Buy and watch it here!
I never saw the original Jungle Book, so I'll leave someone else to do the "Well, the original was sooooo much better" blog post. This Jungle Book was amazing. And the wolves were the good guys! Not the villains! Whoo-hoo!
Speaking of villains, Shere Khan ranks right up there with Shan Yu, Scar and Judge Claude Frollo (my personal top 3) in terms of best Disney villains. He's vicious, smart, and relentless. But the creepiest scene was when he was hanging out with the wolves, and he was gentle and kind to the cubs, telling them stories about the other creatures of the jungle. And the next minute, he goes back to being scary and you're wondering if he's going to eat one of those cubs.
Mowgli is a little smartass, which is awesome, and Bagheera and Baloo make my favorite dynamic duo of the year.
One of the smaller things I really like about this movie is that Mowgli gets beat up and bruised and bloodied...and you see it. Disney doesn't hide the fact that this kid's getting the crap kicked out of him from a hard jungle life. You're not going to come out of that smelling like roses. So, yay, accuracy! (Or at least as much accuracy as you can get in a movie that has talking predators who care for a baby human.)
The movie starts with a drought that is so bad a jungle-wide truce is called; drinking comes before eating, so no hunting at the watering hole. Mowgli, the wolves who raise him, Bagheera, and everyone else goes to get a drink, and we see Mowgli getting scolded by the alpha wolf Akela for "tricks" (inventions), since they're not the wolf way (they weren't clued into the fact that Mowgli makes a pretty bad wolf by the lack of fur, lack of snout, and not running on all fours).
A scary-ass tiger with a burned face named Shere Khan also shows up, and when he sees Mowgli he says, "Uh, no, as soon as this peace is over I'm going to kill you because I'm a dick and I hate everything."
Yeah, I'd be pissed at the world, too, if I had a face like that...
The rains return, and all the wolves argue over what to do with Mowgli, because Shere Khan is crazy and they don't want to die. Mowgli solves the problem for them by leaving. (And that good-bye scene with his mom...I'm not crying! I'm sweating. Through my eyes.)
Bagheera starts leading Mowgli to the human village, but they get separated by Shere Khan, who loses Mowgli. So Shere Khan goes to the wolves, asking where Mowgli's going. Shere Khan's real chill about it, all, "Hey, you know that human you guys raised? Yeah, can you let me know where he's at?" And Akela's like, "Naw, we don't know. He left, so he's not our problem."
And Shere Khan snaps and kills Akela.
Is it a spoiler saying that a Disney movie kills off a major parental figure? I don't think so...
Anyway, Mowgli runs into Kaa the snake, who tries to eat him. But gets her butt kicked by Baloo, the bear sloth. Baloo wants Mowgli to get him some honey on the cliffs, which Mowgli does, gets stung a hundred times by the bees (which Baloo failed to mention), and leaves. Baloo catches up and leads him to the village, then convinces him to stick around for a little while and fetch him more honey while honing Mowgli's "tricks" (this marks Baloo as the first person in Mowgli's life who appreciates and encourages Mowgli's inventive talent).
So Mowgli stays and stockpiles a bunch of honey for Baloo. Shere Khan continues to be a dick (see above, that creepy scene with the wolf pups). Bagheera finally catches up to Mowgli and gets pissed at Baloo for keeping Mowgli in the jungle.
Then Mowgli gets kidnapped by a bunch of monkeys, who take him to King Louie. King Louie wants Mowgli to give him fire (the "red flower") in exchange for protection, but Mowgli doesn't know how to make fire and also, Louie's basically saying, "Hey, wanna be my slave for all eternity, making fire when I want to destroy my enemies, and I might not kill you?"
@King Louie: I'll give you fire, if you give me running water. And antibiotics for all these cuts and bruises, because we live in the f***ing jungle and if these get infected then I'm dead. No? Then no deal.
Bagheera and Baloo get Mowgli out, but during the escape, Louie tells Mowgli about Akera's death. Mowgli's pissed, and decides he's going to fight Shere Khan with fire.
...and burns half of the jungle down.
By accident, of course. And Shere Khan thinks this means Mowgli's alienated himself from everyone in the jungle. But in a moment of classic Disney solidarity, the wolf pack, Baloo, and Bagheera stand together and hold off Shere Khan (who kicks all of their asses) while Mowgli thinks of a plan.
Mowgli lets Shere Khan chase him into the burning jungle, sets a trap for him, and Shere Khan dies a run-of-the-mill Disney death by falling from a very high place into fire. Then a bunch of elephants come and put out the fires.
And...that's pretty much it. It's a good movie; the above sarcasm doesn't do it justice. So go see it for yourself! There's even a handy little link right below this to help you out. :P
Watch The Jungle Book here!
Thanks for reading! :)