Is The Jungle Book too scary for kids?
As you all know, I am a big fan of the new trend at Disney where they remake a animated Disney classic into a live action feature. The Jungle Book is the newest addition to this franchise and it opens in theaters everywhere on April 15, 2016. Readers and friends know that I am really reluctant to let any of my kids seen anything that is scary or violent and often ask what I think about the scariness level of PG movies when we go to a screening. So here is where I answer the question “Is the Jungle Book too scary for kids?” I promise I will share no spoilers, because that would be super rude.
As always, I suggest you look at this as a guideline, read other reviews as well, and ultimately know your kids. If you have any reservations I highly suggest seeing it first either on your own or with other adults and decide if it is too intense for your child. If you are anything like me, you won’t mind seeing it twice. While I am typically wary of movies with any kind of violence, my 9 year old came with me and said it was not too scary for him.
The premise of the story if you have never seen the original (OMG you haven’t seen the original?! Drop everything and see it right now!) is a man cub named Mowgli due to unfortunate circumstances is left to fend for himself in the wild jungle. He is taken in and raised by a wolf pack. As he grows he becomes a threat to the jungle and the story chronicles his adventure as he tries to return to the man village. It is a story of family, love, tradition, and integrity. The Jungle Book is also about fitting in and standing out, and that both are so important.
The Jungle Book is decidedly darker than the original animated classic. In the original animated classic even Shere Khan is somewhat lovable. Not so in the new Jungle Book. Shere Khan is ruthless and will stop at nothing to hunt down Mowgli. Kaa and King Louis are also more intense, creepy characters than in the cartoon version. King Louis is not only bigger but instead of ‘let’s dance and sing’ crazy, he is more like ‘let’s ruin everything because I love fire’ kinda crazy…. not cool. Special effects also make things much more realistic and and intense than the whimsy of a cartoon. I think the darker elements and characters really just add more layers and make the story deeper than the animated film. I think those who have seen the animated version will all agree that this version is more grown up, but that the darkness only enhances this story.
The story is so well written and I wish I could share some of my favorite quotes, but they are spoilers so I will hold back. My son and I agreed that the wolf pack was a strong family and we were glad they had a bigger role than in the animated version. “The strength of the wolf is the pack, and the strength of the pack is the wolf.” is something my son has been quoting since we left the theater. As a family that has adopted children (my son being one of them), we both appreciated Mowgli was adopted and loved and his pack celebrated him as uniquely his own self and also 100% one of them. “You are like the wolf mom, except you aren’t fury and I am like Mowgli except we are both the same because we are both human. But you know, like that movie is like us.” he says. His quote is convoluted, but those who get it – you are my tribe.
Death check – a little bit, but you don’t see anyone die. Mowgli, Bagheera, Baloo, and others all get hurt on screen, but nothing graphic. A couple characters die – it is necessary for the story and off screen.
Bad Word check – nothing at all.
Prude check – no sexy inappropriateness at all. No innuendo, no suggestive clothing, no imagery I’m gonna need to explain. Nothing. Pure, unadulterated fun. It is truly something you can watch with your little kids, your teens, your spouse, your friends, your ultra conservative grandma, anyone. Prudish Mama Kate stamp of approval.
So once again, if you are asking yourself if the Jungle Book too scary for kids, I highly suggest searching all the reviews you can and really dig into what you know about your unique kiddo. What works for my kids might not work for yours. I hate to put labels and ages on anything, but my sensitive nine year old who is admittedly sheltered really enjoyed it and as a mom I felt it was 100% appropriate for him.
As a Fandango Affiliate I love if you buy your movie tickets through me. No waiting in the line, no surprises where you show up and they are sold out, the same price, and Fandango gives me a tiny credit. Isn’t that nice? Buy your tickets for The Jungle Book here – thanks so much!