Disney has been adamant about shoving as many live-action adaptations of their classic animated films down our throats for the past several years. Maleficent, Cinderella and Alice and Wonderland were all huge box office successes, but left little else to be desired. With the House of Mouse already developing a live-action Beauty and the Beast and a Tim Burton directed Dumbo movie (*shudders*), there just seems to be little reason to get excited about Disney’s slate of live-action films that don’t star superheroes or Jedi. However, that way of thinking might actually change for some, especially after seeing the first official trailer for The Jungle Book. Directed by Jon Faverau (Chef, Iron Man), The Jungle Book has been described as neither a live-action nor animated movie, but instead a “hybrid” that uses the same type of photo-realistic CGI previously used in films like Avatar, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Life of Pi. Whatever technology is being used to create the creatures and environments in The Jungle Book, no one can deny that the film doesn’t look astoundingly gorgeous.
Based on Rudyard Kipling’s novel of the same name and inspired by Disney’s classic 1967 animated film, The Jungle Book is an all-new epic adventure about Mowgli (Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. Though initially living an care-free life, Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when the fearsome tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba) promises to kill him, believing Mowgli to be an ill-omen of Man’s ever encroaching presence. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo (Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures that don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (Scarlett Johannsson), a sultry python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking and manipulative King Louie (Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly creation known as fire. The film also co-stars Lupita Nyong’o as the fiercely protective mother-wolf of Mowgli, Raksha, and Giancarlo Esposito as the wolf pack’s alpha male, Akela.
As someone who has been consistently disappointed by Disney’s recent live-action adaptations of their animated movies, I’m totally on board for Faverau’s Jungle Book. Everything showcased in the trailer is just so visually striking and impressive, giving the movie (at least the trailer) a real sense of wonder and awe. The environments also feel far removed from what we’ve seen in films like Cinderella or Wonderland. Instead of a weird, European-gothic aesthetic, we’re given a jungle filled with all sorts of friendly and dangerous animals. What also gives me confidence in the film is the talent involved. The casting is pretty damn perfect, and the idea of seeing a giant shit-talking orangutan speak with the voice of Christopher Walken amuses me to no end.
The Jungle Book will be released in theatres on April 15, 2016.
What about you reader? What do you think of the first trailer for Jon Faverau’s The Jungle Book? Let us know in the comments below!