Australian Council on Children and the Media

Jungle Book, The

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Short takes

Not recommended under 5, PG to 7 (Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Jungle Book, The
  • a review of Jungle Book, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 15 August 2013.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to scary scenes
Children aged 5 to 7 Parental guidance recommended due to scary scenes
Children 7 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Jungle Book, The
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 78 minutes minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Disney’s animated adventure film The Jungle Book opens with Bagheera the panther (voice of Sebastian Cabot) discovering a baby boy named Mowgli (voice of Bruce Reitheman) abandoned in the Indian jungle. Bagheera rescues the “man-cub” and takes him to a family of wolves, who adopt Mowgli into their pack.

Ten years later Mowgli, now a young boy well adapted to living life in the jungle, is still living with his wolf pack family.  But when the tiger Shere Khan (voice of George Sanders), who has a hatred for humans, returns to Mowgli’s part of the jungle, Mowgli’s wolf parents decide that it is no longer safe for Mowgli to stay in the jungle and that Mowgli must be sent away to a human village. Feeling responsible for Mowgli, Bagheera volunteers to take him.

On the way to the village, Mowgli has a number of misadventures involving a hypnotic python named Kaa (voice of Sterling Holloway), a herd of elephants on a dawn patrol, a care free bear named Baloo (voice of Phil Harris), and a band of monkeys lead by an aristocratic orang-utan named King Louie (voice of Louis Prima).

Eventually Mowgli finds himself confronting Shere Khan the tiger.           

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Abandonment; family; jungle animals

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

For the most part, the film contains slapstick violence and mild accidental injury involving a variety of jungle animals. However, the film does contain a couple of scenes depicting some menace and peril and one scene at the end involving an intense fight between large jungle animals that may scare young children. Examples include:   

  • animals discuss how Shere Khan the tiger has sworn to kill Mowgli the man-cub, and we hear a large snake describe Mowgli as delicious. 
  • a large bear slaps Mowgli on the bottom, the force of the slap sending Mowgli crashing into a fallen log
  • Mowgli punches a large bear in the jaw and the bear pretends to fall to the ground in a comical manner
  • a large bear runs headfirst into a tree, the force of the blow nearly knocking him unconscious and later he falls down a cliff  and a large boulder lands on his head
  • Kaa, a large python, has hypnotic eyes that swirl around like spirals. The python uses his eyes to hypnotise Mowgli into a trance with the python then coiling his tail and body around Mowgli’s body, neck and throat. We hear the python make a threatening comment about Mowgli not being around in the morning and see the python opening his mouth wide as if about to consume Mowgli; the python is stopped by another animal.   
  • an ancient ruin crashes down on top of an orang-utan and a bear but both are uninjured.
  • after a fight with a group of monkeys, a panther and a bear both have black eyes. 
  • Shere Khan uses his extended claws to threaten Mowgli , telling Mowgli he should be afraid
  • Mowgli, a bear and a panther engage in an intense fight with Shere Khan the tiger. The tiger chases Mowgli in a threatening manner. Mowgli hits the tiger with a stick. The tiger claws the bear, tries to strangle him and bites him. A flaming tree branch is tied to the tiger’s tail causing him to panic and run away. At the end of the fight the bear is seen lying unmoving on the ground and is thought to be dead until he wakes up and appears uninjured.              

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Kaa the python is a scary character with hypnotic eyes
  • One scene depicts a tiger stalking a deer; the deer is frightened off when a herd of marching elephants pass by.
  • Shere Khan is scary with long extended claws and a threatening appearance.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be scared by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Nothing of concern

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

None of concern in the film, but plenty of associated merchandise

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • When a young girl mildly flirts to gain Mowgli’s attention, Baloo the bear says “forget about those (girls) they’re nothing but trouble”.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • We see a brief glimpse of Mowgli’s buttock when Baloo the bear tugs at his loincloth.
  • A young girl flirts with Mowgli, fluttering her eyelashes and pretending to drop a water container to gain his attention. 

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

The film contains some mild humorous name calling that young children may imitate. Examples include:

  • “old girl:, “little britches (used several times)”, “stupid jungle bum”, “iron Paws”, “old Baggy”, “flat nosed freak”, flea picking”, “hot head”, scatter-brained”, “skinny little shrimp”, “big oaf”, “mingy fools”, “big fraud”  

In a nutshell

The Jungle Book is a digitally restored version of the classic Disney family adventure. The film contains some catchy songs, great character voices and lots of humour and slapstick comedy. However, it does feature some menacing characters, scary scenes and one intense fight that may disturb young children. It may be therefore too scary for under 5s and parental guidance is recommended for 5 to 7 year olds.

The main message from this movie is that having friends and family is the most important thing in life. Many of the animals make sacrifices to either care for or protect Mowgli. Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther are willing to sacrifice their lives to protect him. 

Parents may wish to discuss Shere Kahn the tiger’s fear and hatred of humans. What made Shere Kahn fear them? Was his fear justified? Was this an accurate representation of how wild animals respond towards humans?

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