Disney’s 2016 live-action film, The Jungle Book, took the world by surprise. There were many who never expected Disney to not only recreate one of its classic animated movies about jungle animals and turn it into live action, but also have it include the amazing special effects that it did.
For those of you who don’t know the story, The Jungle Book takes place in India and tells the story of a boy—or a “man cub,” as the jungle animals refer to him—named Mowgli, who was played by Neel Sethi in the 2016 version and voiced by Bruce Reitherman in the original 1967 animated film. Mowgli needs to be taken to the man village because a tiger named Shere Khan—voiced by Idris Elba in the 2016 version and by George Sanders in the original—wants to kill him because he believes that men are killers and he won’t allow Mowgli to live in his jungle.
The film received phenomenal praise from critics and fans alike. It received a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is impressive. The famous movie critic, Roger Ebert, rated the film 4 out of 4 stars, and Common Sense Media gave the film 4 out of 5 stars and raved, “Visually stunning and expertly acted, this retelling of a classic pays tribute to the original adventure while erasing the insensitivity of parts of Disney's '60s version.”
Although the film blew critics and audiences away with its phenomenal special effects and storytelling, there is one glaring continuity error in the film that is so small and insignificant that many will not notice it. Frankly, it might not matter to a lot of people because it doesn’t hinder the plot of the film, but it does, however, hinder the logic and continuity of a small moment in the film.
Before continuing, I want to put a quick disclaimer here: I adore this movie, and I’m not meaning to deter people who might not have seen it from watching it. I think that everyone should watch this movie because it’s breathtaking in its story, special effects, direction, acting, voice acting, etc. If you have a chance to see this movie, I’d say do it. You won’t regret it, I promise.
Another quick disclaimer is that I’m going to be diving into spoilers about The Jungle Book (2016), but I won’t be talking about everything that happens in the movie because the error only has to do with one plot point in the film. If you don’t want to know part of the plot of the movie, then I wouldn’t continue reading this if I were you.
Before I discuss the particular continuity error, I need to explain the plot point that leads up to it.
In the film, Mowgli finds Kaa, the snake who hypnotizes her prey. Kaa tells Mowgli about the “red flower,” which is fire that men create, and its destructive powers. She then tells Mowgli how Shere Khan killed his father and how his father blinded Shere Khan in one eye, which helped save Mowgli from getting eaten because it made Shere Khan run away before he could find Mowgli and kill him. Kaa gives this exposition while hypnotizing Mowgli so that he doesn't notice her wrapping her snake body around him in order to crush his body and kill him.
When Kaa has her body wrapped around Mowgli, has him hypnotized and is about to eat him, Kaa is attacked and killed by a bear, who the audience learns in the next scene is Baloo, voiced by Bill Murray in the 2016 version. Baloo is a carefree grey bear who just wants to eat, do his own thing and live his own life.
After he wakes up Mowgli, Baloo realizes that he might be the one to help him achieve his goal of knocking down honey combs from a really high cliff. He wants these honey combs because he wants to eat them. Because Mowgli is a man cub and can climb better than he can, Baloo wants him to climb this cliff. At the top of the cliff, bees are busy making honey combs and doing their bee thing. Baloo persuades Mowgli to help him and to climb the cliff because Baloo tells Mowgli that it’ll repay the life debt that Mowgli owes to him for saving his life.
Before he goes up to get the honey, Mowgli asks Baloo, “The bees won’t sting me, right?”
Baloo answers back, “Yeah, don’t worry. Those bees won’t hurt you!”
Mowgli uses his man cub skills and knocks down a large amount of honey combs from the cliff. However, as he is trying to break them off of the cliff and trying to knock them down, bees start to sting him all over his body. He continuously cries out to Baloo, “Ow! I’m getting stung!"
When he finally returns to the ground, Mowgli has sting marks all over his body, which look like big red welts. He tells Baloo, “I thought you said they weren’t going to sting me.”
Baloo answers, “Oh, those must’ve been female!”
Mowgli and Baloo start walking away and Mowgli tells him that he has to go to the man village because he's being hunted by a tiger. Baloo tells him that honey will help with the bee stings, so Mowgli scoops out honey from one of the honey combs and rubs it onto his bee stings. They continue walking through the jungle, and that is the end of the scene.
The very next scene is Mowgli and Baloo reaching the end of a cliff or some other high point in the jungle. From this location, they can see the man village, and they start talking about Mowgli having to go to the man village. It’s later in the evening that same day so they can see the fire burning from the torches and making the village light up at night, similar to how city lights make a skyline light up at night. Mowgli and Baloo sit against a tree and talk.
However, this is where the continuity error comes in. Mowgli’s bee stings, which were red welts that covered his body in the previous scene, are completely gone now. They vanished! I don’t mean that they look like scars on his body or that they look like they have healed. He has nothing on his body in this scene except for his red pants.
This is a glaring continuity error. It can be inferred from the fact that it was in the early afternoon when the previous scene took place and now it’s late at night that they have only been walking and talking for about half of a day. This can also be inferred from the fact that we never saw them go to sleep.
Bee stings, or stings from any insect, involve injecting venom into the human from the bee’s stinger, and normal swelling from the venom can increase for 24 hours following the sting.
Yes, Mowgli did put honey on the sting marks as a treatment to heal them, but honey probably wouldn’t be able to make them completely disappear in less than a day. Of course, I don’t know for sure because I’m not a honey expert, but to me, that doesn’t add up.
When putting medicine on a mosquito bite, for example, I’ll put on anti-itch medicine to stop the itching that is caused by the venom in the mosquito bite. After a few hours of putting that medicine on, there is still a mark left on my body from where the mosquito bit me.
Due to bee stings being much more severe than mosquito bites, it can be inferred that if a mark is left on my body after a few hours of putting medicine on a mosquito bite, then there would definitely be marks left on a person’s body after being stung by a bee and after putting medicine on those bee stings. Therefore, it doesn’t add up for Mowgli’s body to be completely healed after being stung by bees and for there to be no traces of the bee stings that had covered his body earlier, even after putting honey on them.
Therefore, this is a glaring error in the continuity and logic of that particular part of the movie. However, for those of you who haven’t seen the film, it is important to remember that this error is miniscule in importance compared to the rest of the movie. I found it interesting to note that it is there in the film, but I still recommend this movie to children and adults alike. It is phenomenal and definitely one of the more underrated films of 2016.