The Jungle Book Returns

Written by Erin Lobner. Media by Courtney Murphy.

“Lions and tigers and bears! Oh my!” But it’s not “The Wizard of Oz” bringing them to theaters all over the world–it’s “The Jungle Book.” Based on the classic animated Disney movie, Jon Favreau directs the new live-action rendition. “The Jungle Book” premieres in the United States on April 15.


Jungle Book

If you’ve never seen the animated movie, which premiered in 1967, or if you just don’t remember it well, here’s a quick rundown. The main character, Mowgli, is a human boy who was abandoned and raised by wolves. He lived peacefully with the animals in India until Shere Khan, a man-eating tiger returns. Although Mowgli doesn’t want to leave his wolf family, he must venture through the perilous jungle to seek shelter in the “man village” with the help of his companions, Bagheera the panther and Balloo the bear.


The premise for the new film is fairly similar. Mowgli (Neel Sethi) sets out for the village, learning important lessons and encountering dangerous situations on the way. Sethi is backed by a star-studded cast including Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Bill Murray as Balloo, Christopher Walken as King Louie of the Apes, Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, the mother wolf, and Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, a giant green python who serves as one of the story’s antagonists.


So, what are some of the things viewers can expect to see from the skilled cast? First, even though the movie is considered live-action, the only human to appear in trailers is Mowgli. All of the animals are computer-animated, appearing lifelike. It took quite an effort to achieve the realistic results, as “the movie was first animated, then shot live action, then the versions were melded.” 


The preview gives off a darker vibe than the whole animated movie did. Throughout the two-minute video, Raa’s bewitching voice addresses Mowgli. “Are you alone out here? What are you doing so deep in the jungle?” She asks. Then she adds her well-known lines, “I’ll keep you close. Let go of your fear now, and trust in me.” The trailer also suggests that Mowgli has wild confrontations with King Louie and Shere Khan, and is forced to run for his life on more than just those occasions.


Even with the intensity of the trailer, the movie overall is rated PG, so, of course, it has some funny and heartwarming moments. While there isn’t much footage circulating, rumor is Neel Sethi and Ben Murray sing the iconic “Bare Necessities” song. On “Jimmy Kimmel Live” the two performed part of the number as a teaser for the movie. Sethi also says during the interview that the movie is “different,” which might be a good way to sum it up.


All in all, the movie looks very promising. Make sure to hit the theaters on April 15 to see one of the great Disney classics reimagined, and share your thoughts about the movie on social media with #JungleBook!


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