REG ON: The Jungle Book

Article published on May 18, 2016.

Many moons ago when I was a mere stripling, I had the undiluted pleasure of reading Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book. I still have the copy here. Later, when I joined the Boy Scouts/Wolfcub   movement, the various names further cemented themselves into my memory. I admit that I quite enjoyed the film from 1948 featuring the young Sabu as Mowgli.

I went further with my reading of Kipling’s books, Kim, or Rikki Tikki Tavi, names that I recall with great fondness today. I have quite a collection of Kipling books now, I grant you these books are not read by myself much these days, but I still remain enamoured by the different stories. I grew up, married and children appeared, I took great delight in introducing them to Kipling and others, but then the film from Disney hit the cinemas.

To say a mere cartoon, that lasts for something like two hours is a brilliant idea is not my way of thinking. Yes, it has a catchy soundtrack, but little is respectfully displayed to the memory of the author. I say this because I seriously believe that not many people even know where the story originally came from these days. I know the book has talking animals etc, but to lampoon these characters is distasteful in my eyes. We now have yet another money train from Disney, the updated Jungle Book with its mix of cheap and tawdry CGI generated casting, voiced by eminent actors and actresses and imbued with a real person as Mowgli. Dare I suggest this rendition is ‘dumbed’ down to such an extent that it leaves no space for personal imagination anymore, It’s all done for you now electronically. I rebel against the concept of paying folk, sitting there, mouths agape, stuffing overpriced popcorn into their faces as they lose two hours of their lives staring at a screen. Where is any personal imagination in that??

I imagine that Disney Inc is laughing all the way to the bank today, but not with any of my money they are not. I can recline at home, comfortable in my chair, read the storybooks again anytime, and dream of imaginary events as I would like them to be, and not as some computer geek reckons it should be done.

Reg Seward


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