On opening night, our family of five went to see The Jungle Book. The excitement among the kids was palpable. I sat between my oldest and youngest daughters, one my beloved through adoption, another my beloved through the biology of my body.
From the opening scene, the imagery was stunning. Director Jon Favreau pulled off what seemed to be an impossible feat — his CGI animals were so lifelike that their fur rippled with the movement of their muscles.
Mowgli, played with astonishing skill by child actor Neel Sethi, captured my heart with his big, dark eyes and flash of a smile. Early in the film, Shere Khan — the giant tiger that was maimed by Mowgli’s biological father when the human tried to defend himself by thrusting fire in the tiger’s face — established that he was a vicious and relentless predator.
Shere Khan killed Mowgli’s father on that fateful night, but baby Mowgli remained safely hidden.
From then on, the human boy lived under the protection of Bagheera, a sleek and powerful black panther who found Mowgli as a toddler wandering alone in the jungle.