In recent years, Walt Disney Pictures’ has triumphed in adapting its back catalog of animated classics into live-action/CGI re-tellings for the big screen. The latest addition to the pack, The Jungle Book, hopes to follow in the paw prints of the studio's previous box-office successes, like Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, and Cinderella. Director Jon Favreau’s (Iron Man 1 & 2) adaptation of The Jungle Book will take inspiration from the 1967 animated film, while honoring the legacy of Rudyard Kipling’s source novel.
In anticipation of the adventure, we have been invited to explore jungle life via a series of promo images, character posters, official trailers, and TV spots, all of which have placed Mowgli (played by newcomer Neel Sethi) at the center of the action alongside a collection of CG animals, including Shere Khan (Idris Elba), Kaa (Scarlett Johansson), Baloo (Bill Murray), King Louie (Christopher Walken), and Bagheera (Ben Kingsley).
Unquestionably, the man-cub won’t be feeling lonely in the wilderness, but he will face the challenge of separating his friends from his foes. Rather aptly, "trust" is the central motif in the latest TV spot, which highlights the deception that has been twisted into the fable.
The 60-second trailer focuses on Mowgli’s encounter with the seductive snake Kaa, who promises to keep the young boy safe, while also sizing him up as a snack. Following the ominous consultation, the short clip is packed with extraordinary action sequences, featuring the (equally intimidating) character, Shere Khan. The Jungle Book has faced an overhaul in the visual department too, using up-to-the-minute technology, the feature boasts stunning landscapes and strikingly realistic characters.
In spite of this promising footage, it could be argued that Disney are taking a walk on the wild side with their latest installment. The action appears to be quite intense for a "family-friendly" film with a PG rating; we could absolutely imagine Kaa slithering right out of the screen (especially in 3D), which could prove to be frightening for small children. Meanwhile, the adults seated in the audience might find it difficult to adjust to the concept of a live-action child actor living in a photorealistic world.
We can only hope that Sethi won’t feel out of place in the final context of the film and that the updated story will preserve the themes of friendship, courage, and integrity. Moreover, children might find themselves attracted to the amiable characters, such as Baloo and King Louie, who should help to lighten the mood and offset the more dramatic elements of the narrative. Whereas adults seeking nostalgia shouldn’t be left feeling too disappointed either, since the production will feature the favourable musical aspects of the original feature. Meaning that, in true Disney-style, the film will (hopefully) be universally accessible to all.
The Jungle Book opens in U.S. theaters on April 15, 2016.
Source: Disney Movie Trailers