My friend Diane took her younger grandson to see Disney’s Jungle Book and said there were quite a few adults in the audience without youngsters. So it was that on this past dreary grey Monday I selected that movie to see.
I am a huge fan of animation and of Pixar in particular, so I was a bit surprised to see that the main character, Mowgli, is a small human boy. I very nearly cringed every time he ran ferociously across the jungle floors barefooted. One doesn’t need a background of motherhood to think of all of the perils one might step, never mind run into in the wilds of such an environment. When he wasn’t running like a maniac, with good cause, he was climbing the kinds of trees I can only dream of – I’ve seen an artificial one that resembled a mini version of one of the trees in this jungle supposedly built in the likeness of a real one from Madagascar, this one was in the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. The gigantic, tangled primordial looking trees in the movie, all the work of artists.
Every time I caught my breath in one of Mowgli’s hair raising races or climbs (and there were many) all I could think of is that this was a real child and he was actually performing in front of a green screen and all of the animation was quite separate from his feats. While the scenery and animals and mostly the trees were quite beautiful, I was a little disappointed that all I could think of was the green screen and how not real it all was for me. If Mowgli had been animated too, it would have been an easier transition into imagination for me.