Director Jon Favreau's upcoming live-action/CGI film adaptation of The Jungle Book is nearing its April release date - and now a new extended trailer has been unveiled for the film - teasing the movie's visually stunning action - even as the Disney film's stars work the promotional rounds.
The Jungle Book is the latest live-action re-working of an animated features ripe for adaptation from Disney's classic animated filmography. This film's extended trailer (shown above) showcases the impressive CGI Favreau has utilized to create the story's Indian jungle landscape and features Scarlett Johansson's hypnotically insidious snake character, Kaa, interacting with newcomer Neel Sethi's Mowgli. Sethi has also just appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live with co-star Bill Murray (Baloo), where the pair treated audiences with a performance of a favorite Jungle Book song.
The live-action version of Disney's childhood classic promises to honor the original 1968 animated feature whilst staying true to the themes and events depicted within Rudyard Kipling's source novel. The screenplay has been written by Justin Marks and boasts an extraordinary voice cast of stars playing the familiar animals the talented Sethi meets during his jungle journey. Alongside Murray and Johansson, Idris Elba (Shere Khan), Ben Kingsley (Bagheera), Lupita Nyong'o (Raksha) and Christopher Walken (King Louie) are featured here.
The new trailer (a Moviefone exclusive) explores the narrative of how the human child Mowgli came to live in his jungle habitat and the dangers that he faces from his predator enemies, as well as the larger conflict of the danger posed by man from the perspective of the jungle creatures. Elba's Khan look to be a more menacing antagonist that his animated counterpart here, while Walken's King Louie is much bigger (and far less jovial) than the singing and dancing version audiences will remember.
Despite the trailer's darker themes, the always affable Murray and clearly excitable Sethi celebrated The Jungle Book's musical history during their Kimmel appearance - with a performance of the 1968 movie's well-loved song “The Bear Necessities”. You can watch that video, below:
Placing a sole child actor within a CGI universe was a risk that appears to have payed off in terms of the visual wonder on display in The Jungle Book's trailers and the performance glimpsed by young Sethi. That being said, the more fearful narrative elements of man versus beast may be off putting to family audiences here, as the scare factor will be elevated by the photo-realistic renderings of the threatening Khan, Louie and Kaa alike.
The Jungle Book's visual beauty and stellar voice cast will hopefully be enough of a draw for adult audiences that have loved the original animated version since childhood, as well as their older children - and maybe even the braver young ones. We will seen how things work out when the film hits theaters, in but a couple of weeks.
The Jungle Book is set to open in U.S. theaters on April 15th, 2016.