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After the runaway box office success of Maleficent Disney has begun to throw all of their popular animated films through the live-action production machine. The next film in the series is The Jungle Book. While the story is familiar to anybody who has read the book it’s based on, or seen the original Disney animated feature, the Super Bowl trailer creates a world that looks unlike anything of which we’ve ever even dreamed. Watch it here.
A modern update of the iconic Disney tale, The Jungle Book follows the story of Mowgli (Neel Sethi), a child raised by wolves in the jungle. One day Mowgli finds himself banished from his childhood home by Shere Khan (Idris Elba), and under the tutelage of the panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley), the bear Baloo (Bill Murray), and myriad other animals, Mowgli undertakes a perilous journey to find himself as well as a new place he can call home. Under the masterful direction of Jon Favreau, The Jungle Book seemingly aims to take the legendary Disney tale and inject a smart combination of pathos and adrenaline-fueled action to the proceedings for a modern audience.
Sure, the CGI and action in the film look absolutely amazing, but that’s really not the reason we’re so excited about The Jungle Book. The film looks amazing primarily because of the sheer amount of sentimentality it manages to squeeze in between these major set pieces. Favreau seems like the right director for this sort of undertaking, given his experience with the Iron Man franchise. Over the last few years he has more than proven himself capable of taking seemingly defunct properties and adapting them in a way that makes them easily accessible for contemporary viewers with humor and heart in equal measure. Put all of these elements together and you get a movie that has us unreasonably excited.
The original Jungle Book animated film came out during a period where Disney’s animation was studio was not exactly at the top of their game, so the original is not as deeply loved as the original Sleeping Beauty or the upcoming Beauty and the Beast. As a result of this many people have become familiar with the general story of The Jungle Book over the years, but very few hold it as near and dear to their hearts as other more beloved Disney properties. For that reason this movie has the potential to possibly become the definitive version of the story on film. The voice cast is the definition of all-star and everybody in it seems perfectly placed, especially the unexpected decision to cast Scarlett Johansson as Kaa. We can’t wait to see it all come together when The Jungle Book comes out on April 15th.