Most people are familiar with The Jungle Book thanks to Disney's 1967 animated film or its 2016 live-action remake. Both of these films provided fun, light-hearted takes on Rudyard Kipling's classic tale, but another re-telling is coming this year from motion-capture extraordinaire, Andy Serkis. The film, titled Mowgli, will be taking a darker approach, and as such parents should be advised that this won't be quite the all-ages animal adventure The Jungle Book is over at Disney. In fact, Mowgli will be rated PG-13 for what the MPAA describes as:
Intense sequences of action violence including bloody images, and some thematic elements.
Yeah, that definitely does not sound like a cheery sing-along. To contrast, Disney's 2016 The Jungle Book was rated PG for sequences of scary action and peril. We have heard that Warner Bros' take on Mowgli's story would be darker and scarier, and this rating indicates that it will be just that. Disney's The Jungle Book had some fights between the various animals, but it sounds like the action violence will be much more graphic and frightening this time around with actual blood being shown. The thematic elements portion of the MPAA's rating, as reported by Box Office Mojo, is also interesting. Andy Serkis mentioned that his film will deal with the laws and customs of different clashing cultures, so it sounds like this film will explore some heavier, more adult concepts. Beyond just being a more violent Jungle Book, Mowgli is shaping up to be a thematically darker one as well.
It's funny to think that The Jungle Book and so many other films that Disney has adapted are frequently quite different from the original stories. Disney has defined these stories and fairy tales so much that the often-darker tone of the originals is sometimes forgotten. This darker take on The Jungle Book will require parents to be aware that this is not a Disney film, and they will have to make an informed decision about what's right for their family. But a non-Disney telling does provide an opportunity for a different and exciting take on a well-known story. Disney's two films were quite similar tonally and a bit lighter than Rudyard Kipling's tale. To differentiate itself, Mowgli has change things up, and in doing so it will hopefully provide the same sort of visual spectacle while also bringing something new and special to the table.
Mowgli, originally titled Jungle Book: Origins was something of a dueling project with Disney's film, which came to market first to the tune of $966 million worldwide in 2016. Mowgli was originally supposed to release last year but it was pushed back in order to perfect the motion-capture performances and likely to put some more distance between it and Disney's smash hit. Like Disney's film, Mowgli boasts an all-star cast providing the voices of the jungle dwellers, including Cate Blanchett as Kaa, Andy Serkis as Baloo, Christian Bale as Bagheera and Benedict Cumberbatch as Shere Khan.
Mowgli is directed by Andy Serkis, and slithers, slinks and crawls its way into theaters on October 19.