Disney’s The Jungle Book is yet another cartoon to live action adaptation by the Walt Disney Company. I got a chance the other night to catch a sneak peek at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
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 guests 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.
Jon Favreau's Passion Project
Before I get into the specifics of the clip I’d like to talk a little about the films' director, Jon Favreau. You may know him recently from films he’s directed and starred in including both of the first two Iron Man movies.
The Jungle Book was one of Favreau's 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 combat through the battles from the original 1967 film such as fighting off hoards of monkey's, escaping the belly of a ravenous snake, and taking on a fearsome tiger.
Walt Disney's Influence
What I enjoyed hearing the most from what Favreau said 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? According to the director, it was the “cutting edge technology.” He continued to reference classic Disney films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, short films like Steamboat Willie and Plane Crazy, and even some of the more popular attractions (for its time) such as The Hall of Presidents and Carousel of Progress.
Favreau claimed that all of these cartoons and visuals were “photo-realistic for their day.” He’s certainly right and Walt Disney with his animation crew worked long hours and put in 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. 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 hopes the audience will experience an adventure of a lifetime.
Here's What the Movie Clip Entailed!
The clip starts off with Mowgli waking up from being unconscious to discover Baloo smelling him. Baloo (voiced by Bill Murray) immediately befriends him and asks Mowgli if he can climb. Trying to avoid the question, Mowgli asks what happened. Baloo simply responds, "You owe me kid. You owe me.”
Uncertain what this means, Mowgli follows Baloo out of the cave where he says this assignment 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 are hanging over the edge. To make matters worse, the honeycombs are also guarded by hundreds of bee's.
Meanwhile, other animals appear and antagonize Baloo claiming that this “thing” won’t get him what he wants. One of the other animals continues calling Mowgli a monkey. Baloo however knows exactly what he is and calls Mowgli a “man-cub.”
After successfully knocking down one of the honeycombs, Mowgli is stung by the bee's. Baloo humorously advises him to “Just put some honey on those (the stings).” Baloo also cracks up saying “Oh, they must have been females” referring to those type of bee's being more dangerous than their male counterparts.
And now we come to one of my favorite scenes that pays homage to the original film: The sing-along song for "The Bare Necessities."
This was a great moment and by far my favorite part of the sneak peek. I felt like a kid again watching Baloo and Mowgli having a grand old time. It's the small things that matter in life and that's exactly what Baloo is teaching Mowgli here.
While singing along to the tunes, both characters are then joined by 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.
We finally 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, Bagheera 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 Idris Elba. We also get a few more looks at the hundreds of other animals including 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 antagonist, 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 Walt Disney World, go check it out. If you live closer to Disneyland you can also find the sneak peek in Disney's California Adventure!
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!
For now check out the latest TV spot:
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!
Sources: Creamer's Cinema Craze