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Film / Mowgli

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"I think we can both agree, Mowgli, that you are something the jungle has never seen before."

"I'm not a man. But neither am I a wolf. Which of you will follow me?"

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle note  is a Live-Action Adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, produced by Warner Bros. and directed by Andy Serkis.

While not to be confused with Disney's 2016 live-action remake of their 1967 adaptation, the two movies interestingly share a couple of similarities, namely that both feature a cast consisting mostly of CG motion-captured animals voiced by an All-Star Cast, and both have the character of Kaa be voiced by female actors.

The cast includes Rohan Chand as Mowgli, Matthew Rhys as John Lockwood, Freida Pinto as Messua, Andy Serkis as Baloo, Benedict Cumberbatch as Shere Khan, Christian Bale as Bagheera, Cate Blanchett as Kaa, Jack Reynor as Grey Brother, Tom Hollander as Tabaqui, Peter Mullan as Akela, Naomie Harris as Nisha and Eddie Marsan as Vihaan.

The film had a limited theatrical release in November 2018 and became available on Netflix as of December 7, 2018.

Previews: Trailer

Mowgli contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • Chil the kite is referred to by Serkis as Rann, although his name is never spoken in the film. Interestingly, this was his initial name in the earliest editions of the book, making this an unusual example of reverting a name change that had already happened.
    • Mowgli's mother wolf Raksha has her name changed to Nisha.
    • John Lockwood is essentially Buldeo with an Adaptational Name Change plus Race Lift (from Indian to British).
  • Adaptation Species Change: Tabaqui was a jackal in the book. Here, he's a hyena (presumably a striped hyena, but he looks more like a brown hyena), likely because jackals are too similar to wolves for the average viewer to tell them apart (as well as the negative stereotypes associated with hyenas).
  • Adaptational Badass: This movie keeps up the trend of making Shere Khan more of a threat than the source material. In the book, he was a bully who was more bark than bite, particularly considering his crippled paw. Despite retaining said crippled paw in this version, Khan is portrayed as a lot more dangerous, mostly due to being more mentally unstable and openly contemptuous of the jungle's laws.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The Bandar-log. In the book they're a chaotic people who don't obey any laws, but aren't particularly evil and Baloo's and Bagheera's hatred towards them comes off more as Fantastic Racism. In this movie they are allied with Shere Khan.
  • Adaptational Wimp: While a toady in the book, Tabaqui had fits of madness that caused him to bite everything in his path, and even Shere Khan avoided him during those episodes. Before his final confrontation with Shere Khan, Mowgli himself acknowledged Tabaqui to be a cunning spy for the tiger. The film makes no mention of any fits of madness, nor does Tabaqui demonstrate any cunningness that would make him that invaluable to Shere Khan.
  • Albinos Are Freaks: Bhoot is an albino wolf runt who gets bullied and called a freak who "came out wrong" by the other wolves. He and Mowgli become best friends because they both have difficulties finding their place in the pack. He's surprisingly cheerful despite his status.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The fate of John Lockwood, after his final encounter with Hathi the elephant. The final shot of them both shows that the man is still moving around on the ground, meaning he's not dead, but whether Hathi just knocked him on his ass or did some serious damage, or if Hathi intends to finish the job, is unclear, and we never see the pair again.
  • Androcles' Lion: Inverted when Hathi pulls Mowgli out of a pit meant for trapping Shere Khan. The boy returns the favor by showing him the way to the hunter who halved his right tusk.
  • Animal Nemesis:
    • Shere Khan to Mowgli, as usual. Ever since the tiger killed Mowgli's parents, he seeks to kill the child to complete the job.
    • Hathi to Lockwood. The elephant never forgot that the hunter shot off a part of his tusk, and seeks revenge.
  • Animals Not to Scale: Kaa is much bigger and longer than even the largest real-life pythons. Her head is big enough that she could swallow Mowgli whole if she wanted to, and although we never get to see a shot of her full body, when she's around she seems to be everywhere. Justified in that snakes grow in their entire lives, and she's said to be as old as the jungle itself.
  • Animal Species Accent: Many animal characters talk in a voice that resembles the sounds their species makes. Baloo has a deep, grating voice resembling a bear's roars, Shere Khan has a soft voice with purrs, growls and snarls, Tabaqui has a high-pitched, giggly voice fitting for a hyena, and Kaa's voice has a hissing overtone which occasionally becomes Sssnake Talk.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: By the Law of the Jungle, if the leader of the Pack misses his leap during the Night Hunt, the other wolves have the right to challenge him one by one. Whoever defeats the leader during this fight may replace him.
  • Bait the Dog: John Lockwood is patient and merciful with Mowgli, and takes him under his wing. Then Mowgli gets a look inside his hut.
  • Bears Are Bad News: This version of Baloo is a Stern Teacher meets Drill Sergeant Nasty, harsh and demanding with Mowgli, as far from the Beary Funny Disney character as possible. He also looks scarred, rugged and has a deep, grating voice. Mitigated by the fact that he's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • BFG: During the climax of the film, Lockwood attempts to shoot Shere Khan with a massive double-barreled rifle, most likely an elephant gun.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Shere Khan and John Lockwood, although the former is clearly more malicious.
  • Big Brother Bully: Mowgli's older brothers, apart from Grey Brother, are mean towards Mowgli, calling him a "freak" several times.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Bagheera calls Mowgli "little brother" and is protective of him as he is in the original book.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Bagheera acts like this towards Mowgli, teaching him how to hunt and survive in the jungle.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When an unconscious Mowgli is at Shere Khan's mercy, Bagheera and Baloo arrive to save the boy only to be overwhelmed by the Bandar-Log. It is then Kaa bursts into the temple and defends Mowgli, forcing Shere Khan and his minions to back off.
  • Birds of a Feather: Mowgli and Bhoot are friends because neither of them fit in with the pack - Bhoot due to being an albino runt, and Mowgli due to being a man-cub.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Shere Khan and Lockwood are defeated and Mowgli is no longer in danger, but Bhoot is gone without Mowgli ever getting the chance to reconcile with him, Akela dies from taking a bullet for Mowgli, and Mowgli loses his faith in humanity and leaves the Man-Village for good.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: As part of the Darker and Edgier approach, the film is much more graphically violent than any previous adaptation of the book, and at times even the book itself. When Bagheera finds Mowgli he's covered in his parents' blood; we're treated of a shot of a bloody cattle carcass; Shere Khan at one point sinks his claws into an unconscious Mowgli's shoulder and slowly slashes his arm; and in the climax Khan gets stabbed several times by Mowgli's knife.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: When the Bandar-log kidnap Mowgli and take him to Shere Khan, the tiger takes his time to savor the moment and play around with the unconscious boy before killing him, allowing Baloo, Bagheera and Kaa to come to the rescue.
  • Break the Cutie: Bhoot is a cheerful wolf-cub despite being bullied by the older wolves. Then after Mowgli fails the Running and Bhoot tries to cheer him up, Mowgli yells at Bhoot and calls him a freak, leaving the cub in tears. Finally, he gets killed by John Lockwood.
  • Canon Foreigner: There are characters who were only made for this movie:
    • Bhoot, the albino wolf cub and Mowgli's best friend.
    • John Lockwood, the English hunter named after Kipling's father. Although he plays roughly the same role as Buldeo in the book.
  • Casting Gag: Cate Blanchett plays an ancient, wise character with the ability to see the past and the future who narrates the movie's prologue, just like she did in The Lord of the Rings. Since Andy Serkis co-starred with Blanchett in that film, the casting choice is likely intentional.
  • Cats Are Mean: Shere Khan of course, a vicious tiger, responsible for devouring Mowgli's human family at the beginning of the story.
  • Character Narrator: Kaa's narration opens and closes the movie, but she also plays a role in the story.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Being a tiger, Shere Khan cannot actually smile. Thus any "smile" from him is actually him baring his fangs.
  • Child of Two Worlds:
    • Pretty much the main theme in the movie. Mowgli has to find out who he really is and where he belongs.
    • Being Truer to the Text, this used to be the same case for Bagheera as well who grew up among men, while truly belonging to the jungle.
  • Combat Pragmatist: In spite of being crippled and even roughed up by elephants at the end, Shere Khan is still a large and formidable tiger while Mowgli, despite being raised in the jungle, is still just a human child. Not surprisingly in their final confrontation, Mowgli has to take a lot of evasive maneuvers to stay out of the range of Khan's fangs and claws, while relying on some outside interference, before he's able to mortally wound Shere Khan.
  • Cruel to Be Kind:
    • Bagheera intentionally targets Mowgli during the Running to make him fail, because he believes if he's cast out of the pack and goes to the Man-Village he'll be safe from Shere Khan.
    • While Kaa has no intention of eating Mowgli in this version (due to jungle law and having seen his destiny), she is not above making an implied threat of it in order to get him to speak properly.
  • Darker and Edgier: Aims to be the grittiest and most serious adaptation of The Jungle Book yet. There is plenty of violence, blood, death and emotional trauma, with very few comedic or otherwise light-hearted moments to balance it out. The colour grading is also notably more muted and duller than either of the Disney versions.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Baloo is a dark brown, mean-looking bear covered in scars, Bagheera is a pitch-black panther, and Kaa is a gigantic, sinister-looking snake, but all of them are allies to Mowgli.
  • Death by Adaptation: Mowgli's parents. In the book Shere Khan misses his kill, and Messua may or may not be the same person as Mowgli's mother. In this film, Shere Khan explicitly kills Mowgli's parents even though the act of killing happens off-camera, and Messua is clearly a different person than Mowgli's mother.
  • Defiant to the End: A badly-wounded Shere Khan makes one last attempt to claw-swipe Mowgli, before the boy finally kills him.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation:
    • Shere Khan in the book got trampled by a herd of buffaloes that Mowgli and the wolves herded into a gorge. Here, he first gets pushed around by a herd of elephants, then gets in a fight with Mowgli, who ultimately stabs him with his knife.
    • Here, Akela does a Heroic Sacrifice, leaping at Shere Khan and pushing him away as he's about to pounce Mowgli, and getting hit by Lockwood's rogue bullet. In the book he survives the confrontation with Shere Khan, and dies much later, in The Second Jungle Book during the battle against the dholes.
  • Disney Villain Death: One of Akela's challengers plummets from the edge of Council Rock onto the jungle floor, several dozen meters down.
  • The Dreaded: Just like in the original book, Kaa is portrayed as a being feared by the rest of the jungle. Baloo teaches Mowgli that Kaa is the only one that the Monkey-People are afraid of, and sure enough, not only are the monkeys too terrified to stop the python from protecting Mowgli but even Shere Khan backs down when she demands him to.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Baloo trains the young wolves to become hunters similarly to a military drill. Andy Serkis explicitly described him as a drill sergeant, noting that the film's portrayal of the bear would be a stark contrast to the much more well-known Disney character.
    Mowgli: (as he and the young wolves are about to race) What happens if we fail?
    Baloo: You don't join the pack!
  • Egomaniac Hunter: John Lockwood has hunted for a long time and really enjoys it. The greatest catch he's proud of is the albino wolf, Bhoot. Mowgli is crushed by the revelation.
  • Elephants Never Forget: Elephants really do never forget. When Haithi is guided to Lockwood, the hunter responsible for shooting off part of his tusk, he is absolutely pissed.
  • Evil Brit: While every character speaks with a British accent, Lockwood is the only one that's actually British, and he's an Egomaniac Hunter.
  • Evil Cripple: Shere Khan has a crippled front paw, and he is one of the meanest animals in the jungle.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Shere Khan is much less subtle than in other film incarnations (especially the 1967 Disney film), and the scenery is no more safe from his maw than Mowgli.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Shere Khan has a very deep voice, courtesy of Benedict Cumberbatch.
  • Expy: Lockwood is basically just a British Buldeo as the resident Egomaniac Hunter of the Man Village.
  • Gender Flip: Like Disney's remake, Kaa is a female.
  • Gentle Giant: Hathi the elephant is benevolent and kind, saving Mowgli from a pit he falls into. But if you happen to be the hunter that shot his tusk, then you're doomed.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Given the world they live in and most of the heroes being predators, none of the heroic characters will back away from a fight, if need be.
  • The Great Serpent: Kaa, already an overly large snake in most portrayals, is reimagined in this movie as a colossal python.
  • Great White Hunter: John Lockwood is initially seen as this, becoming Mowgli's mentor in the Man-Village. He's also the only white man in the movie, helping an Indian village get rid of the local man-eating tiger.
  • Handicapped Badass: As the film is Truer to the Text, Shere Khan is finally portrayed with his book counterpart's limp. He is still a fearsome threat to Mowgli, however. Adventures of Mowgli referred to Shere Khan as being lame but it ended up being more of an Informed Flaw with no noticeable limp while here it is shown in full.
  • Heinous Hyena: Tabaqui, Shere Khan's lackey, is once again portrayed as a hyena in this version.
  • Heroic BSoD: Mowgli gets one after seeing Bhoot's severed head on a stick.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: During the climactic fight, Akela jumps at Shere Khan just as the tiger is about to pounce Mowgli, and gets hit by Lockwood's bullet.
  • Honorable Elephant: Hathi, who is seen by the jungle as its ruler and a Physical God. He's gigantic and his body is partly covered in plants. He not only rescues Mowgli from a trap but agrees to helping him slay Shere Khan in return for being shown the hunter who shot off part of his tusk.
  • Horrifying the Horror: Even Shere Khan, a vicious and bloodthirsty tiger, won't dare to defy the giant python Kaa.
  • Humanlike Animal Aging: In a stark departure from the novels (which acknowledge that Mowgli's wolf brothers were grown wolves by the time Mowgli was a toddler), this version inexplicably keeps Grey Brother and the rest of the litter as sub-adults even though several years have clearly passed. Although they have adult voices when Mowgli is a pre-teen, they still share a den with their parents and they enter the running at the same time as Mowgli.
  • The Hyena: Tabaqui, appropriately for his species, giggles maniacally a lot.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Bagheera says this to Baloo while justifying his act of spoiling Mowgli's chance to become a member of the wolf pack in order to force the man-cub to go and live a safe life in the Man-Village.
  • Incorrect Animal Noise: Downplayed, but nevertheless present.
    • Bagheera's sound design includes the occasional lion and tiger snarl and only a single cougar yowl, though he mostly sounds like what you'd expect from a real leopard.
    • Conversely, Shere Khan sounds almost completely accurate to his species - the almost being that he let out a few lion snarls on occasion.
    • Only spotted hyenas laugh, making Tabaqui's vocalization rather inappropriate.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: A lot of the animal characters share features with their respective actors, most prominently Shere Khan, Bagheera, and Kaa.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Baloo is a rough, demanding Drill Sergeant Nasty, but he genuinely cares about Mowgli and is happy to see him succeed.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The children in the man-village poke and laugh at the caged Mowgli.
  • Kill the Cutie: Turns out Bhoot got killed by the hunter caring for Mowgli.
  • Klingon Promotion: After Akela misses his kill, all pack members get to fight him one by one. Whoever defeats him becomes the new leader of the pack. Before anyone could defeat Akela, Mowgli intervenes, chasing the challengers away with a burning stick.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Before his final confrontation with Mowgli, Shere Khan is shown to be wise enough to abandon his attempts to kill Mowgli in the face of overwhelming numbers or in the face of a more formidable opponent, like Kaa.
  • Large Ham: Kaa is not subtle in the slightest.
  • The Legend of X: Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Bhoot, the cheerful little albino wolf runt, to Mowgli. When Mowgli angrily yells at him, things start getting From Bad to Worse. Bhoot's death is what motivates Mowgli to leave the Man-Village, return to the jungle and slay Shere Khan.
  • Logo Joke: The Warner Bros. logo is in gold against a snakeskin background.
  • Lost in Imitation:
    • In this movie, Bagheera finds baby Mowgli and takes him to the wolves, which was also the case in the Disney film, but not in the book, where Mowgli, as a toddler, wandered to the wolves' den while Shere Khan chased his parents away, with no involvement from Bagheera.
    • Bagheera's insistance that Mowgli should return to the man-village to avoid getting killed by Shere Khan also comes from the Disney adaptations.
    • The film mispronounces Mowgli's name the same way as the Disney versions; Kipling stated that the first syllable should rhyme with 'cow'.
    • This is not the first adaptation portraying Tabaqui as a hyena rather than a jackal: the anime series The Jungle Book also portrayed him as a striped hyena, whereas in the 1998 The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story he was a spotted hyena.
  • Mama Bear: Nisha is fiercely protective of the young Mowgli. By comparison, Vihaan is only a Papa Wolf in the literal, but not the metaphorical sense, being much less proactive than his mate.
  • Maniac Monkeys: The Bandar-log who kidnap Mowgli, and later turn him over to Shere Khan.
  • Mature Animal Story: Despite the talking animals, the film is definitely not child-friendly, with all the violence and heavy themes.
  • Mocking Sing-Song: When Akela misses his kill, prompting Shere Khan to take over the pack, Tabaqui sings "Akela missed his kill" to a mocking tune.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Bagheera seems to be going through this for giving Mowgli to the wolves in order to get him to fit in, which led to Shere Khan causing trouble for the jungle.
      Bagheera: I thought I could teach you how to belong, but I was wrong, Mowgli.
    • When Lockwood realizes he shot Mowgli by accident while aiming for Shere Khan, he is visibly horrified by what he did.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Mowgli's wolf father was simply called Father Wolf in the book. Here he's called Vihaan.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: The film doesn't gloss over the fact that violence and death is part of nature. Predators need to hunt to survive, and the wolves have a Spartan society where Asskicking Leads to Leadership. However, apart from Shere Khan, Tabaqui and the monkeys, all animals follow the Law of the Jungle. By contrast, the human society is more cheerful and pleasant but also more ignorant.
  • Nearly Normal Animal: The characters are Largely Normal Animals that mostly look and behave like their own species, but have human-like facial expressions, have a culture with laws, traditions and beliefs, and the various species (at least the predators) can communicate between each other.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Kaa is old, but she packs a punch.
  • Noble Wolf: Mowgli was taken in and raised by a pack of these led by Akela, who believed that Mowgli will bring peace to the jungle.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: When Mowgli speaks with Tabaqui, he denies any relation to the people of the Man-Village. The hyena laughs in response and tells that he sometimes dreams of being a tiger, only to wake up as a hyena. He's insinuating this way that Mowgli can pretend to be a wolf all he likes, he will always have the body of a human.
  • Obliviously Evil: Lockwood is an Egomaniac Hunter who hunts for sport, but is generally a decent man who takes good care of Mowgli. It's not his fault one of his most prized trophies happens to be Mowgli's best friend.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: When Lockwood talks to Mowgli about how he killed Bhoot, he thinks he is describing a wonderful hunt (though in real life, hunting juvenile animals is seen as deeply unethical and unsportsmanlike at best, and is illegal in several countries and hunting clubs), utterly unaware that he is effectivly describing the last moments of someone Mowgli saw as a brother. Of course, Mowgli doesn't understand his words, but probably gets the tone of his voice.
  • Oh, Crap!: Shere Khan visibly realizes he is in serious trouble when Kaa enters the temple to come to Mowgli's rescue. And again when the elephants turn up to help Mowgli get his revenge.
  • Panthera Awesome: Unsurprisingly, Bagheera and Shere Khan, two of the most fearsome cats the jungle has to offer.
  • Parting-Words Regret: Not outright said, but is heavily implied to go through Mowgli's mind when he finds out Bhoot got killed some time after he had only said hurtful things to him.
  • Physical God:
    • Hathi the elephant is described by Word of God as a god-like being who rules the jungle. He is gigantic and covered in vegetation.
    • Kaa, a truly gigantic python is said to be as old as the jungle itself, and able to see the past and the future. Shere Khan faces off against both Baloo and Bagheera at once, but as soon as Kaa turns up he backs off at once.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: Mowgli cries this out to Bagheera when the latter tells him to stay with the humans and leaves.
  • The Pollyanna: Bhoot. No matter how much abuse he gets from the other wolves, he never loses his cheerful attitude and genuinely loves Mowgli. Which makes Mowgli's anger at him and his eventual death the more heartbreaking.
  • Predation Is Natural: Bagheera explains to Mowgli that hunting is the predators' right by the Law of the Jungle, but hunting for sport is forbidden. The predators always look at their dying prey in the eye so that their soul passes on peacefully.
  • Protagonist Title: The original Kipling Jungle Book was actually an anthology of separate stories with Mowgli's being only one of them. The film is one of the few adaptations that reflects this, naming the film simply Mowgli.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: During the Running of the Pack, Bagheera assumes an antagonistic role, attacking the young wolves. Those he manages to catch fail the running.
  • Punched Across the Room: The last we see of Lockwood is him being sent flying when struck by a blow from Hathi's trunk.
  • Red Right Hand: Shere Khan's front right paw is an almost literal example, being withered and darker than the rest of his body.
  • Rite of Passage: The Running of the Pack, during which the young wolves need to prove that they are strong and fast enough to become hunters and full-right members.
  • Rump Roast: When Tabaqui is stealing offered food from one of the village's statues, he accidentally gets his tail on fire and jumps into the river to extinguish it. Mowgli sees this and first learns about fire from the hyena.
  • The Runt at the End: Bhoot appears to be an albino runt that is bullied by the bigger wolves.
  • Sadist: This version of Shere Khan has no justification for breaking the Law of the Jungle and hunting man and their cattle other than the sheer pleasure of tasting their bloodnote .
  • Scary Scorpions: Baloo allows one of these to crawl over Mowgli's body as part of his training, to teach the boy remain completely still - if he moves a muscle, he'd get stung by the scorpion.
  • Scavengers Are Scum: Tabaqui, the striped hyena who follows Shere Khan and acts as a pest for the rest of the jungle.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Tabaqui leaves Shere Khan and runs off when Hathi and the other bull elephants come to help Mowgli.
  • Seers: Kaa is apparently able to see the past and the future of the jungle and recognize Mowgli's part in that.
  • Serkis Folk: A given, considering who's directing and starring. All animals are created with performance capture, incorporating the actors' facial movements.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: When Shere Khan claims that he has the right to kill the boy simply for devouring his parents (all the while ignoring the fact that he violated the Jungle Law by killing man in the first place), Nisha furiously snaps at him.
    "Your right according to whose law?!"
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: When Akela calls Shere Khan out for trespassing on Council Rock, Khan arrogantly tells the wolf off.
    "Well, I think you will find I stay where I please."
  • Sinister Scraping Sound: When Shere Khan drags his crippled foreleg, his claws make this sound.
  • Slasher Smile: Shere Khan bares a blood-curling one when he tells Mowgli how he has grown.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: She's not villainous this time, still, Kaa makes quite an unsettling appearance in the movie. If the character follows the book's version, you will know why. Heaven help you if you piss her off, because nothing in the jungle will. Incorporating Cate Blanchett's facial features on a snake's head adds an Uncanny Valley effect that makes her look even more unsettling.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • None of the Bandar-log are eaten (or hypnotized, for that matter) by Kaa when she rescues Mowgli from them. Although two of them get caught in Kaa's coils as she defends Mowgli.
    • Tabaqui escapes during the final battle, whereas in the book he was killed by one of Mowgli's wolf brothers after being interrogated on Khan's whereabouts.
  • The Speechless:
    • The monkeys do not talk in this movie. Interestingly, the 2016 Disney movie made the same artistic choice, where King Louie is the only Bandar-log who can talk.
    • Also similar to the 2016 Disney movie, Hathi and the elephants do not speak.
    • Rann the kite also doesn't speak, instead crying out while flying overhead.
  • Sssssnake Talk: Kaa, when she's angered.
    Kaa: Let the man cub alone! He belongsss to ussssss!
  • Tap on the Head: Mowgli hit his head on a rock when the monkeys were carrying him to Shere Khan.
  • Taxidermy Is Creepy: Mowgli is a little disturbed when he finds Lockwood's collection of taxidermied animals. Then his disturbance turns into utter shock and horror when he sees Bhoot among them.
  • Trailers Always Lie:
    • Andy Serkis' Behind The Scenes Featurette shows Bagheera attacking Mowgli and a fight between Baloo and Bagheera. Turns out Bagheera only pretends to attack Mowgli as part of "The Running", while he and Baloo have more of a scuffle over their opinions over Mowgli and aren't fighting to seriously hurt each other. The "Always Lie" part comes from the context not really appearing in the trailers.
    • The trailers also make it look like Kaa will undergo Adaptational Villainy just like Disney (she doesn't).
  • Truer to the Text: While the 2016 film was a remake of the 1967 Disney classic, this movie is an actual adaptation of Kipling's works, and aims to be closer to the source material than any other adaptation. Tabaqui and Messua, who are often Adapted Out, have roles, Shere Khan has a limp, Mowgli does not have an easy time adjusting to humankind and ends up going back to the jungle, Baloo is a teacher, Bagheera used to live with humans, and Kaa is wise and definitely not a villain.
  • The Un-Smile: Due to Shere Khan being a tiger whenever he smiles it looks more like he is baring his fangs. Due to him also being the main antagonist, it brings anything but joy.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Seeing that the wolves that sided with Shere Khan are challenging Akela and are about to kill him, Mowgli runs to the Man-Village, steals a burning branch, and defends Akela with it. Instead of gratitude, the old wolf feels dishonor that he was defended by Man's weapon, and exiles Mowgli.
  • Vile Villain, Laughable Lackey: Shere Khan is an enormous tiger who is genuinely threatening despite his crippled foreleg, and is a sadist who breaks the Jungle Law just for his own pleasure. Tabaqui is a snivelling, cowardly hyena who always stays in Khan's shadow and runs at the first sign of danger.
  • Wham Shot: Mowgli adapts well to life in the village, but one day comes over the hunter's room where he pauses in horror at one of the hunted, decapitated animals: Bhoot.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: When Grey Brother returns to Mowgli so he could inform him of what is happening to the pack, he mentions some members now work for Shere Khan and are attacking those still loyal to Akela. These wolves aligned with Shere Khan never show up in the climax of the movie and it is unknown if they were ever even dealt with.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After Bagheera spoils Mowgli's chance to pass the Running of the Pack, Baloo calls him out, for the bear is sure the man-cub could have passed the Running. Bagheera defends himself by saying that Mowgli can be safe from Shere Khan nowhere else but the Man-Village. The bear and the panther come to blows, with Baloo accusing the panther of thinking he's the only one who cares about Mowgli, while Bagheera accuses the bear of seeing only his performance as a teacher and not the big picture. They stop only after Bhoot comes to tell them that Mowgli has been captured by the Bandar-log.
  • Wild Card: The Bandar-log are described as being a chaotic people, not possessing nor obeying any laws, and thus being very dangerous in their own right. This is accentuated by making them the The Speechless. They eventually side with Shere Khan.
  • Wise Serpent: Being a Truer to the Text adaptation of The Jungle Book, Kaa is presented this way. Described as being as old as the jungle itself, she is an impossibly large python; whilst revered and feared by all the inhabitants (even Shere Khan), she is nevertheless a wise, gracious, and strong-willed figure, who desires peace throughout the jungle. She likewise has the power to see the future and the past, and even serves as the film's narrator.

Alternative Title(s): Jungle Book Origins, Mowgli Legend Of The Jungle