My 5-year-old and I carried on our tradition in screening the new Disney flick earlier this week, this time watching The Jungle Book. We got dressed in our best animal print and went in ready for anything.
I’m just going to come out and say it: This movie was the most kid-friendly movie we’ve seen from Disney in a while. Here’s why: It was very easy for children to understand and the action scenes were pretty predictable. The animated classic was the last movie Walt Disney oversaw and I think the directors of this movie really wanted to stay true to that, and keep this fun for kids.
You know I’m a huge Disney Animation fan, and I loved Zootopia and it’s message. But the underlying tone about racism, and inspiring message about acceptance seemed more for older kids and adults. I loved The Good Dinosaur (it’s my son’s favorite) but it was pretty intense. Inside Out was deserving of all of those awards, but it was DEEP. The language, humor, even the songs (YES, SONGS, FINALLY!) in The Jungle Book was all for the kids and we loved it!
A lot of people have been asking me the same question: “Is The Jungle Book too scary for kids?” The live action adaptation seems intense from the previews and I even had to prep my daughter to let me know if she thought it was too scary. But I think the fact that the movie loosely follows the Animated original helps.
Sher Khan is a mean tiger, no surprise there. King Louie is a giant orangutan that wants fire from Mowgli and he gets pretty upset when he doesn’t give it to him. We knew that. Without giving too much away, there are some fight scenes between the animals, and a startling moment where where the tiger jumps from the tall grass, but if you’ve seen the previews you’ve seen that moment and to be honest it didn’t surprise me nearly as much as a startling scene in Zootopia. The 3D aspect of the movie does make him seem like he’s jumping AT you, so you may opt for the 2D version if you think that would scare your child.
The fight scene at the end is a similar to the animated movie so you know what happens to Baloo and that could scare your kids.
When we arrived and sat down the movie poster on the screen showed the main characters from the film, and Lil’ J was a little nervous before it started, but once the movie got going she was fine.
Right from the get go we’re laughing at a silly talking animal in the opening scene and throughout the movie both my daughter and I chuckled at numerous parts, mostly from the silly Baloo. All of the talking animals reminded me so much of my favorite movie, The Lion King, and I couldn’t stop smiling about it.
Maybe we didn’t find it as scary because we were expecting it to be scary. And maybe the animated movies seem extra scary because we’re expecting them to be something off Disney Junior. Either way, I thought it was much more kid-friendly than I expected, but still enjoyable for adults.
That said, you put ANY Disney movie, animated or not, on a huge screen in a dark room, with surround sound and some kids are going to be scared. It’s a completely different ballgame when Scar, or Ursula or Sher Kahn is being seen from a movie theater. So know your kids and how they may react. I didn’t notice any kids in our showing upset or walking out.
Bill Murray was PERFECT for the role of Baloo. While we’re talking about actors, oh man, I could go on and on. I loved the cast! I fell in love with Bagheera, Sir Ben Kingsley was great as this warm character (I literally told my daughter I wanted a panther on our way home) and over and over I was so impressed by Neel Sethi’s portrayal of Mowgli.
This is the kid’s FIRST movie and he’s out there acting with some green screens and puppets. Not to mention all of the action scenes, running and jumping all over the place. He’s adorable, and though to me he came across a bit over-the-top with some of the lines, I think it made it that much better for my daughter, who acts the exact same way.–Dramatic!
I also loved Lupita Nyong as the motherly Raksha. AH! I could go on and on but here’s a clip highlighting all the awesomeness in the cast:
But enough about my thoughts, here’s my 5-year-old’s Jungle Book review in interview form.
Q: What did you think of The Jungle Book?
A: It was too good… I liked the funny parts. The funny parts were really funny. And I liked it when there was a character who sang. I liked the songs very much.
Q: Do you feel like you understood the movie?
A: Yes, very much. I understood like every word.
Q: Who was your favorite character?
A: Baloo, because he was kind of funny and he makes up a lot of funny parts.
Q: Did you think it was going to be scary?
A: A little.
Q: Would it be too scary for your little brother? (He just turned 3)
A: A little. Because there’s a tiger in it and my brother is scared of tigers. It’s a very mean tiger.
Q: Do you think 5 year olds would be scared of the movie?
A: No not at all, why would they say that? Because I saw it and I wasn’t even scared. 6 year olds will not even think it’s scary a bit!
Q: What about 4-year-olds?
A: A little. But 4 and a half no way Jose!
Q: Which did you think was scarier, The Jungle Book or Zootopia?
Q: Was there any good lesson you learned from the movie?
A: Yes, I learned to be yourself and be creative. And never bring a red fire to a jungle when a tiger is around.
Q: Which Jungle Book did you like more?
A: The new one.
A: Because there were lots of different parts and I liked it a lot when the funny parts were so funny that they get stuck in my brain.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say about the movie?
A: Yes, the snake told a story and I liked it.
Q: Would you recommend your friends go and see The Jungle Book?
A: Yes, because it’s a really good movie. Families will have fun together.
So there you have it! An honest take from a 5-year-old and her mama. You know your kids better than I do, so take it as you will. As for her little brother, I think he would enjoy it because all of the animals (he especially loves elephants which make a couple appearances in this film) and the music. I don’t think it would be too scary for him (this is a kid who I caught watching the top 10 death scenes from Jurassic Park on Youtube). But I’ll bring him to see it in 2D just in case. I’ll come back and update this post after we do!
Have you seen the movie yet or are you planning to? What did you think?
Like our Jungle Book movie review? Check out our Mommy and Me Zootopia Review, and come back for more Disney movie reviews each month!