Less or more glee for the new Jungle Book movie

The new jungle book movie trailer looks great, but is it successful in capturing the mythic essence of the original?

Expectations are always higher than usual when a classic gets a reboot. The new Jungle Book movie is a fresh take on the 1967 animated DISNEY movie that itself strayed far from Rudyard Kipling’s original work but was adored by audiences worldwide. The teaser for partially-live-action version just hit the internet yesterday and looks spectacular but is certainly dark and eerie and not as bright and colourful.

Youtube video screengrab

Youtube video screengrab

Set to hit the theatres in April next year, the movie seems to blends live-action with photo-realistic CGI animals and environments. The cast is an ensemble with Bill Murray as the voice of Baloo, Idris Elba as Sher Khan, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Christoper Walken as King Louie and newcomer Neel Sethi as Mowgli.

Kipling in his book traced the adventures of an abandoned “man cub” Mowgli who is raised by wolves in the Indian jungle. But can a mythic theme like that enmesh with the disney charm and bring the saga to life? It’s said that Kipling put nearly everything he knew or “heard or dreamed about the Indian jungle in his book”.

Will it be better than the animated version?

Will it be better than the animated version?

Will technology alone be enough to capture the essence of Kipling’s storytelling? Will the CGI animals and the situations they are be as hilarious as they were in the animated version or the book? Will children be able to connect with the characters that we have all come to love and cherish? It might seem difficult for it to build upon the legacy of the original but we will know soon enough if it will create a new niche.

All the nostalgia aside, Scarlett Johansson’s voice as Kaa, when she asks “What are you doing so deep in the jungle? Don’t you know what you are?” is truly eerie and electrifying. The question we still need to answer i whether news is always better. Maybe it is.

Featured Image is a Youtube video screengrab. 


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