Two years ago, Jon Favreau attempted the near-impossible: a motion-capture remake of The Jungle Book that successfully managed to make use of its high-end medium while retaining both the fun and genuine danger of the Disney original. It’s unlikely that even fans of that modern update were clamoring for more, but Warner Bros. have nevertheless answered the call. Enter Mowgli, Andy Serkis’ pricey re-imagining of Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale.
Warner has been open to expensive, ambitious spins on classic stories in recent years, even if the returns have often been lacking; Pan struggled to offer a new take on the well-worn Peter Pan tale, and last year’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword was unable to match Guy Ritchie’s kinetic visual style with a swords-and-magic fantasy actioner. (That’s to say nothing of the Now, Mowgli will attempt to reverse their fortunes, with Serkis helming and starring as Baloo in what the film’s first trailer promises will be “the darkest telling of the beloved masterpiece.”
Look, it’s tough not to acknowledge the irony of the trailer proclaiming the new Mowgli (Rohan Chand) to be “something the jungle hasn’t seen before” when that’s hardly the case, but Serkis has been at work for some time now, even if Disney beat him to the punch in a number of key respects. In any case, Mowgli will storm into theaters on October 19th with an all-star cast including Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Naomie Harris, Matthew Rhys, and many more.