Quick Movie Review: The Jungle Book (1967)

jungle book

The Jungle Book is one of those movies that we seem to remember in glimpses. We know the musical numbers and all the characters, but unless we’ve seen it as an adult, we can’t quite remember exactly what happens.

But we know it’s iconic. We know it’s a Disney classic. However, this film may have benefitted from being a tad bit longer. There are too many characters we’d love to see more of and so many chances to build up the depths of our leads.

Although I do like this movie a great deal for nostalgia’s sake, I wouldn’t constitute it as one of Disney’s best. The songs are top notch, and the characters are memorable, but it’s missing a lot of heart compared to the studio’s gems of the same era.

When Mowgli leaves his wolf family at the beginning of the film, there is no heartfelt goodbye. These are the creatures who raised him, and he barely bats an eye as Bagheera leads him on his way to the “man village” to escape the tiger, Shere Khan, who’s trying to kill him. And without giving anything away, there are also a couple of key scenes towards the end that should have given us a little more sentiment.

Which leads me to the voice of Mowgli. The kid playing him has no feel or emotion. It sounds as though he’s simply reading the lines (or having them read to him) straight off the paper. It’s our main character, and his voice lacks any true conviction.

Granted, this was released in 1967, a year that marks, for many, the beginning of Disney’s “dark period”. It’s still a beloved movie, and rightfully so. It’s filled with some iconic scenes. The one with King Louie, for example. It’s so good, you wish you had been treated with just a few more glimpses of the antihero.

It’s the darker, more twisted, tone that drives this film the most between the catchy musical sequences. It encompasses the jungle-feel very precisely, and transcends through from Rudyard Kipling’s original source material, despite Walt trying to prevent it. Everywhere Mowgli turns, there’s someone out to kill him.

I know it sounds like I’m berating this film a lot, but I actually love The Jungle Book. It’s one that I watched often as a kid and one that still makes me smile as I watch it as an adult. Luckily, this film won’t face many new critics as mostly everyone has seen it by the time they are old enough to care. That’s one of the beautiful things about these old epitomes of animation.

Twizard Rating: 90

Quick Movie Review: The Graduate

graduate

I understand the social commentary of The Graduate, and I can even relate to Ben’s state of confusion after graduating college, but I can’t say that the events following are appropriate enough given the context.

This film’s biggest mistake isn’t a mistake really at all. It is the fact that it’s extremely dated. Perhaps The Graduate is historically significant, but it just doesn’t hold up well at all. While deeply analyzing this film you can’t deny that it’s pretty smart, but that analysis must only come after understanding the perspective of the times–that is, the generation gap and the confusion of growing up in the ’60s. And it’s even unsure as to whether that acuity is intentional or not. The Graduate may have been relevant and sensible in 1967, but in this day and age it doesn’t seem so.

Another fault, which is a bit more tangible, lies within the characters. Their rationales don’t make much sense. The film is made up of a cacophony of decisions that should be labeled as farce, but are taken way too seriously to even be considered as such. Elaine has to be the most annoying character. While she isn’t a terrible person, it doesn’t make any sense why she’s in love with Ben and why she’s so understanding towards him after thinking that he raped her mother. And apparently Ben and Elaine are in love with each other after one date–and not even a very good one at that. There is no affable character in this entire film. They all make you feel uncomfortable. And I have a hard time enjoying a film that gives me nobody to like or sympathize with.

This is an example of a movie that isn’t a sum of its parts. There are many good scenes, but together they don’t add up to an enjoyable experience. It doesn’t feel like a story so much as a series of events that don’t fit together seamlessly. Although stylistically even, the tone seems to be unset.

There just simply isn’t any redeeming value to this film whatsoever, and I can’t say that I like it. Not to mention, he keeps driving on the Bay Bridge for no reason.

Twizard Rating: 64