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Wednesday
Oct182017

Happy 50th to The Jungle Book (1967) -- Who is your avatar within?

by Nathaniel R

Rudyard Kipling's collection of stories "The Jungle Book"  was first published in 1894. It's been adapted so many times now, you always have to specify which version you're talking about. The most famous and widely seen is surely Disney's 1967 animated version which opened in movie theaters 50 years ago on this very day. It's been a childhood staple for decades now with Disney only just barely trying to replace it with that inferior but wildly successful live-action CGI hybrid replica. When I was a wee toddler it was my favorite Disney movie (it's long since been replaced but holds a special place in my heart).

Today's crucial reader survey / comment party:
Which character do you most relate to... and which do you wish you were a little more like?

Let's hear from the lot of you for a wide sampling of our particular online jungle here at The Film Experience. Your options, in order of their appearance, are...

BAGHEERA
Are you a bossy worrier? Maybe that's because everyone else is so irresponsible and you have to watch out for them! You've got a big heart but you're a little stuffy. (I'll be brave and go first in this poll: I'm a bit of a Bagheera but maybe I wish I were more of a King Louie/Mowgli)

MOWGLI
Are you headstrong but kinda immature? Easily duped but brave and resilient. Always up for trying new things and highly social? Then you're Mowgli. (Or maybe you're none of those things but just like to run around naked all the time.)

KAA
You have a soooothing voice (and can do a great Winnie the Pooh impression). Can you hold a room rapt with your stories? Do you tie yourself up in knots trying to get things in your mouth?

COLONEL HATHI
So many bossy types in this jungle. Perhaps military men relate to him? 

BALOO
Don't raise your hand just because you're a gay "bear". Bears come in many personality types. Do you stay out to late and drive your more responsible friends crazy? Love dancing and eating and any hedonistic pleasures? Maybe your favorite Disney song outside of "Bare Necessities" is "Hakuna Matata"? But you're always a good time and an optimist that counts for a lot. 

KING LOUIE
In many ways you're almost a Baloo! But you're more of a bossy ringleader with a plan than a solo hedonist. And you're even crazier about bananas and dance parties. Maybe you have some envy problems, tho' -- no judgments! (This is a safe space)

SHERE KHAN
Don't dismiss the possibility that you're a Shere Khan just because he's the villain! Disney has issues with its depictions of villains, don'cha know? Yes, he's mean-spirited, jealous, and sneakily malevolent. But he's also sophisticated, intelligent, graceful, patient, sarcastically funny, and smart. Plus he's a beautiful ginger and whether or not they're going extinct, they're worth treasuring. 

VULTURES
Are you always hoping someone else will come up with the fun plans. Or maybe you're just perpetually bored. But if you are you probably haven't read this far.

SO DEAR READERS, CONFESS!

Which of these creatures is just like you and which has you singing King Louie's "I wanna be like you-oo-oo" anthem?

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Reader Comments (12)

I'm gonna own my inner Shere Khan-ness, but I try to keep it positive lol. I could stand to be more Baloo now and then.

October 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKJ

I mostly identify with Col. Hathi's wife, who puts up with her superior's pompous orders by making snide little asides to the rest of the troops. When Hathi declines to search for Mowgli, she stands up to her husband and flattens any and all of his counter-arguments. (This makes it sound like I'm married to a brute, but my husband is not at all like Col. Hathi. I've just had plenty of situations where my direct superior was Hathi-like.)

October 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCash

The animated original movie delights me from a cynical adult place because of its racial politics with monkeys being voiced by black jazz musicians pleading to replicate the behaviors of the respectable ruling class man (white). It amuses the shit out of me laughing myself to tears and gasping for air during the musical sequence.

Walt Disney's Jungle Book isn't the most racially incendiary movie but the use of monkeys as a black stand-in along with jazz scoring the sequence and pleading for acceptance by wanting to adapt to someone else's identity standards, and by the way, their whole kingdom is destroyed!

I relate to no one in this movie. Flower from Bambi when he was a gay babe for the bulk of the movie and Ursula from The Little Mermaid because she was the truth.

October 18, 2017 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Cash -- i love it.

KJ -- yes! see Shere Khan isn't all bad.

/3rtful -- so true. And sadly that tendency didn't end with this movie. but how can you not relate to any personalities within the movie? There are so many kinds!

October 18, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I am Sher Khan masquerading as Bagheera. Cat. Villain. Masquerading as a distinguished old soul. Secretly out for blood.

My cats, however, are exact stand-ins for Hiss and Prince John from Robin Hood.

October 18, 2017 | Unregistered Commentercatbaskets

A Shere Kan most likely, with an ounce of Bagheera.

October 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteve_Man

Baloo all the way! My favourite childhood film.

OT - have you seen Michelle Pfeiffer will be on Graham Norton in a couple of weeks, Nathaniel?

October 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBillyBob

I related to the Shere Khan description a little too much. Maybe I should be more Baloo care-free.

October 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterChris James

I'm pretty sure King Louie was voiced by Louis Prima, who was a white Italian-American jazz musician.

October 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCash

King Louie was based on Louis Armstrong:

The character of King Louie was written for one of the most notable figures in Jazz music, Louis Armstrong. However, Robert Sherman reportedly said that they were worried that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) would not take lightly to a black man being cast as an ape, owing to the political and civil rights climates in America during the time.

Consequently, jazz singer and bandleader Louis Prima stepped in to voice the fire-obsessed orang-utan. He was very enthusiastic about the role and even suggested killing off King Louie's character because he knew he could perform a brilliant death scene.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/education/story/the-jungle-book-facts/1/592046.html

October 18, 2017 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

i would have said vulture but i read all the way to the end so i’ll go with bagherra

unless there’s a more appropriate character for someone who’s never seen the jungle book</>?

October 18, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterpar

Well, based on those descriptions, I'm a Kaa. That's what happens when you write and teach music and theater.

October 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

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