It is a testament to the popularity and enduring appeal of Disney’s 1967 animation The Jungle Book that it is still one of the most in-demand movies for children. Parents like the gentle, lessviolent and altogether more innocent aspect of the selection and kids instantly fall in love with the well-realised characters and comedic set pieces. Both sides will sing along (knowingly or not) to the swinging jungle jazz soundtrack with
memorable tunes such as The Bare Necessities and I Wanna Be Like You.
Less well known, but by no means obscure, however, are the 2003 remake, 1994 live-action version or a slew of TV spin-offs and video games, which cash in on the beloved characters. Although all probable money-spinners for Disney and likely to be enjoyed by kids, none have come close to surpassing the original on-screen adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s exceedingly good story.
This month, just one year short of the 50th anniversary, a new reboot of the story arrives with an all-star cast, live-action filming and what seem to be some of the most beautiful realistic worlds since Avatar.
There will be limited singing (Baloo the Bear will be played by Bill Murray who rumours suggest sings Bare Necessities) but the main reason for the remake is to repurpose this as an action film. Director Jon Favreau is best known for his Iron Man films and Christmas favourite Elf and that combination of action and youthful excitement is just what will make the film appeal to families.
“You are serving many masters when you make a film like this,” Favreau told journalists at an advanced screening earlier this year. “You are trying to honour the memory, the emotional memory of people who grew up with this stuff. But you are also trying to make a movie that appeals to the full audience… That is really what Disney set out to do.”
Newcomer Neel Sethi will be the only on-screen actor in his part as Mowgli, but the cast also includes Scarlett Johansson (Kaa), Idris Elba (Shere Khan), Ben Kingsley (Bagheera) and Christopher Walken (King Louie) picking up roles of the most memorable characters from the original.
This is one of two live-action versions of The Jungle Book coming soon. The other, from Disney rivals Warner Brothers, is released in 2017 and features Freida Pinto, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett. We can bearly wait.
The Jungle Book is in UAE cinemas from April 8.
For more information check www.timeoutdubai.com for showings and timings.