Saturday, April 30, 2016

Book Report: The Jungle Book

Rudyard Kipling definitely took whatever it was people used as crack in 1894. His animals talk to each other like they're having 19th century Paris salon political debates while throwing out "thees" and "thous" like they're in the King James Bible. There was one way to write this book, and that was to bore into it with eyes closed, teeth gritted and arms and feet pumping furiously, without any concern of appearing like a lunatic.

The Mowgli/Baloo/Kaa/Bagheera parts of the book are the only ones that make any sort of sense, and that's why filmmakers ignore all the rest of the junk -- and there is a metric ton of junk -- and focus on that sweet, inspiring tale. You get way more than just jungle when you enter this Kipling landscape. There are barely intelligible, way, way long, bizarrely musical stories about mongooses (mongeese?), walruses, seals, birds and -- why not, "Eskimos." Kipling hops across the globe, telling his strange tales through various animals, all who share the same demented voice. The book punishes you, entertains you, then punishes you some more, leaving you battered, bruised and left alone with the wolves.