YMMV / The Jungle Book (2016)


  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • King Louie: Affably Evil or Faux Affably Evil? We never get to see if he intended to keep his proposed bargain with Mowgli. It's not hard to argue that he stood to lose little by keeping it (Mowgli only cared about staying in the jungle, not riches, and once he had the Red Flower Louie would be Shere Khan's enemy, regardless of what happened to Mowgli), but he might have betrayed him just For the Evulz.
      • This version of Louie seems to believe that creating fire is an innate ability possessed by humans (and only humans) rather than a natural phenomena anyone with the right skills and knowledge can do. As such, he may have been willing to tolerate Mowgli as he believed he was the only way he would ever be able to control the red flower. But if he ever learned the truth, would he still uphold his end of the deal? Or would he pull a You Have Outlived Your Usefulness on Mowgli?
    • Kaa: Evil or neutral? She tries to kill Mowgli as in the original film, but there's no particular indication of malice, and no one ever accuses her of breaking the jungle law. As far as we can tell, she's just hungry. While the Jungle Law forbids killing humans in the book (due to the fear of retaliation), it is not stated in the film, so it may have been Adapted Out.
      • There's also a third option: she's clearly not on anyone's side but her own and her motivation (food) is entirely understandable, but she's also not above "playing" with Mowgli a little before eating him.
    • The scene with Shere Khan and the wolf pups after Akela's death, and his story of the "cuckoo bird". A warning to Raksha of what will happen to her cubs if Mowgli doesn't return? Maybe an attempt to turn the cubs against Raksha and Mowgli by telling them that Mowgli wants to replace them? Was it a subtle reference to himself and how he had killed Akela and taken over his nest, thus becoming the de facto ruler of the wolf pack? All of the above?
    • Part of his motivation in trying to kill the man-cub viewing him as a "cuckoo bird"?
  • Awesome Music:
  • Broken Base:
    • The announcement that Scarlett Johannson would be voicing Kaa. There was debate on whether or not it was a clever new take on the character, whilst others thought that changing the gender was unnecessarily altering the character. There were also accusations of nepotism, claiming that Johansson was cast because she was a frequent Favreau collaborator, not based on acting ability. While this largely subsided after the teaser trailer was released, with both fans and critics having complimented Johansson's Nightmare Fuel-inducing performance, some people still aren't that convinced, saying her voice doesn't fit the character and wondering why would Kaa need to be "sexy" all of a sudden. Mix that in with his scenes with Mowgli in the original film, and you get people saying the film's weirdly promoting bestiality and pedophilia.
    • King Louie's Adaptation Species Change. Some have said that it's an interesting move and gives an unusual, but otherwise little-known, prehistoric animal a chance to be in the public eye. Others have stated Favreau's reasoning (orangutans are not found in India) seems slightly erroneous and that a slight case of Misplaced Wildlife is more forgiveable than a major case of Anachronism Stew. Furthermore, the fossil record shows that orangutans did live in India around the same time as Gigantopithecus did - so the Adaptation Species Change is probably also driven by the Rule of Cool. Some have even pondered why Favreau simply didn't just remove the character entirely.
    • The ending, considering how the original and the novel ended with Mowgli returning to the village, while the live adaptation ends with Mowgli living in the jungle still.
  • Counterpart Comparison:
    • Its easy to see similarities between Shere Khan and Koba from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in that both have lost their left eye to humans, both hate them, both are more than happy to kill anyone who disagrees and both are undeniably human-like.
    • While Scar has often been compared with the 1967 version of Shere Khan since the release of The Lion King, this Khan actually has a bit more in common with Scar than the older one, what with possessing similar eye injuries (Khan's eye is burned, Scar's possesses his namesake) and Shere Khan's Tyrant Takes the Helm attitude after killing Akela towards the wolf pack much the same way Scar did to Pride Rock after killing Mufasa. His effort to turn the jungle against Mowgli in the climax also mirrors Scar's false reveal that Simba was responsible for Mufasa's death, and the Final Battles of both films take place in locations that have caught on fire.
    • Shere Kahn and Sabor- they're both feline antagonists who kill the biological fathers of their respective protagonists, as well as killing members of said protagonists' adoptive families.
    • Ditto for Mowgli and Tarzan; apart from the whole being raised in the jungle and learning the ways of the animals thing, they both lose their biological fathers to a feline villain that they kill later on in their respective films. Both characters also have If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him moments with one of their respective antagonists.
    • Mowgli is also an inventor who relies on tools and tricks to save the day, is kidnapped and forced to give weapons of mass destruction to a villain, and later refuses to use this weapon later. This is incredibly similar to the star of another movie directed by Jon Favreau.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Kaa's barely in the movie at all, but she still has a lot of fans. Her voice actress helps.
  • Even Better Sequel: Or rather, remake. This film currently scores a 95% among critics, and a 86% among audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. The original film by Walt Disney and Wolfgang Reitherman got an 86% and 82%, respectively.
  • Evil Is Cool: Shere Khan, voiced by Idris Elba is awesome.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Scarlett Johanson as Kaa. 'Nuff said. Priyanka Chopra has got the same reaction in the Hindi dub, even from non Hindi speakers.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In the '67 animated film, Mowgli meets a flock of vultures, who comfort him when he is alone. One of the vultures says "nobody wants us around either", and then came this movie, where the vultures are not included save for a brief scene of four vultures at the Peace Rock pond and another two feeding on what may or may not be Akela's corpse.
    • When Scarlet Johansson was announced as Kaa, everyone acted like it was a horrible idea. Come 2016 and the announcement she would play Major Motoko Kusanagi in the live-action Ghost in the Shell and yet again people go ballistic because of it. Weirdly enough, while her portrayal of Kaa in this film eventually won most people over, her role in the latter was panned.
    • A week before the film's general release, it was reported that the wild tiger population had increased for the first time in a century. In the climax of this film, Shere Khan falls into a pit of fire and burns to ashes.
    • The collapse of the Monkey Temple is a lot less funny now, in view of contemporary real-life destruction of cultural heritage.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Hype Backlash: Pretty much everyone agrees that the film is gorgeous to look at, but some people felt the visuals were the only thing the film had going for it while its writing and characterization were sub-par at best. Some critics like Doug Walker even found the film to be downright bad, calling it a forgettable Narm-fest.
  • Memetic Mutation: As usual, Walken's lines are prone to this. "I got ears. My ears got ears!"
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: The movie quickly became the highest-grossing Hollywood film in India ever.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Shere Khan murdering Akela in hopes of baiting Mowgli into seeking revenge.
      Shere Khan: Well I guess it's done then....unless I can draw him BACK OUT!!!!
    • King Louie telling Mowgli about Akela's fate doesn't sound like one on paper, but just how callous he says it and saying how it was probably on account of Mowgli is plain despicable.
  • Narm:
    • The overly on-the-nose and out of place Actor Allusion of King Louie being summoned with a cowbell. And his performance of "I Wanna Be Like You," due to being the only non-diegetic musical number in the film that comes right the hell out of nowhere.
    • Shere Khan killing Akela is supposed to be a heartbreaking scene, but it happens so abruptly that you're more left wondering what just happened, particularly as they don't even make it clear if Akela's supposed to be dead: Shere Khan throws him off a cliff, but there's no saying he couldn't have survived that.
  • Narm Charm:
    • Mowgli's battle cry when he prepares to take on Shere Khan ends up sounding more adorable than fearsome.
    • All the animals shouting the wolf pack's law of the jungle mantra in unison as they stand up to Shere Khan might come across as silly in another movie, but in this one, it's an epic stand up and cheer moment.
    • Some moviegoers found the Actor Allusion of Christopher Walken's character getting summoned by a cowbell funny and clever.
    • There's also the fact that, for this movie's version of "I Wanna Be Like You", the song writers were able to work Gigantopithecus into the lyrics. Twice!
    • The way Kaa introduces herself to Mowgli would be so ridiculously overblown as to be laughable if it were said by any other character. When Kaa says it, however, it at least makes some sense, even if it does still feel a little silly.
      Mowgli: (warily) Who are you?
      Kaa: (EXTREMELY seductively) Kaaaaaaaaaa...
  • Nightmare Retardant: For some, being voiced by Christopher Walken—complete with his trademark speaking style, and many of his famous mannerisms—makes King Louie considerably less scary. Many viewers found him to be the scariest part of the film until he opened his mouth.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • The first case of combining Father Wolf and Akela was in the 1942 film adaptation. Disney imitated this in the 1990's and continued it here.
    • This isn't the first adaptation to cast Kaa as a female character. An audiobook adaptation of the original novels cast the late Eartha Kitt in the role.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Kaa's role isn't nearly as important as the trailers suggest, and Baloo saving Mowgli and the flashback in her eyes regarding how Mowgli wound up in the jungle in the first place are the things keeping it from being a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment, but oh, what a scene it is.
    • The jackal who visits Shere Khan has also been well received by fans of the Kipling books who recognize him as Tabaqui. Though this scene is only featured in the novelization and not the film itself.
    • Louie's role is also fairly minor; with only about 10 minutes of screen time.
  • Painful Rhyme: In the new verses of "I Wanna Be Like You", Louie rhymes "Gigantopithecus" with "ridiculous" and "magnificus". It's more Narm Charm than genuinely painful, especially for how delightfully Sherman-esque it is.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • Seemingly invoked with Kaa's lair, which is filled with trees covered in coiling vines. These vines are decidedly snakelike in shape, which gives the impression that Kaa could be anywhere, hidden among the vines and branches, waiting to strike at any moment. Additionally, Kaa knows way more about Mowgli than it appears she should.
    • Through the film, random monkeys can be seen looking at Mowgli from the treetops. No doubt these are part of Louie's underlings, which implies that, whenever he wishes it, he can send any of his monkey cronies to spy on someone who has caught his attention. Suddenly, his "my ears got ears" line is a lot creepier.
  • Squick: When King Louie stands up to chase after Mowgli after he escapes, you can see fur stuck to the rocks where he was sitting.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Largely averted. Many fans actually complimented the changes to be expected, but there are a few things that didn't happen the same way in the original and the novel:
    • In the 1967 movie, Mowgli was found as an infant, whereas here he's at least a toddler when Bagheera first finds him. In the book, he was also a toddler who wandered into the lair of the wolves, rather than found by Bagheera.
    • Kaa is of course female, as voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Not everyone was on board with this. The original film kept the character as male and had him voiced by Winnie-The-Pooh veteran Sterling Holloway.
    • Unlike the 1967 movie, Akela dies like in the original novel. However, Akela is actually killed by Shere Khan here, unlike in the novel, in which he was killed after Shere Khan had died. (In the novel, Akela was killed in a fight with a pack of dholes, and at the time of his death had lived so long that he would have been cast out of the pack to starve if Mowgli weren't doing his hunting for him.)
    • As noted above, like in the 1967 film and in the novel, Mowgli does go to live in the Man Village, while here he stays in the jungle.
    • Many were upset by how the friendly Beatle-expy vultures from the original only appeared in non-speaking roles as vultures that followed Shere Khan.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Scarlett Johansson's Kaa only has one scene (unlike Holloway's version in the 1967 film, which appeared twice after a test screening convinced Walt to order a second scene created, plus he had the full Villain Song), and most of it consists of exposition. She never has any interaction with Khan or Bagheera unlike the Holloway character (although the 1967 Holloway Kaa never met Baloo). Additionally, given that the 2016 film includes elements of the book that were left out of the 1967 film, they missed a perfect opportunity to portray Kaa as an Anti-Hero who assists Baloo and Bagheera in rescuing Mowgli from the Bandar Log.
    • Colonel Hathi and the Dawn Patrol do have multiple scenes, but unlike most of the animals none of the elephants speak English.
    • Again, the vultures being relegated to non-speaking roles as followers of Shere Khan.
    • Some found King Louie to be a more interesting villain than Shere Khan, with his large and intimidating size, his motivation to master fire (which would have made him a good Shadow Archetype to Mowgli), and his monkey henchmen who act as spies throughout the jungle. These viewers think he should've had a more important role; possibly forming a Big Bad Ensemble with Shere Khan.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Louie and Kaa being relegated to minor roles; in particular, neither having a role in the climax. Some believe involving both characters in the finale would have led to an interesting climax.
  • Too Cool to Live: Akela. A noble and just leader of the wolves who Mowgli considers his real father, brutally murdered by Shere Khan.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Averted. Favreau claims to have avoided using too much motion capture technology in order to avoid the animals falling into this. See Visual Effects of Awesome below.
    • Kaa plays this somewhat straighter, though that's more understandable because she's the only one who isn't a mammal, so naturally seeing a realistic snake "talking" is going to be rather strange looking. This might have been intentional, too, as she's meant to look somewhat scary.
    • Louie is shown to have Christopher Walken's eyes, which some might find a little unnerving.
    • Sometimes, Baloo's face tends to look a little too much like Bill Murray.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Shere Khan gets this, mostly for the fact that tigers in India are highly endangered and the finale where he ends up getting burned is seen as too extreme for a modernized take (and it is more extreme than the animated original). Some also disliked the Narm-filled scene where the animals decide that Shere Khan is not part of the jungle, when tigers are undoubtedly part of them. Although the last one can be Narm Charm for some since it's in the context of the entire jungle giving Shere Khan a Shut Up, Hannibal! and declaring that Mowgli is part of the jungle community whether the tiger likes it or not. And his introductory scene establishes that he kills for sport rather than survival like everyone else.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: This film won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects for a reason. The entire film is one of the most beautiful cinematic spectacles to be created in years. The computer-generated material is so realistic that you'd never know it from looking at the film. The jungle and animals are every bit as stunning as you'd want them to be, and the animation is done skilfully enough that the animals' speech doesn't even descend into the Uncanny Valley.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: With all the jump scares, frightening scenes, and violence, some people have considered the film deserved a PG 13 rating rather than the PG rating it received.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?:
    • Initially the announcement of Scarlett Johansson as Kaa was treated as this. However the teaser certainly changed this and it's considered one of the best performances in the film.
    • Whilst not as vocal as the above, the casting of Bill Murray as Baloo riled some people up. However, these were the minority and, after the finished movie was released, the hate has largely subsided.
    • When Christopher Walken was announced as voicing King Louie, many of the fandom stated that they felt Walken's voice was inappropriate for the character. This has gone through a resurgence after the teaser was released, with people saying that Walken's voice seems a bizarre choice for such a massive creature.
    • Idris Elba being cast as Shere Khan received some criticism, with many saying his voice would be more suited to Bagheera. However, with the release of the film, Elba's performance is often considered one of the film's highlights.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • After a long list of disappointments from Disney's live-action division (even Maleficent proved to have a mixed reception with fans and critics alike), the acclaim the trailer has received indicates that remaking one of their best-loved classics was a smart move on Disney's part (it helps that their remake of Cinderella was more positively received, showing that Disney really can feasibly pull off remaking their older movies).
    • The announcement that the animals would actually talk in this version, unlike other live action versions, was certainly a crowd-pleaser.
    • And that Mowgli, for the first time in 70 years, would be played by someone of actual Indian descent (well, Indian-American, but still...), avoiding a repeat of the controversy that dogged Johnny Depp as Tonto in The Lone Ranger.
    • While the exact nature of his inclusion is a bit divisive (as seen above), the fact that King Louie is being featured at all won some fans over considering Disney's long-standing embargo on the character (this was forced on Disney after Jim Cummings's take on the character in Talespin earned the Mouse House a backlash from original voice Louis Prima's widow; the other live-action version from 1994, which followed The Lion King, was the last time Louie was used extensively).
    • Fans of the '67 film worried that the film would abandon the upbeat tone of the original film in favor of the Darker and Edgier route of the Kipling stories. And as well as the first trailer was received, many complained it was trying to be too overly "epic" and dark like The Dark Knight. The second trailer addresses this complaint, showing the comedic side of the film, and is overall far more upbeat, complete with an epic rendition of "The Bare Necessities" towards the end, and showing that Adaptational Badass Baloo and Louie (who also appears to have Adaptational Villainy) will still have a comedic, light-hearted side to them.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/TheJungleBook2016