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Fridge / The Jungle Book (2016)

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As a Fridge subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

Fridge Brilliance

  • Kaa's Gender Flip makes sense from a herpetological perspective; female snakes are larger and more aggressive than their male counterparts.
  • Why does Mowgli see his backstory when Kaa hypnotises him? Hypnosis is often used to access repressed memories. Mowgli is seeing his own memories of his father's death and his adoption by the wolf pack.
    • How does Kaa know Mowgli's backstory? In the book, Kaa was the oldest and wisest being in the jungle, so he just seemed to know everything. The same principle most likely applies here.
    • Alternatively, the backstory was always there in Mowgli's mind as a repressed memory — and Kaa knows it from reading his mind while hypnotizing him.
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  • Shere Khan is often accompanied by an entourage of vultures. Considering his apparent tendency to kill other animals for sport and other nefarious purposes, this makes sense: wherever the murderous tiger goes, an easy meal can't be too far behind.
  • The animals being larger than they actually are makes sense when you remember that children tend to view the world like this (i.e. things appear much larger than they seem), and the story is mostly told from Mowgli's point of view.
  • If the crowd of animals drinking at Peace Rock is any indication, Bagheera is the only panther living in that area of the jungle (we never see any others, nor does he ever mention any). This makes it very likely that he has never had a mate or cubs of his own, and perhaps never will. If that's the case, then it's actually understandable that the first thought on his mind when finding an orphaned child would be adoption rather than eating it.
    • And, also, killing man is emphatically forbidden under the jungle law (due to the threat of retribution), and Bagheera doesn't seem like the kind to break it. He, unlike Shere Khan, is not a hypocrite, after all.
      • Bagheera should not have eaten Mowgli for a couple of years thought. Clearly no human was looking for him, shouldn't there be some inverse statute of limitations? However, it makes sense that after a while the panther just grew fondly of the barely clothed child.
  • Bagheera's prejudice against human "tricks" may seem to come out of nowhere to some, but it is foreshadowed by the film's concept itself. Of course the animal responsible for bringing Mowgli to the wolf pack wouldn't be fond of human behavior- if he was, then he would have tried to return Mowgli to the man village the moment he found him rather than waiting until he grew up. Bagheera was genuinely hoping to make a wolf out of Mowgli by purposefully separating him from man.
    • It makes even more sense if Bagheera's backstory from the novel can be taken as canon, where he grew up among men in a cage. By his own admission, he has seen men doing terrible things (using their own 'tricks'). When Bagheera sees Mowgli rescuing the baby elephant, he realizes that man's (or rather Mowgli's) inventions can also be used to help others instead of just harming them. Considering that the film is more faithful to the original novels, it isn't unlikely.
    • There's a more pragmatic reason, too: as demonstrated by the huge collection of honeycombs that Mowgli gets for Baloo, humanity's tool use gives us an unfair advantage over other animals, in a similar way to fire. Taking all that honey from a place that otherwise couldn't be reached is an example of mankind upsetting the delicate balance of nature, the same reason that many species have died out or become endangered in the past, not necessarily because of malicious intent, but because we affect something else further down the food chain in one way or another. Taking all that honey, and the bees' homes with it, is still small potatoes, but Bagheera and Akela know that if Mowgli's tool-use can creates imbalance at some level of the ecosystem, it could destroy the jungle, so they try to actively discourage even mostly harmless ones like a gourd for drinking water. In some ways, these other tools are just as dangerous as the dreaded Red Flower....
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  • King Louie, the one animal who so desires the power of the "red flower" (fire), and would use malicious methods to obtain it, becomes one of the few animals to not experience its destructive power in the finale because he was buried under rubble during the wildfire. A fitting karmic punishment.
  • Shere Khan's decision to wait at the wolf den for Mowgli's return makes sense. While most predators are faster than humans at a sprint, humans (or at least hunter-gatherers, which Mowgli clearly was) are much better long-distance runners. Once Mowgli had a good head-start on the tiger, the end result of a chase would have been Khan's heart giving out from exhaustion. Plus, Shere Khan is a cat, who are built as ambush predators.
  • The elephants diverting the river at the end doesn't just put out the fire, it blocks water from entering the lake containing Peace Rock. They didn't just save the jungle, they brought peace to it as well!
  • It's never brought up in the film, but according to jungle law, attacking and killing humans is strictly forbidden (because Man is the only animal who will kill for revenge). If Shere Khan had abided by the law and simply left Mowgli and his father alone, not only would the tiger not have been left scarred and half blind, he may very well still be alive.
  • Shere Khan threatening to kill Raksha's pups isn't just a petty threat of violence. What does a male tiger do when he takes over a previous male's territory? Kills that male's cubs (the territory of a male tiger overlaps with several females). Given he had just killed Akela and taken over the pack, he's making a subtle point that, if Raksha can treat Mowgli as if he were a wolf, he can treat Raksha's pups as if they were tiger cubs.
  • While Baloo is referred to as a sloth bear, he's clearly a Himalayan brown bear. Why is he living in the jungle? He's lazy, and he doesn't like heights. So of course he'd choose to live somewhere that has easy access to food (for the most part) and is on much lower ground.
    • There's also the fact that he's called a Sloth Bear. Sloth is the sin of laziness, and Baloo is a very lazy Bear. So really, he's called a Sloth Bear not because it's his species, but because of his personality.
  • Why would the Buffalo charge into Shere Khan if they know what he's capable of and if they're already running away in fear? Unless they're trying to protect Mowgli!
    • It could have been accidental too. They were startled and stampeding,after all. This is also Truth in Television: when a herd stampedes, everything that is caught on their path goes down, even their natural predators.
    • Probably a little of both. Sure they were clearly in a panic, but one of them did allow Mowgli to grab hold of its horns when he's trying to escape from Shere Kahn and later, we see the same buffalo is carrying a sleeping Mowgli on its back without any complaint.
  • The ending of Mowgli getting to stay in the jungle instead of leaving for the man village may have been polarizing, but from a narrative standpoint it makes sense; the reason Mowgli had to leave was because Shere Khan was after him. With Shere Khan dead, Mowgli no longer has to leave because the animal that wanted him dead is gone.
    • Notably, the moment where Mowgli stares contemplatively at the silhouettes of man dancing around the fire is a cryptic moment. It tells us immediately that he doesn't honestly know how to feel about approaching these strangers.
  • The Elephants' silence. Many viewers have taken this to mean they can't talk at all, but then you remember that in real life, elephants do most of their vocalizations in a much lower range then humans can hear, so if the film is from Mowgli's perspective, then of course they would seem silent.
    • Ironically, this is the justification given by Kipling himself for why humans cannot understand (or even hear) Animal Talk: in the book, animals like panthers and wolves vocalize on a register partly outside what humans can hear (except for Mowgli, who grew up with them).
  • Bagheera sounds quite angered when he sees that Mowgli has been using his "tricks" to help Baloo. While it's clear from the start that he was never fond of said "tricks", he sounds especially angry when scolding Mowgli on that particular moment. It may be because (as it is later revealed), at this time, Bagheera already knew about Akela's death, so it's possible that he viewed Mowgli continuing with his tricks in the jungle (after Akela had previously told him to stop) as the boy disrespecting his late wolf father and what he had taught him.
  • King Louie's Adaptational Villainy makes a certain sense. After all, what is he known for more than wanting to be more like humans, and how do many of the animals see Man?
  • It might seem odd that an ape living in the jungles of India would have a New York accent but Louie comes across as a mob boss or godfather. Louie is even a stereotypical Italian-American name. His fellow apes could be considered hitmen.
  • At the water truce Bagheera is seen resting on a rock that towers over the rest of the gathered animals. Akela himself is also standing on top of one, beneath the panther, to emphasize his status as the pack's alpha. Now while it was implied that the wolf-pack rules over Seoni, in the books Bagheera was one of the lords of the jungle (next to Baloo and Shere Khan). It's never stated, wether he still holds that title in the movie, but given his status as a Reasonable Authority Figure and a mentor to Mowgli and the wolves, it would be possible. So maybe they were referencing that, by giving him a high place to observe everyone or he just likes the feeling to stay above others. Not impossible either, since he's a leopard.
  • The fact that Shere Khan often uses the Law Of The Jungle as an excuse for why Mowgli can't stay is quite hypocritical since he is known to violate it when it suits him. But like Baloo says: "Rules were made to be bent, and definitely reinterpreted."
  • One scene that often gets criticized (even by people who like the movie) is when King Louie starts singing "I Wanna Be Like You" right the fuck out of nowhere. Although what people seem to forget is that this is Christopher Walken we're talking about! Aka, a man who is usually known for doing things like that when you least expect him to. Kind of gives a bigger reason why he was cast for the role.
    • Also, regardless of his voice actor, Louie randomly breaking out into song may show just how insane he is.
  • The scene where Mowgli rescues a trapped baby elephant isn't just a showcase of Mowgli's cleverness and how he can use his "tricks" to benefit the animals, but also a Shout-Out to Rudyard Kipling's story "Toomai of the Elephants", which is about a boy who manages to earn sufficient trust from an elephant herd that they let him see one of their sacred rites — note how, afterwards, both Bagheera and Baloo are awestruck at the elephants allowing Mowgli to walk amongst them even to help one of their own, with Baloo commenting he's never seen someone get so close to an elephant before.
  • The appearance of Aladdin’s lamp in King Louie’s cave is a cool Easter egg, on the surface. But in fact, it’s a very clever gag. Lamps give off flames for light, so as part of Louie’s obsession with “the red flower” (as animals call fire) he’d steal a lamp for examining and research. The symbolism is also clear: he gets the power of the lamp, he’ll be a man/god.
    • And given how Aladdin’s lamp is the host of phenomenal cosmic power, it would have been fridge horror if he’d actually managed to get that lamp working...
  • For some, the idea of Shere Khan, a tiger, being so vengeful might seem fictional, until one remembers, though rare, that there have been stories of tigers being vengeful and hunting down the ones the subject of their revenge (One reported case was what happened to a poacher named Markov).

Fridge Horror

  • Just imagine how Mowgli's biological father must have felt on his last moments. He fought against Shere Khan to protect his son, and even managed to blind the tiger on one of his eyes but that was simply not enough. The last thing he saw in life was that ferocious tiger jump on him and prepare to deliver a fatal bite. Worst, he didn't knew that his Red Flower did manage to scare Shere Khan away before he could really notice (or harm) his son. His last thoughts could very well have been that once Shere Khan was done with him, he would go for his defenseless child next.
    • Luckily, big cat kills are pretty quick. He might not have had time to think anything along that line.
  • As the credits show, King Louie is alive and well. Now that Shere Khan is dead and thanks to his Adaptational Villainy, he is now the biggest active threat in the jungle.
    • The credits also show Shere Khan alive; they don't necessarily imply that either of them survived.
      • Though Louie is specifically seen crawling out of rubble. Shere Khan doesn't show any evidence of having been in a fire, so Louie's appearance could have more weight than his.
    • Kaa is most likely alive as well. We don't see.
    • Of course, Kaa isn't so much malicious as just a predator like any other, as opposed to the more malevolent Louie and Khan.
  • Mowgli's biological mother is never seen or mentioned throughout the entire film, so we don't know if she's alive or dead. Suppose she's alive, just imagine the horror she must have gone through, the night Shere Khan attacked. She lost both, her husband and her toddler son, never knowing Mowgli survived. In the book she's possibly alive, but then so is Mowgli's father.
    • Unless Shere Khan killed her which is why Mowgli's dad was carrying him in that sling through the jungle into the cave which normally would have been his mother's job ....
  • So, is anyone going to point out that during the water truce, and the whole film in fact, there is only one panther and one tiger?
    • Not really all that Fridge Horrific; big cats tend to have large ranges and don't usually tolerate other members of their species nearby.
    • It's also implied that other tigers do live in the jungle. When Baloo first hears about a tiger hunting Mowgli, he isn't remotely worried; his attitude only changes after he learns who said tiger is. A reason other tigers aren't seen could be that they, unlike Shere Khan, respect the jungle law. And, of course, the territory issue.
    • Considering Shere Khan's lovely personality, it's also no wonder that every other tiger nearby is staying well away from his territory.
    • The real horror here is the fact that the movie only shows one Gigantopithecus, a species that was already extinct by the time the film took place. And then, said Gigantopithecus dies.
      • Unless the events depicted in the Creative Closing Credits are canon, which show him alive. Which is Fridge Horror in and of itself given he probably still wants to learn the secret of fire.
  • When Shere Khan is telling the pups his "cuckoo bird" story, they're all sharing a bone. Considering Akela was the last character we saw him kill, that bone might have belonged to their own father.
  • What would Shere Khan have done if, hypothetically speaking, Mowgli didn't return to the wolf pack after Akela's death? While it's possible that he was completely confident that his plan would have worked and didn't even thought about this what-if scenario, what would he do if Mowgli never learned about Akela's death and thus never came back to the jungle? Would he just keep killing Mowgli's friends and adoptive family until he finally learned of it and did come straight to him, or would he tire of this strategy and opt to go after Mowgli even if he happened to be in the Man Village?
    • He might have just stuck around and continue acting as the new alpha of the wolf pack. Maybe eventually he'd track down Mowgli on his own, or perhaps he'd sic the wolves on him, leaving them the option of killing Mowgli or getting killed themselves.


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