I have a soft spot for Rudyard Kipling’s writing. I know that it is largely imperialist nonsense, but I happen to think it’s lovely, and if there’s any period in history I admit to romanticizing heavily it is that of European Imperialism in South Asia. (I’m a little guilty of the Antebellum South too, but I got over that by high school, so I give myself the pass) Imperialism SUCKS but all that white linen striking against the jungles of India…so dreamy.
So anyway, that’s why I love Kipling, who took White Man’s burden and made it seem so stinking lovely and also has lots of cute animals (Rikki Tikki Tavi for the WIN!) (Seriously this is a deeply problematic fave of mine but like, GUYS READ GUNGA DIN! IT IS SO GOOD!) And The Jungle Book, which incidentally was the last film produced while Walt was alive, does an excellent job of translating Kipling’s sense of adventure to a new era, using jazz and a bit of rock and roll to tell the story of Mowgli The Man Cub’s exodus from the jungle.
Again, I just love the animation from this era, it’s so charming and fluid and fun. Each animal Mowgli encounters is more expressive than the last, with Baloo and Baghera offering an odd couple chemistry as his protectors that anchors the heart of the story, which is about choosing the path that’s right for yourself and those around you. The wolves are protecting themselves from Sher Khan when they cast Mowgli out and Baghera is doing what he thinks is best for Mowgli. But in his way, so is Baloo, who’s more simple way of looking at things is another path Mowgli can choose.
Of course Mowgli does return to the world of men, where he belongs and can be safe, and of course his guardians defeat the bad guy too. This is one of the best fairy tales out there, even if it doesn’t get classified as such.
Next week it’s jazz and kitties with The Aristocats! This one’s a favorite among the Disneybounding crowd and one I don’t have much nostalgia for, but given my overblown reactions to Lady And The Tramp and 101 Dalmations I’m guessing I’m going to just absolutely love it!
*On a Disney Note: I was actually supposed to be in the parks today but obviously had to cancel because of Corona. It’s for the best and am tentatively planning to go in November instead, either for the weekend after my birthday or for Fall Dapper Day before Thanksgiving. I’ll keep you all informed.