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The Jungle Book Live-Action Trailer Is Visually Astounding, Unnecessarily Gritty

| 15 Sep 2015 20:25

The first teaser trailer for the live-action Jungle Book will leave you gasping at its awe-inspiring visuals, then smirking at how darn serious it takes itself.

Directed by Jon Favreau (he of Iron Man, Swingers and...ehem...Cowboys and Aliens fame), The Jungle Book won't hit theaters until next year, which means that now is right about time for the teaser trailers to start dropping. And y'all, this might just be the mother of all teaser trailers. Tiger fights! Malick-ian visuals!! The Wall from Game of Thrones!! This live-action take on the Disney classic -- which, calling it "live-action" might be a bit of a stretch, as 99% of the movie appears to be CGI -- packs all of the action into a tight two minutes and then some.

Once the awe of the lush, beautifully-rendered environments wears off, though, you're basically left with the trailer for every superhero origin story film ever, right down to overly-serious narration (this time performed by the way-too-sensually-voiced-for-a-kids-movie Scarlett Johansson), Inception BRAHMMS, and dramatic cuts to black. "Why sssso sssseriousssss?", Johansson's Kaa might as well be saying.

I dunno, maybe I'm alone in thinking a movie about singing orangutans voiced by Louis Prima wasn't meant for the gritty reboot treatment. But it's got at least one thing going for it, and that is that it's not the 1994 live-action Jungle Book starring Jason Scott Lee. And not to beat a dead horse, but dem visuals doe. Just check out some of the screengrabs I got from this thing.

Based on Rudyard Kipling's timeless stories and inspired by Disney's classic animated film, "The Jungle Book" is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who's been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he's ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo (voice of Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don't exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (voice of Scarlett Johansson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire.

The all-star cast also includes Lupita Nyong'o as the voice of the fiercely protective mother wolf Raksha, and Giancarlo Esposito as the voice of wolf pack's alpha male Akela. "The Jungle Book" seamlessly blends live-action with photorealistic CGI animals and environments, using up-to-the-minute technology and storytelling techniques to immerse audiences in an enchanting and lush world. The wild adventure swings into theaters in 3D on April 15, 2016.

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