet.
  • Butt Monkey: Wilkins is constantly on the receiving end - being told to shut up by others or tormented, especially by Harley in one scene.
  • Canon Foreigner: Geoffrey Brydon, Katherine Anne "Kitty" Brydon, Dr. Julius Plumford, and William Boone.
  • The Comically Serious: Dr. Plumford.
  • Composite Character:
    • Another Tabaqui example, like the Animated Adaptation, Shere Khan's jackal lackey is absent, though the name is given to Boone's guide. Curiously a more accurate rendition of the novel's Tabaqui also appears in Mowgli's Story however.
    • Kaa's role as the guardian of the treasure in the temple is that of White Hood, a white cobra from the book.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Buldeo. He gets caught in a booby-trapped crypt which begins lowering a stone ceiling and simultaneously filling the crypt with tonnes of sand, weighing Buldeo down and filling the gunshot wound on his leg. Ouch. In agony, he crawls out of the enormous pile of sand and desperately tries to escape but the crypt is sealed shut, trapping him in the tiny narrow space to suffocate. Rated PG.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kitty becomes this towards Boone in the second half of the movie.
  • Death by Adaptation: In the book, Buldeo is simply chased away as his village is destroyed by the jungle animals (which Mowgli engineered). In this movie, his buried alive.
  • Death by Materialism: Boone sinks in the water due to being dragged down by all the gold he took from the temple...dragged down by his own greed. He doesn't drown though...Kaa follows him into the water and takes him out instead.
  • Demoted to Extra: Most of the animal characters, while the movie focus more on Mowgli's interaction with other humans.
  • Dirty Coward: Wilkins and Buldeo both qualify.
  • Disney Death: Baloo AGAIN.
  • Disney Villain Death: Tabaqui. A pretty violent one by Disney standards. The impact is heard, but thankfully not seen...
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Buldeo allowed Mowgli's father Nathoo to be killed by Shere Khan for being reprimanded: "Would you allow someone to break into your house and steal your food?".
  • The Dragon: Kaa appears to be this to King Louis, who summons him when someone attempts to steal treasure, though even Louis fears him.
  • The Dreaded: Shere Khan
  • Dragon Hoard: The treasure vault in the monkeys' lost city is inhabited by a huge python (presumably Kaa) which attacks anyone who attempts to take something from the treasure.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: A wise man told young Mowgli in his dream that he would confront Shere Khan without fear and become a "creature of the jungle".
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even Tabaqui and Buldeo were surprised when Boone doesn't seem to care Harley sank into the quicksand.
  • Evil Brit: Boone, Wilkins and Harley.
  • Evil Former Friend: Colonel Brydon regards Buldeo as this.
  • Fanservice: Jason Scott Lee in a loincloth, ladies?
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Everyone:
    • Harley: Drowns in quicksand.
    • Buldeo: Buried alive.
    • Wilkins: Mauled by Shere Khan.
    • Boone: Killed by Kaa.
    • Tabaqui: Kicked off cliff/skull crushed.
  • Five-Bad Band: The villains.
    • Big Bad: Boone; the main antagonist.
    • The Dragon: Buldeo; Boone's chief partner in the plan to get the treasure.
    • The Evil Genius: Tabaqui; the jungle guide who knows about its dangers the most.
    • The Brute: Harley; big, stupid and vicious.
    • The Dark Chick: Wilkins; Boone's lackey with a distinct whiney personality.
  • Genius Bruiser: Tabaqui. In addition to his intelligence and expertise, he is also a very strong and stealthy fighter, being able to sneak up on his victims, lift a small boulder and overpower Mowgli who is twice his build, despite Tabaqui's greater height.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Dr. Plumford teaching Mowgli about people: "Man, woman, woman. One man. Two women. Lucky man."
  • Groin Attack: Harley suffered a kick in his "sweets" from Mowgli, twice. Later used against Tabaqui.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Tabaqui.
  • Human-Focused Adaptation: The film primarily focuses on Mowgli's interaction with other humans, and his romance with Kitty, rather than his relationship with the various animals of the jungle.
  • Humans Kill Wantonly: Mowgli explains that animals only kill to eat or to keep from being eaten. He doesn't understand the concept of killing out of hatred or sport and is not impressed when one of the hunters tries to explain it to him.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Was promoted as Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, though it bears little in common with the book.
  • Ironic Echo
  • Jungle Opera: Played surprisingly straight, considering it was made in 1994.
  • Jungles Sound Like Kookaburras: A couple instances of this throughout the film, which is especially confusing since the jungle is in India.
  • Karmic Death: Buldeo and Boone.
  • Large Ham: William Boone, who is a cartoonishly-evil antagonist.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Mowgli dubbing the lead orangutan "King Louis" after earlier seeing a portrait of the French king wearing a similar crown.
  • Missing Mom: Mowgli and Kitty's mothers died in childbirth.
  • Montage
  • Mythology Gag:
    • "All the bare necessities of life."
    • Buldeo called Mowgli a "man cub".
    • The inclusion of King Louie.
    • Also, Bagheera is the one who leads Mowgli to the wolf pack in both this and Disney's version.
    • The red flowers.
  • Narrator: Kitty's father, Geoffrey Brydon
  • Nature Hero: Mowgli
  • Nice Hat: Once back in civilization, Mowgli takes notice of a portrait of Louis XIV, particularly his crown similar to the one he saw the lead orangutan wearing.
    Mowgli: (to Kitty) If you see him, tell him I know who took his hat.
  • Noble Savage: "I AM NOT A MAN! And I am not an animal."
  • An Officer and a Gentleman: Colonel Brydon.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Cary Elwes' accent slips and sounds American at times.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Harley. He comes off as racist, snidely calling Mowgli his "little brown brother" twice. Also, Boone mispronounces "Maharajah" as "Maharajee" in one scene, denoting his disregard for Indian culture.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Wilkins. He tries to explain himself to Colonel Brydon on his betrayal, only to be silenced by Boone.
  • Quicksand Sucks: Harley even explicitly states "It's sucking me down!" while struggling.
  • Red String of Fate: Mowgli and Kitty
  • The Remake: Arguably a remake of the 1942 film, which it probably owes more to than to the original book. (Definitely not a remake of the Disney animated film; it started as an independent production before Disney became involved.)
  • Running Gag: The Colonel's curious resentment of elephants.
  • Scary Black Man: Tabaqui.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: When Colonel Brydon scolds him for his betrayal, Harley just tells him off.
  • Slasher Smile: Kaa's default expression.
  • Super Doc: After Baloo is shot, Mowgli asks Dr. Plumford to heal his wounds. Although Dr. Plumford is a surgeon, he's more of a people doctor than an animal doctor. However he was successful in healing Baloo as shown in the finale.
  • Shout-Out: Soldiers chase Mowgli through a bed of hot coal, just as with Aladdin and the Palace Guards in Aladdin.
  • Taxidermy Is Creepy: Mowgli, in a room filled with stuffed animals, imagines hearing them screaming, with each scream punctuated by a gunshot.
  • Temple of Doom
  • Too Dumb to Live: Wilkins and Harley. Harley, while chasing Mowgli, pays no attention to his surroundings and blunders into the quicksand. Later, Wilkins doesn't stick to the group, gets lost and wastes half of his ammo before Shere Khan kills him. Granted, both are justifiable; Harley had only just woken up when he chased Mowgli and wasn't focusing clearly and Wilkins was clearly out of his depth having never encountered a tiger before in his life.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Buldeo. Mowgli's father Nathoo saves him from Shere Khan and he flees, allowing the tiger to maul him to death. Years later, even when knowing who Mowgli is, Buldeo still tries to kill him.
    • Harley as well. He isn't too thankful that Wilkins at least tried to save him...
  • Violent Glaswegian: Harley. An aggressive, violent and very Scottish man. He even calls Colonel Brydon a "silly wee man".
  • What Is Evil?: Mowgli doesn't understand the reason to kill other than protection and food. He doesn't know the meaning of "enemy" and "hate". Boone is a little annoyed when he tries to explain it.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Colonel Brydon, with elephants.
  • You Killed My Father: Shere Khan killed Mowgli's father when he was a young child. Subverted that Mowgli doesn't avenge him by killing Shere Khan because he didn't know and wouldn't if he did since killing for vengeance is against the Jungle Law, and in any case, Shere Khan only killed his father because he stopped him from killing his real target, Buldeo...who returned the favor by running away, leaving him to die. Though Mowgli does, unknowingly, avenge him when he indirectly left a wounded Buldeo in the salt trap.

Tropes related to The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story (1998 live-action movie):


For tropes related to the 2016 live-action movie see here.


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