Blog Breakdown

Music video blog that also includes video, audio, and interactive media. You'll find some reviews and recommendations from the underground of the entertainment world, covering music, film, gaming, and more.
Rummaging through the interweb since 2010

02 April, 2011

Watching for Sound: Disney's The Jungle Book & Modern Evolutionary Synthesis

In a previous post entitled Watching for Sound, we listed a bunch of films that had awesome soundtracks, the first of which being Disney's The Jungle Book (1967)
We particularly enjoyed this blast from the past because it brought us to quite a pleasing realization concerning the song "I Wanna Be Like You".

Putting aside the question of nature vs. nurture that is brought up by Kipling's original "The Jungle Book", the Disney version brings up yet another sensitive issue in a rather concealed manner. So here's the deal. Is it just us, or is "I Wanna Be Like You" host to some serious subliminal messages? An ape asking the man cub for his secret ("man's red fire") so he can "be like you", i.e. like humans. This suggests that

King Louie (the awesome ape) + mankind's secret (fire) = a new and improved King Louie

A classic example of evolution! This also means that in order for us, the viewers, to accept the premise of this song, we must assume that the evolutionary theory is true. No, we're not saying apes will evolve into humans (they will probably evolve into something very similar though) We're just saying The Jungle Book was made in '67, so modern evolutionary synthesis would have still been quite the fresh and controversial topic in people's minds. Introducing the topic into an animated film in an implicit and humorous way was quite a brilliant move. How many of us grew up watching this film and singing along to its music? I know I did.
Major kudos to Disney and the writers of the song for supporting my man Darwin. Or for convincing 5-year-old me to support him? Hm.


  1. Good analysis, try to take it further and see more patterns in this and other films! Bas probably Darwin's theory was closer to the way u put it: "No, we're not saying apes will evolve into humans (they will probably evolve into something very similar though)", bas I like the notion! The film seems to bring man and ape one step closer than they really are huh?? Bas in that case its also man and every other creature in ze Jungel!!

  2. What about the use of the term "Cousin Louie?" Isn't that as overt as you can be without actually being overt?

  3. you all r gay