The Jungle Book
Official artwork poster of the film.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJon Favreau
Starring
CinematographyBill Pope
Edited byMark Livolsi
Music byJohn Debney
Production
companies
Walt Disney Pictures
Fairview Entertainment
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • April 15, 2016 (2016-04-15)
Running time
106 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

The Jungle Book is an upcoming American fantasy adventure film directed by Jon Favreau, written by Justin Marks, and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on Rudyard Kipling's eponymous collective works, the film is a live-action/CGI reimagining of Walt Disney's 1967 animated film of the same name, albeit more faithful to the original Kipling works.[2][3] The film stars and introduces Neel Sethi as Mowgli and features the voices of Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong'o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito and Christopher Walken. The film is scheduled to be released in the Disney Digital 3D, RealD 3D and IMAX 3D formats on April 15, 2016.

Premise

Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is a human boy raised by the Indian wolves Raksha (Lupita Nyong'o) and Akela (Giancarlo Esposito) ever since he was a baby and brought to them by Bagheera the black panther (Ben Kingsley). When the fearsome scarred Bengal tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba) threatens his life since man isn't allowed in the jungle, Mowgli leaves his jungle home. Guided by Bagheera the black panther and Baloo the bear (Bill Murray), he sets out on a journey of self-discovery while evading the man-hunting Shere Khan. Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who do not exactly have his best interests at heart including Kaa (Scarlett Johansson) the python and the smooth-talking Bornean orangutan-resembling Gigantopithecus[4] King Louie (Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly "red flower".

Cast

Voice cast

Production

Development

Walt Disney Pictures announced that a live-action remake of The Jungle Book was in development on July 9, 2013, with Justin Marks set to write the script.[6] Jon Favreau was later confirmed as director on November 5, 2013.[7] Favreau was encouraged by Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn to take advantage of the film's setting and story as an opportunity to use the latest advancements in photorealistic rendering, computer-generated imagery and motion capture technologies.[8]

"The idea of going out to the jungle and shooting this, it just felt like it wouldn't have the magic that the 1967 film had had. There was a dreamlike quality to it. There was a surreal quality to it. It was a high-water mark for character animation and to me, that's what I remember about it. And so I wanted to make sure we preserved that...But what [Alan] Horn said was: look at the technology. Look at Life of Pi, Avatar. Why not use the technology to create a whole world that transports you? Let's really embrace this new technology and see what we can do if we push its limit."

— Jon Favreau on approaching the film's technical intents.[9]

The cast was announced between March and August 2014, with Idris Elba being announced to voice Shere Khan during early stages, and Bill Murray eventually confirmed as the voice of Baloo in August 2014. Between then, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Kingsley, and Christopher Walken were confirmed to play Kaa, Bagheera, and King Louie, respectively.[10][11][12][13] Favreau decided to cast Johansson to play Kaa, originally a male character, as he felt the original film was "a little too male-oriented".[4] Lupita Nyong'o was cast as Raksha as Favreau believed her voice imbued emotion required for the role, "Lupita has tremendous depth of emotion in her performance. There’s an emotional underpinning she brings, and a strength, and we wanted that for this surrogate mother. Much of that comes from her voice."[14] Favreau also decided to change King Louie from an orangutan to a Gigantopithecus due to the fact that orangutans are not native to India, where the story takes place.[3]

The search for casting Mowgli was extensive, with over thousands of kids auditioning from the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada. Eventually newcomer Neel Sethi was confirmed for the role with casting director Sarah Finn describing him as embodying "the heart, humor, and daring of the character. He’s warm and accessible, yet also has an intelligence well beyond his years and impressed us all with his ability to hold his own in any situation."[15]

Principal photography took place entirely in sound stages at L.A. Center Studios[16] in downtown Los Angeles.[14][17] The animal characters were created entirely in key frame computer animation, with the assistance of footage of real animal movement, the actors recording their lines, and performance capture for reference.[3] Favreau expressed desire to avoid overusing motion capture in order to prevent an uncanny valley effect.[4] Moving Picture Company (MPC) and Weta Digital created the film's visual effects.[8] Remote jungle locations in India were photographed and used as reference in post-production.[18]

Music

The musical score for The Jungle Book was composed by frequent Favreau collaborator John Debney.[19] Favreau and Debney incorporated several songs from the 1967 animated film. "The Bare Necessities", originally written by Terry Gilkyson, will be included and sung by Murray and Sethi.[20] "Trust in Me" and "I Wan'na Be Like You", written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, will be performed by Johansson and Walken, respectively. Richard M. Sherman wrote new lyrics for Walken's version of "I Wan'na Be Like You".[21] Some of the lyrics to "Trust in Me" were spoken by Kaa in the film's teaser trailer.[22]

A soundtrack album is scheduled to be released on April 15, 2016 by Walt Disney Records.[23]

Release

On January 13, 2015, the film's release date was postponed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures from October 9, 2015 to April 15, 2016.[24] The film is scheduled to be released in the Dolby Vision format in Dolby Cinema in the United States.[25]

Reception

Box office

In the United States and Canada, pre-release tracking suggests the film will open around $62 million, with female and older male quadrants being the prime draw.[26]

Critical reception

Early reviews of the film has been really positive with praise aimed at its visual effects and Idris Elba's performance.[27] On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 100%, based on 9 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10.[28] On Metacritic the film has a score of 76 out of 100, based on 6 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[29]

Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "Exceptionally beautiful to behold and bolstered by a stellar vocal cast, this umpteenth film rendition of Rudyard Kipling's tales of young Mowgli's adventures amongst the creatures of the Indian jungle proves entirely engaging, even if it's ultimately lacking in subtext and thematic heft."[30] Andrew Barker of Variety felt that this version "can't rival the woolly looseness of Disney's 1967 animated classic, of course, but it succeeds on its own so well that such comparisons are barely necessary."[31] Robbie Collin of The Telegraph gave the film four stars out of five and deemed it "a sincere and full-hearted adaptation that returns to Kipling for fresh inspiration."[32] Alonso Duralde of The Wrap also gave a warm reception, saying, "This 'Book' might lack the post-vaudeville razzamatazz of its predecessor, but director Jon Favreau and a team of effects wizards plunge us into one of the big screen's most engrossing artificial worlds since Avatar."[33]

Its visual effects received critical praise, with comparisons being made to the likes of Avatar, Gravity and Life of Pi.[33][34][27]

References

  1. ^ "THE JUNGLE BOOK [2D] (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. March 29, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  2. ^ "The Jungle Book: Production Notes" (PDF). wdsmediafile.com. The Walt Disney Studios. Retrieved March 28, 2016. ((cite web)): Unknown parameter |dead-url= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  3. ^ a b c Thompson, Luke Y. (February 22, 2016). "Jon Favreau Says 'The Jungle Book' Will Be His 'Avatar,' Reveals New Images". Forbes. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Jon Favreau Breaks Down Disney's Live-Action 'Jungle Book' Teaser: From the Digital Toolbox to the 'Bear Necessities'". September 15, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "The Jungle Book: Press Kit" (PDF). wdsmediafile.com. The Walt Disney Studios. Retrieved March 29, 2016. ((cite web)): Unknown parameter |dead-url= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  6. ^ The Deadline Team. "Justin Marks To Adapt Live-Action 'Jungle Book' Reboot At Disney - Deadline". Deadline. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  7. ^ Borys Kit. "Jon Favreau in Talks to Direct 'Jungle Book' for Disney". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  8. ^ a b Rainey, James (February 22, 2016). "How Jon Favreau Combined CGI and One Real Boy to Remake 'The Jungle Book'". Variety. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  9. ^ Rawal, Sugandha (February 24, 2016). "Jon Favreau breathes new life to Kipling classic 'The Jungle Book'". Business Standard. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  10. ^ Borys Kit. "Idris Elba to Voice Man-Eating Tiger in Disney's 'Jungle Book'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  11. ^ Borys Kit. "Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o in Talks for Disney's 'Jungle Book' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  12. ^ "Ben Kingsley, 'The Jungle Book': Actor to Voice Bagheera in Disney Pic - Variety". Variety. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  13. ^ The Deadline Team. "Disney's 'Jungle Book' Adds Christopher Walken And Giancarlo Esposito - Deadline". Deadline. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  14. ^ a b Buchanan, Kyle (February 22, 2016). "Jon Favreau on the Subtle SFX Beauty of The Jungle Book and Casting Lupita Nyong'o". New York. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  15. ^ "Disney Finds its Mowgli in Newcomer Neel Sethi for 'The Jungle Book' - Variety". Variety. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  16. ^ http://www.fandango.com/movie-news/a-visit-to-the-set-of-the-jungle-book-750312
  17. ^ Mallenbaum, Carly (September 15, 2015). "CGI power! 'The Jungle Book' was shot entirely in downtown L.A." USA Today. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  18. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (February 16, 2016). "Virtual Production for 'Jungle Book' Detailed During HPA Tech Retreat". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  19. ^ "John Debney to Score Jon Favreau's 'The Jungle Book'". Film Music Reporter. August 7, 2014. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  20. ^ "Bill Murray will sing as Baloo the Bear in The Jungle Book". Digital Spy. Retrieved December 26, 2014.
  21. ^ "Garry Shandling, Schreiber's & Favreau's Kids, More Voice 'The Jungle Book;' Cast to Perform Film's Anthems". Stitch Kingdom. March 29, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  22. ^ Khatchatourian, Maane (September 15, 2015). "Watch: First Trailer for Disney's Live-Action 'The Jungle Book'". Variety. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  23. ^ "Walt Disney Records to Release Soundtrack Album for Jon Favreau's 'The Jungle Book'". Film Music Reporter. February 5, 2016. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  24. ^ Pamela McClintock. "Jon Favreau's 'Jungle Book' Switches Places With 'Finest Hours,' Pushed to Spring 2016". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  25. ^ Carolyn Giardina (November 16, 2015). "'Star Wars' Dolby Cinema Release Could Push Forward the New Format". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
  26. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (March 28, 2016). "How 'Batman V Superman' Will Turn A Profit Despite Critical Kryptonite". Deadline.com. Retrieved March 29, 2016. ((cite web)): Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  27. ^ a b Angie Han (April 4, 2016). "'The Jungle Book' Early Buzz: Critics Go Wild for Disney's 3D Remake". /Film. Retrieved April 5, 2016. ((cite web)): Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  28. ^ "The Jungle Book (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  29. ^ "The Jungle Book reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  30. ^ Todd McCarthy (April 3, 2016). "'The Jungle Book': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  31. ^ Andrew Barker (April 3, 2016). "Film Review: 'The Jungle Book'". Variety. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  32. ^ Robbie Collin (April 3, 2016). "Forget about your worries, this new Jungle Book makes perfect sense - review". The Telegraph. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  33. ^ a b Alonso Duralde (April 3, 2016). "'The Jungle Book' Review: 'Babe' Meets Rudyard Kipling in Mostly Satisfying Remake". The Wrap. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  34. ^ Scott Mendelson (April 4, 2016). "Review: Disney's 'The Jungle Book' Is A Towering Visual Achievement". Forbes. Retrieved April 4, 2016.