Despite some major delays, it looks like Warner Bros.’ live-action take on The Jungle Book is still on track for release in 2018. The delays for the movie, which comes from director Andy Serkis, have had to do with the fact that Disney’s live-action Jungle Book was a huge hit last year and they’ve had to find a way to set their movie apart. The studio has released a synopsis for Serkis’ version of The Jungle Book, which is titled Mowgli. Here’s the official synopsis.
“Blending live action and performance capture, the story follows the upbringing of the human child Mowgli (Rohan Chand) raised by a wolf pack in the jungles of India. As he learns the often-harsh rules of the jungle, under the tutelage of a bear named Baloo (Andy Serkis) and a panther named Bagheera (Christian Bale), Mowgli becomes accepted by the animals of the jungle as one of their own. All but one: the fearsome tiger Shere Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch). But there may be greater dangers lurking in the jungle, as Mowgli comes face to face with his human origins. The other story’s central animal characters are: Kaa, the snake (Cate Blanchett); the leader of the wolf pack, Akela (Peter Mullan); the scavenging hyena, Tabaqui (Tom Hollander); Nisha, the female wolf (Naomie Harris), who adopts the baby Mowgli as one of her cubs; Nisha’s mate, Vihaan (Eddie Marsan); and Mowgli’s Brother Wolf (Jack Reynor).”
That sounds quite similar to both versions of The Jungle Book, both Jon Favreau’s live-action version and the classic Disney animated version. Despite that, Warner Bros. already had the movie filmed and has had to find a way to market this movie to audiences and make it seem different enough to justify audiences turning up to see it. The title change may help. Previously, the movies going under the title Jungle Book: Origins.
Despite the similarities, there’s reason to think this version of The Jungle Book could be worth your time. Andy Serkis is a true pioneer with motion capture technology in Hollywood and having him direct a movie like this could bring an amazing, visual dimension to the movie. Then again, Disney’s new version looked rather spectacular in its own right. When Warner Bros. first announced the release delay, Serkis had this to say, seemingly very behind the idea and still very much maintaining a positive attitude about what we now know as Mowgli.
“I’ve got to say that personally I’m absolutely thrilled that Warner Brothers have changed the delivery date of our movie. The ambition for this project is huge. What we are attempting is an unprecedented level of psychological and emotional nuance in morphing the phenomenal performances of our cast into the facial expressions of our animals. We are breaking new ground with realistic non-humanoid animal faces, such as a panther or wolf, ensuring that they convincingly communicate with human language and emotion via performance capture, and are able to stand up to real scrutiny in richly complex dramatic scenes. So, every minute more that we have to evolve the technological pipeline will make all the difference…the evidence is there already and it’s off the chain exciting, so hang on in there…This is truly next generation storytelling, and it will be the real deal!”
Warner Bros. currently has Mowgli dated for October 19, 2018. With the cast they have, it’s possible they could be positioning it for some Oscars. Or, at the very least, they are hoping to avoid getting crushed by major blockbusters in the summer months. As pointed out by Screen Rant, we’re still getting another Jungle Book movie. The question is, can it really stand on its own? Or is it going to drown under the weight of Disney’s recent version? A movie that made just shy of $1 billion at the box office.