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Fridge: The Jungle Book

Disney film examples

  • I saw the Disney film The Jungle Book when I was about four and never understood why King Louis the Orangutan wanted to be a human like Mowgli so badly. Just recently, I listened to his song, "I Wanna Be Like You," again and found that the song is all about institutional inequality: Louis's desire to be human is impossible because of evolution, an institution of Nature that only allows populations, not individuals, to evolve; Louis is clearly voiced by a black man while Mowgli is voiced by a white boy; there's a line in the song that says Louis wants to "stroll right into to town/ And be just like the other men/ I'm tired of monkeyin' 'round"; Louis also has Mowgli refer to him as "Cousin Louis," acknowledging that they are related (by evolutionary standards), but Louis is still below Mowgli; therefore, the song is actually about a black man longing to be considered equal to white men. But at the end of the song, Baloo barges in to get Mowgli back, and twists the words of the song so that Louis sings "You'll see it's true/ An ape like me/ Can learn to be/ like someone like me." Baloo has turned the tables on Louis so that he will stay in his place. And then you consider that Baloo spends a lot of time alone with Mowgli, Mowgli wants to spend all of his time alone with Baloo, and Baloo is a Bear. But that's a whole 'nother can of beans...-Trombone Child
    • Except that King Louis is voiced by Louis Prima, an Italian-American.
      • Well, drawing on what I learned in World History Class in high school, I can think of one possible historically and socially based example of Fridge Brilliance there: Britain's former rule over India. Not very unlikely to be that, considering it's based on one of Rudyard Kipling's works.
    • I wonder how that interpretation explains the fact that the big # 1 thing King Louis wanted was not to know how to wear clothes, or how to walk like a man, but how to use fire. He wasn't so much interested in fitting in with humankind as he was interested in gaining their power. Even Shere Khan is afraid of fire. King Louis shifts from calling it "fire" to "red fire" to "Red Flower", which is what fire was called in the book. I always took his desire to be dominion over the other beasts, rather than being removed from their sphere completely (treated like a man).
  • Fridge Horror: What exactly do King Louie and his rather rambunctious minions plan to use "Man's red flower" for?
    • Louie wants to be a human and thinks that if he learns how to make fire he'll be a human. The real question is: How did he come to to that conclusion...?
      • Because in his mind, the ability to make and control fire is probably the only thing that separates apes from humans?
    • Probably to kill Shere Khan. On a side note, how many animals has Shere Khan killed before this film? Good God, I hope any weren't as enjoyably awesome as Baloo!
    • At the end of the sequel, Shere Khan falls into a volcano, but survives, only to be trapped inside by a stone tiger head that also fell into the volcano. Khan cannot escape from the tiger head because it is too heavy, and as he is doing so the vultures who constantly mock him fly inside the volcano...
    • For anyone sympathetic to Shere Khan, it's worth noting that the only way he'd have even a chance to escape that skull would be to lose a lot of weight. Of course by then, he'd be too weak to move.
      • Which brings up the point of Lucky Vulture hanging around. Ostensibly, he's making fun of Khan while Khan can't do anything about it. Left unsaid is that he's probably waiting until Shere Khan either starves to death or becomes to weak to move...
    • Louie probably didn't think that far ahead. His "plan" probably went thus:
      • Step 1: Make fire.
      • Step 2: Become human.
      • Step 3: ???????
      • Step 4: Profit!
  • The other pages note that Shere Khan has become a Knight of Cerebus in the sequel, but that's probably because he's still so pissed over Mowgli defeating him in the first movie that he doesn't want to be "whimsical".
  • Why doesn't Kaa's hypnosis work on Shere Khan?
    • If I remember right, that was more a case of Shere Khan having good reflexes. He suspected Kaa might try to pull that trick, but then again, so did Bagherra- Shere Khan, though, was confident he could easily put a stop to it if he notices quickly enough, that's why he slapped Kaa down and told him to just stop wasting time with it, like he didn't consider Kaa a threat at all. He was focused on the information he wanted to get from Kaa, too, most probably- Bagherra was more busy trying to come up with something that could help both him and Mowgli, and he clearly thought of Kaa as someone to be reckoned with.
    • When he talks with Kaa, Shere Khan's eyes are at least four-fifths closed.
  • Remember the scene in the Disney-movie when Mowgli meets Baloo and they have fun? Well Bagherra groans once, claiming he can't bear this much stupidity. Baloo (at least in the Hungarian version) answers back with something like, "Who's talking stupidity, you house-cat??" Now, if you only saw the movie, this is just a funny bit. If you read the book, too, you know that Bagherra indeed was born in a cage in the court of a raj in Udipur and escaped to the jungle from there. Now, I doubt many knew this bit of Bagherra's past, or dared to mention it to his face, given that he was a respected but also slightly feared inhabitant of the jungle in the books, instead of the Butt Monkey as in the movie.

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