Film Synopsis: Directed by Jon Favreau (“Iron Man”), based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, “The Jungle Book” is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of selfdiscovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo (voice of Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (voice of Scarlett Johansson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire.
Release Date: 15 April 2016
Much in the line of Maleficent and Cinderella, Disney is yet again reimagining one of its classics, The Jungle Book, into a live-action film. Unlike the other two films, most of the Jungle Book’s on screen presence is comprised of CGI characters, due to real life animals posing a danger and lacking much “acting” versatility. While the choice may have been out of necessity it also is indicative of Disney trying to bring the 1967 animated film into the modern age.
Adding to the new mode of animation, 2016’s Jungle Book has ditched the songs and good spirit that was more suited for a young audience. The movie’s release is just one year shy of what would have been the movie’s 50th anniversary and although the original movie is of a different time, the modern Jungle Book and Disney’s other modern interpreted movies try and show how not only the stories but how the company has grown up.
Scarlett Johansson lends her low, raspy voice to Kaa, the conniving snake. As she provides voice over for the trailer, the new tone can send shivers down our spines. Johansson is just one of the few well-known actors that have lent their voice for the movie, others include: Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, and Christopher Walken. Mowgli, the only main character that is not CGI’d is played by the young and new face – Neel Sethi. Having such an accomplished cast, it feels almost worthwhile just going for what will most certainly be great performances.
The new reimagining of the Jungle Book looks like it has more to offer than its predecessor, more action, more depth. In the original, perhaps it was the songs or the animation, but the jungle did not seem as dangerous and scary as its modern counterpart would like to express. With the addition of the 3D animation, lighting, dramatic music, and more realistic representations of the animals, the upcoming Jungle Book definitely feels and looks a bit darker. I, for one, cannot wait to see how the visuals will look in 3D or even IMAX. Having the CGI environment being so vivid will definitely help capture the audience into the world as they follow Mowgli on his fantastic adventure.
Even though I do feel sad from a nostalgic standpoint that Disney is trying to shed its more jovial musicals, the best part of Disney’s new reimaginings are experiencing familiar stories again. Putting these new twists on their classics, they are able to captivate the nostalgia of the kids who grew up with the classics that are now adults and make them fall back in love with the new versions while hopefully still appreciating, and in my case still coveting, the old.
After all, Disney had created some of the most memorable and catchiest songs, such as “The Bare Necessities” and “I Want to Be Like You (The Monkey Song).” No matter with or without the music, Disney still manages to hit most of their movies out of the park. Having Jon Favreau directing it, already showing his great balance of storytelling, action, comedy in the first Iron Man, I don’t see how The Jungle Book would turn out otherwise.