“The studio that brought you Pirates Of The Caribbean.” With that mention, it’s clear early on in this first teaser for director Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book that we’re not in the Swingin’ ’60s anymore. No, this live-action/CGI take on Rudyard Kipling’s tale of adventure is 180 degrees from the colorful, whimsical and wonderful world of Disney’s 1967 classic. The only bit of whimsy is a whistled snippet of Baloo the Bear’s signature song, “Bare Necessities,” at the end.
Not that we mind. If you were at D23 last month, then you know that a very lengthy sizzle reel/trailer Favreau put together just for the convention was easily among the most gorgeous things shown off during Disney’s huge upcoming films presentation. This despite containing unfinished effects and scenes from a production that was at the time only a week-and-a-half into shooting. It’ll be awhile before anything approaching that sizzle reel makes its way online, but you can see snippets of it here in the first teaser for the film, which opens April 15 after a six-month delay. And unlike the classic toon, Favreau’s take is heavy on thrills, action and danger. Scarlett Johansson narrates the teaser in-character as Kaa, underscoring the immense peril a young “man-cub” would face in the wilds of India.
Justin Marks wrote the film, which stars newcomer Neel Sethi as Mowgli amid a blue-ribbon animal-voice cast that also includes Bill Murray as Baloo the bear, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera the panther, Idris Elba as Shere Khan the tiger, Christopher Walken as King Louie the orangutan, Lupita Nyong’o as protective mother wolf Raksha and Giancarlo Esposito as alpha-male wolf Akela.