Saturday, 9 April 2016

I Have My Problems With The Film...

,,,but this ain't one of 'em!
Disney is bringing back The Jungle Book in a live-action remake, but worries over racial stereotyping that plagued the 1967 cartoon original are already making critics fret.
...
...both Kipling’s book, which was written from a British colonialist perspective, and Disney’s animated adaptation have long been criticised for their racist overtones, and critics warn that it will take more than talking animals and other visual effects to avoid offence.
They should be offended by the somewhat odd appearance of some of the animals, not to mention an orangutan in the Indian jungle (and one about the size of King Kong, judging by the trailers!) and the fact that Baloo would be a sloth bear, not whatever that's supposed to be...

This has long been a favorite book of mine, and I guess I'm going to get my wish (back in 2012) to see what modern CGI can do. And it's good, but there's something about the way the CGI animals talk that makes me uneasy.
“The first Disney Jungle Book was based on Kipling; the next one will be based on the movie, so it’ll be another generation removed from Kipling, which will help,” Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University, told Yahoo Movies.
It won't help, it'll hinder. Why not do the book justice at last? Because of fears of just this sort of knee jerk reaction, I suppose.
On the film’s release, the character of King Louie was widely criticised for connoting inequality between African-Americans and Caucasians.
 God, if I roll my eyes any harder, I think they might fall out...
Disney should perhaps have steered clear, said the Christian Science Monitor, in a damning piece following the announcement of plans to make the movie two years ago. “Why bother with this morass when there are so many other books to choose from that are as yet undiscovered by the Disney audience? Disney can afford fresher fare than a rehash of a film that will have to be so deconstructed from the original into an unrecognisable hash in order to succeed.”
And if this one is getting savaged even before release, I fear for the (presumably more closely tied to the book) version that Warner Brothers will be releasing next year.

14 comments:

The Stigler said...

The CSM are normally a good read, but I'm struggling to see what's wrong with the original film, and a lot of Disney films are a bit outdated. I think the old Princess movies are very much of their time, for instance.

Personally, I think The Jungle Book is perhaps their greatest movie. There's 4 films that I think are in a group above the rest and above most other animated movies: Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Frozen and Pinocchio. I can't choose between them because they're that great. And there's not many non-Disney films of that class. The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek, Monster's Inc and Toy Story 2. I'm also finding myself warming to Spirited Away.

Antisthenes said...

Not long before the progressive PC fascists demand books that are non PC be burned . Many of the classic were written in eras when what was seen as being morally correct then is not now. Rewriting history or airbrushing it out has long been the tradition of kings, tyrants, despots and the like. People who advocate the same now are they honestly any better than them? Besides telling it as it was warts and all enriches our knowledge and understanding of the world we inhabit and why should it offend anyone if the same is not practised now and if it does why should we care.

Being mindful of the sensitivity of others is important but there are limits when it tries the patients of the more rational and sensible of us. There is also the element of domination involved in these faux outcries against airing past human misdemeanour's. They wish to control us to make us all clones of them so that we say, think and act exactly as they dictate we should.

Ted Treen said...

"...the character of King Louie was widely criticised for connoting inequality between African-Americans and Caucasians..."

By whom? I don't remember any of that cobblers:- oh wait, we didn't have the PC and race-relations victimhood industries back then...

...neither did we attempt to rewrite history to suit the mores of the day.

Anonymous said...

Ted Treen said... "widely criticised"

Can often mean "3 loud-mouthed obsessives with an axe to grind".

Nice Mr Pierrepoint said...

The main baddie in the Jungle Book has an English accent, but guess that's not the right kind of stereotyping to get het up about. Ditto for numerous Teutonic-looking villains in Hollywood films.

Anonymous said...

I bought the original Jungle Book 3 weeks ago and watched it with my grandchildren. We had a hoot, laughing, joining in the dawn patrol, marching round the living room pretending to be elephants, booing and hissing at the snake and tiger, jumping on and off the settee acting like monkeys. Sheesh, if only I understood the racist undertones, I would never have exposed my grandchildren to it. Do you think they will recover or are they damaged beyond repair? I feel so guilty.

JuliaM said...

"...a lot of Disney films are a bit outdated."

You could just remove the word 'Disney' there...

And what's wrong with it anyway? It might show some of the Special Snowflakes that they really have nothing to whinge about these days.

"And there's not many non-Disney films of that class."

They've lead the world in animation for so long. But Dreamworks are fast catching up. Computer-assisted animation helps.

"Not long before the progressive PC fascists demand books that are non PC be burned ."

With not a trace of irony, too...

JuliaM said...

"By whom? I don't remember any of that cobblers:- oh wait, we didn't have the PC and race-relations victimhood industries back then..."

Exactly!

"Can often mean "3 loud-mouthed obsessives with an axe to grind"."

And a social media-assisted megaphone.

"Do you think they will recover or are they damaged beyond repair? I feel so guilty."

Better not let them read the book... ;)

Anonymous said...

The whyfulness is terrific!
-Hurree Jamset Ram Singh

James Higham said...

And it's good, but there's something about the way the CGI animals talk that makes me uneasy.

[Chuckles inanely to himself.]

The Stigler said...

JuliaM,

"You could just remove the word 'Disney' there... "

Absolutely.

And yes, Dreamworks, Studio Ghibli, Aardman, Disney and Pixar stand out. Cartoon Saloon in Ireland have made a couple of stunningly pretty animations too, but it's early days.

Jonathan said...

"On the film’s release, the character of King Louie was widely criticised for connoting inequality between African-Americans and Caucasians."

King Louie was played by Louis Prima - an Italian American from New Orleans.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Prima

Starship Fighter said...

Might I also recommend 'A Monster in Paris' made by a conglomeration of French film & TV companies a few years ago? I enjoyed it as much as most of Disney & Pixar's recent output and the soundtrack (in either English or French) is sublime.
Oh, and shut the fuck up! It's a bloody story... Once they are done with the 'obviously' colonial stories are they going to come after the allegories next? Or are the animal righties going to come for Moby Dick or The Old Man and the Sea? Or are we just going to teach our children that there is no such thing as context, and that everything has always been the way that the fascists would like us to believe it has been?

JuliaM said...

"King Louie was played by Louis Prima - an Italian American from New Orleans."

An inconvenient fact!

"Once they are done with the 'obviously' colonial stories are they going to come after the allegories next? "

Yes, actually. I believe that's exactly what they'll do.