If you and your kids are expecting Baloo to sing goofy songs with Mowgli in Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, you’ll be very disappointed. This dark adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book is anything but cute and cuddly. Mowgli (Rohan Chand) is raised by wolves with some added help from Bagheera (Christian Bale) and Baloo (Andy Serkis) after his mother is killed by Shere Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch). That sounds nearly identical like Disney’s The Jungle Book, but the movies diverge from there. Right before the movie was released in theaters, it was slapped with a PG-13 rating.
The CGI/motion-capture animals in Andy Serkis’s Mowgli are creepy… to put it nicely. They look like a weird animal-human hybrid. Some of their facial features, especially in Balloo and Bagheera’s faces, are way too human. That’s already unsettling. Once you get past their nightmarish faces, you’ll notice that they’re covered in scars. Shere Khan walks with a limp because his right paw is deformed.
It’s a bleak movie that focuses on the realities of the jungle, which is not really what parents are expecting to see when they watch The Jungle Book. The animals viciously fight each other. Mowgli hunts with his wolf family. He’s violently beaten up on multiple occasions and is locked up in a cage. He contends not only with the fearsome Shere Khan, but also a big game hunter named John Lockwood (Matthew Rhys) Lockwood is seeking more trophies for his wall. Mowgli wields a knife and he certainly isn’t afraid to throw it, aiming to maim and injure. Everything gets bloody.
There’s a reason why this movie is only in theaters for a few weeks. It was clearly pitched as a dark—but still, family-friendly–version of The Jungle Book, but somewhere along the way “family-friendly” got lost in the shuffle.
It’s just not worth braving the PG-13 rating with your kids—unless they already watch PG-13 movies all the time.
Mowgli is out in theaters now. It’ll be released on Netflix December 7th.