jueves, 13 de febrero de 2014

The Jungle Book: Kipling vs Disney

A boy raised in the jungle by a loving wolf pack, who hangs out with a wise black panther and a bear who loves to sing and dance (besides caring for the kid as if he were his own son), and even BEATLE VULTURES, for God's sake! What could possibly go wrong? :D

The original "Jungle Book" was a short-story by Rudyard Kipling, a man with surprisingly little tolerance for anything resembling Disney magic.
In Kipling's version, when Mowgli decides to return to polite society, polite society isn't so certain it wants him back. The village Mowgli tries to return to in the short story re-banishes him to the wilderness, and the family that was kind enough to take him in gets tortured as sorcerers. 
In response, Mowgli recruits Hathi the Elephant for help. But the thing is, the book's Hathi isn't the cuddly, forgetful old Major of the film. 
No, he's a bloodthirsty, scarred old elephant who likes nothing more than seeking revenge on humans for an old wound he received in a spike pit. The "help" Mowgli gets from his old friend is in destroying the entire goddamned village. That's right. The lovable kid protagonist whose goofy antics you grew up laughing at recruits his elephant friend to, along with Bagheera and a bunch of wolves, storm in and raze the freaking village to the ground. 

All the houses get stomped into dust, supplies are destroyed, the wolves chase away the cattle and good old Bagheera kills the horses. Damn, we're thinking this franchise is due for a gritty reboot.

Rather tragic, isn't it? Well, I strongly recommend you look up the original story. Why? Well, this is what I found in this website. If you miss the book, you'll surely be missing out on an exceptional novel that reflects and criticizes humanity itself:

Relationships and events related in The Jungle Book are important to any human being, including adult men and women, with or without families. While the tales can be read, or children may listen to them from an older reader, these stories need to be re-read later, in high school, and again in later adult life. They are enjoyable in every subsequent reading and the longer one lives, the broader is the frame of reference one has against which to draw the stories into perspective. 

The Kipling stories offer a marked perspective of a reminder of human origins and history as well as animal. As the Native American and other Indigenous Peoples often state: All are related under one sky. A reading of The Jungle Book at age 90 will reach several more levels of meaning than a childhood reading and both are just as brilliant an experience. The stories can be shared inter-generationally, with interpretations shared by all. The book is a group of stories that are actually quite good for “Grandparents in the School” types of family literacy programs of the current day.

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