The troop of almost 70 animals swinging through Disney's The Jungle Book have been lauded for their millions of hairs, twinkling eyes, and bestial movements. The animation is stunning, but to collapse your suspension of disbelief a featurette was released yesterday on Mashable showing the blue-lined studio in which Mowgli actor Neel Sethi performed.
The video shows Sethi sprinting, jumping, falling, and swimming through the wilds of the azure sound stage in LA Center Studios. Director Jon Favreau says:
"Because we had decided to use this completely virtual environment approach we figured it's an opportunity to take the best of the animation process and the best motion capture and the best live action, you can do something nobody's done before."
12-year-old Sethi had to act with only the assistance of his imagination and some puppets, which were made by Jim Henson's Creature Shop. Though helped by the special effects throughout, he is trained in Taekwondo and performed many of his own stunts. He says:
"You can just walk we'll add everything else and I was like: 'But how, that's not possible.' But they made it possible."
The latest technologies were used and combined with the expertise of literally hundreds of people from the far corners of science to create each shot. They replicated multiple isolated jungle locations in photo-ready quality from photographs taken at Indian locations. In the video, Robert Legato, a visual effects supervisor, says:
"A lot of it is research, that is your basis of reality...It sparks ideas and different ways of looking at it and you get to live it and walk through it. Its starting with the backbone of real life, the way it moves and looks and scrunches its face and reacts to light. The only fantastical thing is that they actually speak."
"The goal here is for people to know what's real and what's not real. Films have to be an emotional experience for the audience, you have to tell a good story. If I'm engaged emotionally with the characters all the spectacle was worth it."
The Jungle Book stampeded past half a billion dollars at the box office worldwide in just two weeks, so it was totally worth it.
Watch the two-minute video here.
Do You Prefer The Jungle Book of 2016 or 1967?