THE JUNGLE BOOK opens in theatres everywhere in 3D, RealD 3D, and IMAX 3D on April 15th!
By Mary Lansing
Last month, I got to head out to one of my favorite Hollywood theaters, The El Capitan, to see a sneak peek of one of Disney’s most anticipated films coming out this year: The Jungle Book. Growing up, I adored the animated classic and, of course, would drive my parent’s crazy singing "The Bear Necessities". Every time I hear of an up-dated version of an old favorite on its way, I hold my breath. Why fix it if it's not broken? Luckily, you usually do not have much to worry about when Disney does a re-boot, and The Jungle Book looks like it will not only make us reminisce, but introduce a whole new generation to the timeless tales and adventures of Mowgli.
While having the pleasure of hearing Director, Jon Favreau, speak to the audience about this venture, he had many great points to make and things to say about this venture: “We embrace the mythic qualities of [Rudyard] Kipling in the more intense tonal aspects of the film,” he says, “but we left room for what we remember from the ’67 film, and sought to maintain those charming Disneyesque aspects.” For Favreau, story is king and if anyone can tell one, it is this Director; look no further than his past work, which includes Iron Man 1 and 2.
“I think films have to offer an emotional experience for the audience,” says the director. “The spectacle won’t mean anything if they’re not engaged emotionally with the characters. Every story needs humanity, emotion and 2 character development, as well as humor—presented in a way that doesn’t betray the stakes of the film. There are white-knuckle moments in the movie when you wonder, 'what’s going to happen to this kid?"
Something parents will be intrigued with The Jungle Book, is the cast. There's Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson....and oh, yeah, Christopher Walken, just to name a few. It was great fun to learn a bit about the process of seeking out such a great cast of characters, explained by Favreau and Screenwriter, Justin Marks, as well as the search for newcomer, Neel Sethi, who is the PERFECT Mowgli. After seeing thousands of young boys, film makers knew Sethi was the boy they had been looking for as soon as they met him. Sethi captures all the charisma and innocence of Mowgli, while not afraid to stand up for himself and take on tigers, snakes and bears.
Another aspect I cannot get over with The Jungle Book? The visual effects. This film is absolutely breath-taking and will truly take audiences to a whole new world. Filmmakers employed up-to-the-minute technology to tell the story in a contemporary and immersive way, blending live-action performances with stunning CG environments and extraordinary photo-real animal characters that artists stylized to elevate the storytelling. “‘The Jungle Book’ is a universal coming-of-age story that everyone can relate to,” says producer Brigham Taylor. “Walt told the story through traditional cell animation and now we have the technology to actually bring these characters to life, make them photo-real and put a real kid into the environment in a seamless, believable way. The opportunity to be able to show that with today’s technology was irresistible.”
The Jungle Book's animation supervisor is Oscar®-winner Andy Jones (“Avatar,” World War Z,” and “I, Robot”). Bill Pope (“The Matrix,” “Spider-Man 2”) is director of photography, and Christopher Glass (“Arthur Newman”) serves as the production designer. Laura Jean Shannon (“Chef,” “Iron Man,” “Elf”) is costume designer, and Mark Livolsi (“Saving Mr. Banks,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “The Blind Side”) is editor. With a score composed by Emmy® winner and Oscar-, BAFTA- and Annie Award-nominee John Debney (“Elf,” “Iron Man 2”). Not bad, right?
The Jungle Book swings into theatres April 15th, and you can stay up to date with all the news and info leading up to its premiere at http://movies.disney.com/the-jungle-book-2016.