Disney’s live-action remake of their 1967 classic, “The Jungle Book” opens today in theaters. It’s already garnered a significant amount of praise, and acclaim. Interestingly, Warner Bros. has announced they’ve changed the name of their upcoming film, “Jungle Book: Origins” to just the “Jungle Book.”
Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” is a rich series of novels with many characters that have been portrayed in many different adaptations over the years. Movies, Books, Graphic novels, and radio plays have all shown the characters in great and unique ways. However, the most famous adaptation that has emerged is Walt Disney’s “The Jungle Book.” While the original Disney film bares very little resemblances to the works they’re adapted from (Walt Disney flat-out told the team making the movie to not read them), it offered a very unique and family friendly spin on the story. Today, many people associate “The Jungle Book” with the Disney film, not the series of novels that inspired it.
This new remake by Disney is updating all the classic songs, and contains some very impressive CGI. Weta Digital, the special effects team behind James Cameron’s Avatar, and The Planet of the Apes series, brings the Jungle to life. Despite it’s photorealistic special effects, the entire film was recorded in a soundstage in Los Angeles. The voice actors as well recorded there lines in a recording studio. All the effects, and ambience come from prerecorded tracks and computer effects. Newcomer Neel Sethi shines as protagonist Mowgli, and boasts an even more impressive A-List cast of Bill Murray, Scarlet Johannsen, Christopher Walken, Ben Kingsley, Lupit Nyongo, Idris Elba and others.
Director Andy Serkis and Warner Bros. are creating their own adaption of the Jungle Book, which was originally titled “Jungle Book: Origins.” Now, it is simply “The Jungle Book.” This adaptation promises to be a much more truer adaptation of the works by Rudyard Kipling. No singing vultures, no super bright colors, it’s the gritty and faithful thing. The movie will incorporate motion capture, and if there’s any indication of Andy Serkis’s success with motion capture films with animal characters, this adaptation will be phenomenal.
Serkis himself will portray Baloo the Bear, as well with fellow A-listers Benedict Cumberpatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale. Cumberpatch, and Blanchett have both worked previously with Serkis in the Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit
So why drop the “Origins”? Many different media outlets have been quick to point out that this name change adds confusion to the already existing film by Disney. Indeed it does. Having both movies sharing the same name is incredibly confusing. However, does that mean that the change isn’t necessary in a way?
A sequel has already been announced for Disney’s 2016 remake, and so Warner Bros. has most likely changed name to ideally avoid any narrative confusion with Disney’s brand. With Andy Serkis’s Imaginarium Productions attached to project, as well as the acclaimed talent in Bale, Blanchett and Cumberpatch, there’s no doubt in anyones mind that this film won’t be great. The “Origins” might imply that the film is a prequel, or an “origin” story to the Disney film. No matter what way the decision cut, it’s an unfortunate one for Warner Bros. who have to compete with giant that Disney is marching forward with.