The Jungle Book has not seen a live-action adaptation for at least two decades. Since the original 1994 Disney release, which tried to shed a few shadows into the light-hearted cartoon classic in an attempt to stay true to the source material, the studio has seemed content to leave well enough alone. However, the newest TV trailer for the film that was aired during Superbowl 50 has given us a greater insight into the newest movie and it seems like the studio has chosen to stick closer to its own tradition…
The new Jungle Book trailer gives us a more action-packed opening sequence, featuring Bagheera, the grudging panther (voiced by Ben Kingsley) helping Mowgli narrowly escape Shere Khan‘s (voiced by Idris Elba) attack in the veldt. During the trailer’s scenes, we see the wolf-boy running into Winnifred the elephant, get nearly swallowed whole by the hypnotizing python Kaa (aappropriately voiced by Scarlett Johanson) and finally helped out of his screaming fit by everyone’s favorite brown bear, Baloo (voiced by Bill Murray).
According to the movie’s released synopsis:
Based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, The Jungle Book is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan, who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera, and the free-spirited bear Baloo. Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa, a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie, who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire.
Previous trailers have made it more than abundantly clear that this film is going to follow the cartoon tradition of talking, anthropomorphized animals and that it’s going to keep its distance from the originally dark source material. While none of the animals have so far broken into song, we are guessing that the development team will at least afford a nod toward The Bare Necessities. From what we can see, however, the film will focus on the action side of things, just to keep younger audiences on their toes, even as it explains such themes as the inherent ambition in all living creatures and the existential dread of struggling to survive in a wholly alien world. Jungle Book will hit theaters on April 15, 2016 and will be directed by Jon Favreau, based on the screenplay by Justin Marks. Meanwhile, you can watch the TV trailer here: