Dubbed into English, this Russian-produced cartoon uses nonstop action to make its episodic approach palatable to squirming kiddies. Based on Rudyard Kipling's classic, ADVENTURES OF MOWGLI lacks the allure of a Disney animated feature, but compensates with a softer visual style and subtle
Inadvertently abandoned by his human parents during a wild animal attack, infant Mowgli is adopted by a wolf family. At the council session determining Mowgli's fate, his cause is championed by the panther Bagheera (voice of Dana Delany) and the bear Baloo (voice of Cam Lane). Over the objections
of the tiger Shere Khan (voice of Scott McNeil) and his querulous jackal pal, Tabaqui (voice of Alec Willows), who hunger for humans and regard Mowgli as a tasty tidbit, Mowgli is welcomed into the jungle family.
Sponsored by Bagheera and Baloo, the boy Mowgli (voice of Ian Corlett) hunts with his brother wolves and cements his bond with the other creatures by rescuing a baby elephant. While thwarting a band of mischievous monkeys, Mowgli is befriended by the python Kaa (voice of Sam Elliott), who becomes
another advisor. When Shere Khan stages a coup against the dominance of the Wolf Leader, Bagheera advises Mowgli to obtain the "Red Flower" (fire) from the human village. This flaming weapon defeats Shere Khan, but peace is threatened by an outside attack from hordes of red dogs. Cleverly
derailing this invasion by sidetracking the dogs with angry bees, Mowgli preserves the sanctity of his jungle. As a man, Mowgli becomes homesick for his own kind and eventually leaves to raise a family of his own.
Intended less as a salute to Kipling than a cash-in on the popularity of THE LION KING (1994), ADVENTURES OF MOWGLI skips lightly through the wilds, but suffers from the monotony of its color palette (too bleached out to sustain interest) and from a blandly cheery score (consisting of the
composer's upbeat trunk ditties). Tykes will be spellbound by this modest retelling of Kipling's celebration of the brotherhood of man and beast. Older children, however, may pine for splashier production values. Parents could do worse than this simply stated jaunt through The Jungle Book, but
kids are still likely to prefer the jivey jazz of Disney's livelier THE JUNGLE BOOK (1967) (Violence.)
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: NR
- Review: Dubbed into English, this Russian-produced cartoon uses nonstop action to make its episodic approach palatable to squirming kiddies. Based on Rudyard Kipling's classic, ADVENTURES OF MOWGLI lacks the allure of a Disney animated feature, but compensates wit… (more)