Disney’s The Jungle Book is yet another cartoon to live action attempt by the Walt Disney Company. I got a chance to catch a sneak peek at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The sneak peek temporarily took the place of the much beloved short film One Man’s Dream which gave the wonderful history of a man we all know all too well, Mr. Walt Disney.
Disney is cranking up its marketing any way it can and what better way to market this film then place a short ten minute featurette for Guest’s to see inside of a theme park? This featurette gives us plenty of never before scene footage including an entire five minute clip taken directly from the film.
Before I get into the specifics of the clip I’d like to talk a little about the film’s director, Jon Favreau. You may know him recently from film’s he’s directed and starred in including both of the first two Iron-Man movies.
The Jungle Book was one of Favreaus’ passion projects. He always adored watching those cartoon characters as a kid and was fascinated by how well they were animated. Favreau mentioned he had vivid memories of the snake (Kaa), the elephants, the tiger (Shere Khan) and most importantly the lead character Mowgli. What caught my ears in his interview was how he mentioned Mowgli not being intimidated by the other animals. This is most certainly true as we saw Mowgli constantly fight through the battles from the original 1967 film.
What I enjoyed hearing the most about Favreau was how much he paid tribute to Walt Disney. Favreau was quoted saying he “honored what Walt stood for.” What was it that he honored so much? The answer was the “cutting edge technology” according to the director. He continued to mention classic Disney films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, short films like Steamboat Willie, and even some of the more famous attractions such as The Hall of Presidents.
Favreau claimed that all of these cartoons and visuals were “photo-realistic for their day.” He’s certainly right as Walt Disney and his animation crew worked long hours and put a lot of effort to get the job done. The director also states that this film is using the cutting edge technology of our time and audience members are in for a real treat when this film debuts. Favreau’s goal for audience members is to know “what’s real and not real” while becoming fully engaged in the movie. He wants everyone to have fun with the film and wants the audience to experience an adventure of a lifetime.
We finally come to the five minute clip which features three of our beloved characters: Mowgli, Baloo, and Bagheera.
The clip starts off with Mowgli waking up from being unconcious only to be smelled by Baloo. Baloo voiced by Bill Murray immediately befriends him and ask Mowgli if he can climb? Mowgli trying to beat around the question asks what had happened with Baloo simply responding saying “You owe me kid. You owe me.”
Mowgli uncertain what this means follows Baloo out of the cave where he says this is “payback” for saving Mowgli. Baloo tells Mowgli to do something for him since he saved his life. He asks Mowgli to climb up on the side of a cliff to retrieve some honeycombs that is hanging over the edge. Meanwhile, other animals appear and antagonize Baloo claiming that this “thing” won’t get him what he wants. One of the other animals continue to proclaim Mowgli is some kind of monkey. Baloo knows exactly what he is and calls Mowgli a “man-cub.”
Baloo just wants Mowgli to retrieve a few Honeycombs which he does successfully by kicking a few down. However Mowgli is stung by a few of the bees while Baloo humorously adds “Just put some honey on those (the stings).” Baloo also cracks up saying “Oh, they must have been females” referring to those type of bees being more dangerous than their male counterparts.
The scene quickly jumps ahead as we see Mowgli riding on top of Baloos’ chest while both are singing the tune of the famous “Bare Necessities.”
This is a great moment and one that certainly pays homage to the original film. The song is also more upbeat with plenty of jazzy tunes to go along with it. We see Mowgli and Baloo having a grand old time until Mowgli notices some rustling in the trees. Then, out pops Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) in all his greatness.
Mowgli goes and greets him with a warm hug which tells us that they have been on a few adventures of their own.
The clip again skips ahead until we find ourselves back inside Baloos’ cave. What I believe Favreau nails here is the banter we get between Bagheera and Baloo. Bagheera exclaims that “Bears don’t hibernate in the jungle!” to which Baloo responds saying “Not full hibernation, but I nap a lot.” Just like in the original film, Bagherra has to put up with the clumsy and sarcastic nature of the bear but still sees him as a friend and close companion to Mowgli.
The clip ends there and once again we receive flashes from previous trailers including the menacing Shere Khan voiced by Iris Elba. We also get a few more looks at the hundreds of other animals including the apes with one in particular being King Louie (Christopher Walken).
The series of clips ends with Mowgli shouting, “I’m Mowgli and this is MY home!” This quote dates back to what I had said earlier when Favreau stated that Mowgli was not intimidated by the other characters. While we don’t know from this clip exactly WHO Mowgli is shouting at, we can pretty much presume it’s the films’ main villain, Shere Khan.
I cannot wait for this film! I have thoroughly enjoyed every clip that has been released to the public audience. The movie looks to be a sure hit for Disney as it looks like they chose the PERFECT director for this job. Favreau has poured his heart and soul into making this film. The casting could not have been better. I was a little skeptical of Murray’s voice-over as Baloo but after watching this delightful clip, I can honestly say he was a great pick to voice the beloved bear.
If you ever find yourself in Disneyland or Walt Disney World, go check it out. The extra footage will make you smile even more. The movie looks incredible from both a visual standpoint as well as a storytelling one. The director of Iron-Man looks to bring us a new and refreshing take on this beloved story. We don’t have to wait long as The Jungle Book will hit theaters everywhere on April 15.
How excited are you for this movie? What live action adaptation are you looking forward to the most? I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!