Netflix's Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle movie is much darker than the traditional Jungle Book story people are used to, and perhaps too dark for kids to watch. Getting Andy Serkis' Jungle Book movie, Mowgli, in front of audiences has been a long and arduous journey for the actor and filmmaker. Years ago, Warner Bros. announced plans to develop a live-action Jungle Book movie that would be a much more faithful adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's iconic novel, but Disney beat them to the punch.
In the time it took WB to develop Mowgli's script and then put the movie into production, using motion-capture technology and techniques pioneered by the mo-cap legend himself, Disney overtook WB and released Jon Favreau's live-action remake of their animated Jungle Book movie in 2016. And as people would expect, Favreau's Jungle Book was a rousing success, which negated the need for Serkis' version, despite it being a different type of story altogether. And so, WB unloaded Mowgli to Netflix, and it's finally releasing this weekend - but is it something that families, specifically children, should all be watching together?
In short, probably not. Mowgli isn't a bad movie (read Screen Rant's Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle review HERE), and it's something that Kipling fans may enjoy more than Disney's animated and live-action musical films. However, on a fundamental level, Mowgli is too dark for kids. And for families who are expecting another lively adventure story with funny-talking animals and singing bears will be disappointed when they start to see what Mowgli's story represents and how it's portrayed to audiences.
What's interesting is that the first half of Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle is mostly a cartoony story one that audiences have perhaps come to expect from a movie like this. But about midway through the film is when things take a turn. Mowgli's self-exploration into finding his place in the jungle's hierarchy as well as in the world of men is harrowing, and something that may result in shock amongst families who are watching with children. Mowgli also touches upon darker themes - such as poaching and the brutish nature of the jungle - all of which are core to the film's story but still stand out from what audiences may be expecting
Additionally, it's worth noting that death is very much a part of Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, but it's not so much depicting death as a part of life as much as it is the gruesome part of death; murder, hunting, and torture are all pillars of Mowgli's story, especially during the latter half of the film. Furthermore, the movie even reminds viewers of what's happening, just in case they aren't aware of it. (This particular point is evident in a scene involving both Mowgli and John Lockwood.) Perhaps the most shocking part is when Mowgli sets up a dark moment in which audiences are cued into cheering for - but not everyone may do that. Overall, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle is too dark for kids, but it's something that could result in a more holistic understanding of Kipling's original story.
- Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (2018) release date: Dec 07, 2018