Netflix Acquires New ‘Jungle Book’ film from Warner Bros.
After many setbacks, the darker take of Rudyard Kipling's book will be released on Netflix in 2019, and is the company's largest assession of all time.
It seems like yesterday that Disney premiered their live-action film. The Jungle Book was a pleasant surprise with the artistic vision behind the concept driving it home. It was a trial run for Disney’s live-action recreation period, which is efficiently taking advantage of its past with fan favorites like The Lion King and Mulan is in development and production. It wasn’t a success for everyone though.
The Jungle Book‘s release led Warner Bros. and The Imaginarium to go incognito for a while, as their film was swept under the rush of the Disney hype. Their intense, dark and more mature version of the tale had to wait.
Mowgli, originally set for production in 2016, began to face many obstacles. Marketing wise, Disney had beat them to the punch with the release of their movie. It wouldn’t be a good strategic choice for the WB powerhouse to make a similar film so soon. Disney fan’s wouldn’t have it.
Directed by Andy Serkis, Mowgli focuses more on the foundation of the young boy’s character. It follows plot points like how he became the boy who was raised by wolves, as well as who he is in the world of man. It sets up Mowgli, played by Rohan Chand, as an outsider who doesn’t fit in either of his worlds: the civilized or the natural. Instead of solely touching on the creative expression of the jungle and a world that leaves audiences awestruck, Serkis wanted his film to have more emotional depth. He wants to create a story that not only pays homage to the original story, but also sparks sympathy from the audience.
Also, it’s easier to do that by portraying Mowgli as an outsider instead of a feral child.
This film’s cast does a great job of demonstrating its promise. Christian Bale as Bagheera, Cate Blanchett as the manipulative snake, Kaa, and Andy Serkis himself will be the welcoming bear, Baloo. These three alone are a reason for people to watch the film. It doesn’t end there though. The villain of the film, Shere Khan, will be represented by the voice of none other than Benedict Cumberbatch. With the inclusion of all this talent, it’s just astounding that the film was kept under the rug for so long. It received no commentary and no news until now.
The Jungle Book interpretation was originally set to be released in October 2018. However, Netflix came and conquered. This ambitious leap is one of the largest film acquisitions that the streaming company has landed. Netflix hasn’t really seen a movie of such grand scale and budget that has been released directly on its platform. The Netflix originals like Singularity or the new Cloverfield entity (that no one really liked because it really had nothing to do with the Cloverfield franchise) has failed to spark interest. Although the ideas were there, the poor visual executions are what continue to bring these Netflix films down. Mowgli will strive to overcome this declining model.
Serkis is a let down by Warner Bros. decision though. Since the movie was an endless endeavor of visual effects and a CGI masterpiece, he wanted it to be projected on the big screen. Not so much for his directorial pride, but to give the editors, animators, and rest of the crew the merited recognition. Netflix understood his proclamation and plans to not just have the movie available for streaming in 2019, but will premiere in the 3D version in a number of theaters, including those purchased during the Cannes dilemma.
This age of filmmaking continues to impress and acknowledge the importance of growing up. It’s refreshing to see passionate takes on children’s stories that many of us grew up with because they match our current state of mind and thinking. I’m probably going to like Mowgli more than The Jungle Book from 2016 because it’s intended for more mature audiences. Its careful planning and aim is to touch people on a more serious and realistic note, which I think is necessary in order for this movie to be successful. Since it’s a classic, it will touch my childhood memories, regardless of its tension. Without that extra darkness, it would just be another Disney wannabe movie that wouldn’t overcome its predecessor. Serkis understood this, and hopes that Netflix will give Mowgli the acclaim that it deserves.