How Both ‘Tarzan’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Influenced Favreau’s ‘The Jungle Book’

Jon Favreau’s  The Jungle Book  just had a MASSIVE opening day weekend raking in over $100 million domestically!  This film is a culmination of both the original 1967  The Jungle Book  blending it in with today’s updated technology.  The movie was wonderfully done and is arguably the best adaptation of  The Jungle Book  we’ve ever been given.   

After watching this movie, I could’t help but notice two scenes that come to mind both borrowing from previous films.  Those two films were 1999’s  Tarzan  and Peter Jackson’s  The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.  How could both of these films influence a movie such as  The Jungle Book?  There were two specific scenes that come to mind.  One taken from the movie  Tarzan,  and the other from  The Return of the King.  

Tarzan (1999)

In the scene from  The Jungle Book,  the wolf mother Raksha has to say goodbye to Mowgli after learning that Shere Khan is hunting him and that he is better off being raised in the man village.  As they say their goodbye’s, Raksha says a line that closely resembles a scene that Tarzan says to his gorilla mother Kala:

“Never forget this. You’re mine, mine to me. No matter where you go or what they may call you, you will always be my son” says Raksha in one of the most heartfelt dialogue in the movie.

This scene is very reminiscent of a line from  Tarzan.  Tarzan’s adopted gorilla mother Kala, takes him to the place where she initially found him.  The picture Tarzan found inside of the treehouse, helped him understand that he had human parents.  Shortly after coming out of the treehouse in human clothes, Tarzan hugs Kala and says,

“No matter where I go, you will always be my mother.”  She responds with, “And you will always be in my heart.”

Tarzan makes it known to Kala that no matter what path he takes in life, he will always remember her as his mother.  This moment always brings me to tears knowing that Tarzan realized that he once had human parents and has to learn to accept that.  I believe that Favreau here payed homage to this other Disney film and did a fantastic job doing so.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

While the elephants didn’t play a large film in  The Jungle Book,  they did have a scene that felt awfully similar to a scene that took place in  The Return of the King.  

In  The Jungle Book,  Mowgli saves a baby elephant out of a mud pit. At first the elephants would not let Mowgli go near the baby, but Mowgli remembered what Bagherra said to him about paying respects to the elephants and to bow before them every time. Mowgli uses the rope he made of vines to retrieve Baloo’s honey and is able to latch them onto the other elephants to pull the baby elephant out of the mud pit.

This scene actually makes a difference later in the film when the elephants confront Mowgli after defeating Shere Khan in a long fought battle. Mowgli again bows down to the elephants only this time, he is rewarded as a king. A scene shortly after, shows Mowgli is seen riding on top of the baby elephant, giving us an indication that he is the King of the Jungle.

I couldn’t help but think that that scene reminded me of the ending to Peter Jackson’s  The Return of the King  from his  Lord of the Rings  trilogy.  In that one scene, we see the hobbits bow down to the King of Gondor at his coronation.  Realizing this, Aragorn walks over to them and says,

“My friends, you bow to no one.”

These two scenes from  The Jungle Book  and  The Return of the King  feel evocative of each other. At least that was the connection I noticed from both films.  The higher power is now bowing down or serving the one’s who should be crowned king.  The elephants from  The Jungle Book  feel that way towards Mowgli as a thanks for saving their young elephant.

So those were two scenes that I noticed Jon Favreau borrowed from other movies.  Were there any other scenes in this movie that may have been a homage to other films?  Do you believe these comparisons to be accurate?  Sound off in the comment section below!

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