The Bear Necessities

Jaunty Jungle Adventure: Meridian Parks & Rec presents Disney animated classic The Jungle Book for free monthly Outdoor Movie Night In The Park July 15

“Hey Flaps, what we gonna do? I don’t know….Whacha wanna do? I know, let’s flap over to...” the John A. Lomax Amphitheater in Meridian, there’s a movie on. Just imagine Disney’s The Jungle Book vulture scene with Buzzie, Dizzy, Ziggy and Flaps as you read that sentence. Or “look for the bare necessities in life, forget about your worries and your strife” and enjoy a movie with popcorn.

Meridian Parks and Recreation invites the community to enjoy Disney’s 1967 animated classic The Jungle Book with all the jungle antics of man-cub Mowgli, happy-go-lucky Bear Baloo, his serious alter-ego Panther Bagheera, hypnotic Python Kaa and dastardly tiger Shere Kahn and more unforgettable characters at its monthly free Outdoor Movie Night at the John A. Lomax Amphitheater in Meridian Park on Sat. July 15 at 8:30 p.m.

Disney’s animated movie The Jungle Book is based on Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 book, which was a collection of stories about a man-cub Mowgli. Raised by wolves in the jungle, Mowgli’s adventures are chronicled in the stories as he travels through the Indian jungle to a village to avoid becoming killed by the man-eating tiger Shere Kahn.

The coming-of-age movie is filled to the brim with crazy adventures, loyal friendships, and fighting spirits and overcoming fear presented through so many memorable, catchy songs, scenes and silly humor. The movie tagline of the 1978 re-release said it all “Meet Mowgli, the man cub. Baloo thinks he'll make a darn good bear. Shere Khan thinks he'll make a darn good meal.”

While it remains considered one of Disney’s best animated movies by its loyal fans – who more often than not can recite whole portions of a scene, sing along lustily with the songs, and call it “the King of Disney’s animated movies” – not all critics agree it was a great movie; they felt the story lacked substance. And the movie did not win any major awards. But it was a box office success and did very well in subsequent DVD and Blu Ray releases.

The animated movie contains every single element that makes a great children’s movie, making it enduringly popular and inspirational over generations. It’s colorful and beautiful animation, it’s playfulm, it has relatable and lovable characters, there’s silly humor and catchy tunes, and there are important life lessons to be learned, like the “law of the jungle.”

“Many strange legends are told of these jungles of India, but none so strange as the story of a small boy named Mowgli,” Bagheera’s narration begins the movie. “It all began when the silence of the jungle was broken by an unfamiliar sound. [Sound of baby crying] It was a sound like one never heard before in this part of the jungle. It was a man cub! Had I known how deeply I was to be involved, I would've obeyed my first impulse and walked away.”

While Mowgli has to leave the jungle to ensure the safety of his wolf family – the family Bagheera convinced to foster the man-cub after he found it orphaned in the jungle – the journey to a new home begins. Along the way, guided by the task-driven Bagheera, Mowgli meets a variety of jungle animals that teach him important life lessons and help him find his identity.

Baloo might be lackadaisical, but who doesn’t love the irresponsible, playful uncle better than the stern, “stick to the rules” uncle like Bagheera. And we all love to love a great villain and his side kick, portrayed by the deliciously evil Shere Khan and slippery ssssnakiest snake Ka. Oh, and let’s not forget Mowgli’s playful wolf brothers, devious King Louie and his cartload of mischievous monkeys and Kolonel Hathi and his troupe of massive marching elephants.

The Beatles’ band manager Brian Epstein was approached the Disney studios about having The Beatles appear in the film, because Disney envisioned the vultures to be voiced by The Beatles. John Lennon vetoed the idea though. But the animators kept the mop-top haircuts and Liverpool voices as an homage to The Beatles. The barbershop quartet buzzards’ scene with “That’s What Friends Are For” is another example of the excellent and multi-generation appealing charm and songs.

With just what you would expect if you could go back in time and visit a classic movie theatre, Meridian Parks and Recreation begins the evening at 7:30 p.m. with music on its state-of-the-art sound system, followed by previews of upcoming showings as well as a classic cartoon before the main feature. As always, free hotdogs, popcorn, assorted treats and water will be available while supplies last.


©2023 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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