The Jungle Book (2016)

Movie: Directed by Jon Favreau.

Inciting Event: During the Water Truce at Peace Rock, Shere Khan the tiger warns the wolf pack that as soon as the truce is over he will be coming to kill their man-cub Mowgli and punish them. Mowgli then decides to spare everyone by leaving the jungle and allowing the panther Bagheera to take him back to the man village (the Key Event).

First Plot Point: Shere Khan attacks, wounding Bagheera, and Mowgli flees into a stampeding heard of water buffalo and escapes. Even though he already left his Normal World with the pack, he is only now truly in the adventure world of the Second Act: on his own in the jungle.

First Pinch Point: Mowgli is hypnotized by the python Kaa, who nearly kills him. This is the antagonistic threat. (Elsewhere, we also have Shere Khan killing the wolf leader Akila.) Mowgli is rescued by the sloth-bear Baloo, who coerces Mowgli into helping him get some honeycomb from a cliff. This is what turns the plot, as Mowgli begins using his “tricks” to survive and thrive in the jungle. The one thing we don’t really see here is an introduction of any new “clues” about the conflict—but since the story is essentially episodic in nature, it’s a small grievance.

Midpoint: Baloo reluctantly takes Mowgli to the man village, which Mowgli is obediently seeking on Bagheera’s wishes, even though Mowgli himself has no wish to leave the jungle. Baloo convinces Mowgli to remain in the jungle—at least long enough to help Baloo gather more honey for “winter hibernation.”

Second Pinch Point: Bagheera catches up with Mowgli and is furious that Baloo has been manipulating Mowgli into staying in the jungle. Bagheera tells Baloo about Akila’s fate and convinces Baloo that Mowgli will only be safe from Shere Khan in the man village. Reluctantly, Baloo lies to Mowgli, telling him he doesn’t want him around anymore, so Mowgli will go with Bagheera.

Third Plot Point: Mowgli is captured by the monkeys. As far as it goes, this isn’t the best Third Plot Point ever. Kidnapping is always a suitable “low moment,” one fraught with the threat of death. But there’s nothing thematically personal or plot-relevant in this moment for Mowgli.

Climax: After defeating the giant orangutan Louie, Mowgli discovers Shere Khan has killed Akila and vows to do something about it. He fetches fire from the man village and goes back to fight Shere Khan, accidentally lighting the forest on fire as he goes. He and Shere Khan face off.

Climactic Moment: Mowgli beats Shere Khan, using his “tricks” to hurtle Shere Khan into the fire.

Resolution: Mowgli remains in the jungle with his family and friends, now free to be himself.

Sign Up Today

hwba sidebar pic

Sign up to receive K.M. Weiland’s monthly e-letter and receive her free e-book Crafting Unforgettable Characters: A Hands-On Introduction to Bringing Your Characters to Life.