The Jungle Book is the next installment in Walt Disney Pictures’ series of live-action fairy tale projects – films which have, of late, taken the form of live-action/CGI re-imaginings of stories which Disney had previously brought to life with 2D animation. Alice in Wonderland kicked off this trend in 2010, followed by Maleficent and Cinderella (in 2014 and 2015, respectively); Jungle Book isn’t the the only live-action fairy tale flick that the Mouse House will release in 2016 either, as the studio also has the Alice sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Roald Dahl adaptation The BFG (from director Steven Spielberg), and the Pete’s Dragon remake due to hit theaters this year too.
Disney is using the 2016 Super Bowl to promote The Jungle Book and Alice Through the Looking Glass in particular, since those will be the first of this year’s batch of Disney live-action fairy tale offerings to reach theaters. An Alice TV spot dropped online a few days ahead of the “Big Game” itself, but we also now have the full Jungle Book Super Bowl preview (see above) that Disney released a teaser for a few days ago, at the time of writing this.
To date, Disney has marketed The Jungle Book – as directed by Elf and Iron Man 1 & 2 helmsman Jon Favreau – as being more of a proper action/adventure, when compared to the studio’s 1967 animated adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book source novel. The film’s Super Bowl trailer sticks with that marketing through-line overall, but also teases more playful and comedic elements from Favreau and screenwriter Justin Marks’ (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li) take on the story of man-cub Mowgli (Neel Sethi) and his coming of age in the jungles of India. The Super Bowl trailer for Jungle Book also highlights a number of the film’s vocal performances too, including that of Sir Ben Kingsley as Mowgli’s mentor, the panther Bagheera – who leads Mowgli on a journey to the “man village,” when the return of a certain infamous tiger means that the jungle is no longer safe for the man-cub. You can check out the new poster for The Jungle Book, below:
While trailers for The Jungle Book have continuously name-dropped Pirates of the Caribbean as a comparable Disney property, the former shall be more family-friendly by comparison – as evidenced by the fact that Favreau’s movie has now been officially rated PG, “for sequence of scary action and peril”, whereas the Pirates movies have always been PG-13 affairs. There will reportedly be musical aspects to the movie too, including fresh music provided by Richard M. Sherman: the legendary songwriter/lyricist who worked on the 1967 animated Jungle Book movie, among so many other Disney projects released over the decades since then. For the time being, though, the only song that we know for certain will be carried over from the animated Jungle Book here is Sherman’s classic melody, “The Bare Necessities”.
Of course, with a CGI character voice cast that includes Bill Murray as Baloo and Christopher Walken as King Louie, there’s never been any reason to doubt that The Jungle Book will offer moments of levity to offset the dramatic and relatively intense elements of its narrative – including, what ought to be strong villainous performances by Idris Elba and Scarlett Johansson, voicing the tiger Shere Khan and the boa constrictor Kaa, respectively. No doubt, it is for related reasons that Jungle Book has ranked fairly high on several “Most Anticipated” lists for movies in 2016 – and the Super Bowl trailer shouldn’t slow down the film’s pre-release momentum, either.
The Jungle Book opens in U.S. theaters on April 15th, 2016.
Source: Walt Disney Pictures