Is The Jungle Book too Scary for Kids? A 5-Year-Old’s Review

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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.

Is jungle book too scary for kids? 5-year-old review

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!

Is jungle book too scary for kids? 5-year-old review

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.

jungle book poster

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.

jungle book panther

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:

This live action version of The Jungle Book is similar enough to the original so fans of the classic will appreciate it (THANK YOU DISNEY FOR THE MUSIC!) but different enough for it to be a totally new experience. The movie added a little more depth, and a cute message about being yourself and owning your talents. I also have to add that I think the ending was better!

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.

Is jungle book too scary for kids? 5-year-old review

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?
A: 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.
Q: Why?
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?

If you saw it and loved it, or want yo help your kids get more excited about it, here are a couple of fun activity sheets to help: Jungle book spot the difference game, Jungle book maze.

Like our Jungle Book movie review? Check out our Mommy and Me Zootopia Review, and come back for more Disney movie reviews each month!


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    1. I have so many friends who say it was their favorite. I never really liked it growing up. haha. So I was excited and ready to like this one more (I did). I can’t wait to hear what you think!

  1. Thank you so much for this review! I wasn’t sure about taking my 5 year old daughter, but reading your daughters take on it was great! I think the idea of a mom and daughter review is way more helpful to me than any critics out there! Thanks again, I’m excited to take her to see it.
    -Wendy and 5 year old Madelynn

    1. Happy to hear that Wendy! Please do come back and let us know what you think! I keep replaying it over and over in my head making sure I’m not forgetting anything too scary, haha. But I think we were both just expecting it to be so much worse. I hope Madelynn and you love it as much as we did!

  2. Thanks so much for this review! My (almost) 5 year old is easily scared and I couldn’t decide if I should take her to this or not. Tomorrow is my birthday so now I know what we’ll b doing! 🙂 I love your little one’s reviews! She’s adorable!

  3. Thanks for your great review! I’ve been on the fence with my 4 year old who’s already seen (and enjoyed) some pretty scary stuff, and yes I put Zootopia in that category. She adores the original which couldn’t feel further from the trailer, but we’re off to give it a go! We’ll be back for more of your great mother/daughter reviews.

  4. Just walked out of this with our 8 and 6 year olds, who found it upsetting and frightening. The animation is amazing and the performance of the boy playing Mowgli very good but I don’t feel that this is a film for young children. I just find it rather depressing that this is what has become accepted as the norm. The trailers were for The BFG and Alice Through the Looking Glass, neither of which seemed at all appropriate for children of this age. Came home and watched the original, animated Disney. Great versions of the songs, funny, a level of violence and emotional intensity much more appropriate for young children. Everyone happier.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that Robin!

      Like I said I think w big dark loud theater and 3D movie can make any story much more scary. Lion King is my favorite but if that was released on the big screen today I’m sure many of our kids would be frightened seeing it the first time too. I mean talk about violent! Haha.

      And I’m with you. Alice Through the Looking Glass doesn’t seem as made for kids to me. But I’ve never been a huge Tim Burton fan 😉

      Thanks for sharing your feedback!! I hope it helps others decide whether or not it would be good for their kids!

  5. Fabulously written and I loved the interview of your daughter. I have been wondering about the appropriateness for my almost 5 year old. The comparison to Zootopia was so helpful to give some context.

  6. Hi –

    Thanks for such a complete review. I agree completely with your assessment of Zootopia and Inside Out (great, but deep, intense and perhaps more for an older audience). My 3 year old loves reading Jungle Book and is a big animal fan, in general – so you’ve inspired us to go see this movie.

    Keep up with the reviews, they are awesome.

  7. Sorry but I disagree. We read this so went to see the move with our 5.5year old. He was scared and asked to leave. We got up to leave but he changed his mind when a happy moment came on. We ended up watching it from the exit sitting on the ground as he could not decide it he was ok or not.
    I think these movies take on a whole new level when you are so much realness to the image. A cartoon can get away with much more that such real looking scenes. I wish we would look at protecting our children’s innocents and minds until they are ready to handle these images. Why do so many kids movies these days have so much death. Is it necessary!!!

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