Disney just released the first trailer for its forthcoming Jungle Book remake, and somewhere on the other side of the world Andy Serkis just punched the air in frustration.
Due to the whims of the public domain gods, Disney and WB have competing Jungle Book film adaptations, with Jon Favreau throwing together a live-action/CGI remake of the 1967 Disney animated classic and Andy Serkis sticking closer to the original Rudyard Kipling story in a live-action/mo-cap hybrid which he’ll direct as well as do the mo-cap for Baloo. With a release date of April 15, 2016, Disney gets to go first while the WB version, penciled in for October 6, 2017, is over 2 years away at this point. But, hey, we’ve been here before. Someone should write a list of all the near-identical movies which came out around the same time. Oh, wait. I already did. Here’s the link, and historically speaking it does not seem to matter which movie comes first. The better of the two usually rises to the top, although by virtue of getting to have all the original Disney songs the Jon Favreau movie will probably be the biggest regardless of quality.
But, wow, those kinds of question are way down the road. Let’s just watch the trailer and list all the voice actresses who could have offered a far more nuanced and less robotic version of Kaa than Scarlet Johansson:
Just in case you’re confused, worry not – there will be songs in this movie, though perhaps not as many as the 1967 original. Bill Murray, as the voice of Baloo, is at least expected to sing “Bare Necessities.” Either way, Hollywood has long since decided that the best way to market a musical movie is to pretend that it’s not actually a musical, although there have been exceptions to that marketing rule (see: Les Miserables).
Based on the trailer, Jungle Book looks like it will be remarkably entertaining, sometimes downright riveting. The kids won’t be bored, and I am fascinated to see how all the special effects turn out. I grew up watching the Jungle Book characters in Tail Spin, but I may have only seen the Jungle Book movie a couple of times in my lifetime. In general, I was not someone who grew up wearing out VHS copies of Disney classics. Instead, I wore out the tapes my brother used to record Simpsons episodes off of Fox. As such, I am not as swayed by nostalgia as some by Disney’s current run of live-action re-tellings of animated classics. I don’t have a whole lot of emotional need for Jon Favreau’s movie to not suck, and this two minute trailer is not much to go off of. However, I liked it. What about you?
Incidentally, here’s what longtime producer Don Han (Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Hunchgback of Notre Dame) just told Collider when asked if there was one upcoming live-action fairy tale that excited him the most:
This sounds like a plug, but I’m really interested in Jon Favreau’s Jungle Book. I’m not a Disney employee or anything, so I have no reason to plug it, but I think his smarts put against what CG can do nowadays put against that story could be interesting. It’s not a fairy tale, but it’s very much a Disney movie. I just think that’s really going to be interesting and pretty cool. It’s very brave and very much out-of-the-box. It’s not a Marvel character. It’s not a Pixar movie. It’s going to have power to it, I’m sure, because that’s who he is, as a director. A film like that gets me excited, very much.
The Jungle Book is due out April 15, 2016; Andy Serkis’ Jungle Book: Origins is still set to drop on October 6, 2017.