It’s raining The Jungle Book adaptations, and nobody knows why.
The trailer calls this adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling’s classic, its ‘darkest telling yet’, and they might just be right. For compared to Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book (2016), Andy Serkins’ Mowgli feels literally dark. Like on a 3D screen, we’re going to have to work hard to figure out what’s going on.
Serkins’ Mowgli seems the very opposite of the happy-go-lucky cartoon version some of us have grown up on. In the first trailer, a wild-eyed, long-haired Mowgli is seen locked up in a cage. Unlike the petulant stubbornness and anger displayed in adaptations before him, this Mowgli’s rage seems almost vicious in its fear and confusion. In fact, every single character we are introduced to has shades of grey that seems better suited to the savage environs of a jungle, than the frivolity of previous versions.
The trailer gives us a glimpse into the jungle, where the inhabitants live by Darwin’s law, and not Disney’s.
Rohan Chand (of The Hundred-Foot Journey) plays the child who grows up in a jungle; Frida Pinto makes an appearance as Messua, whose thinks Mowgli is Nathoo, her son who had gone missing as a toddler.
Mowgli’s arch nemesis, Sher Khan, is played by Benedict Cumberbatch; while his foster ‘uncle’ Bagheera is played by Christian Bale. The creepy snake, Kaa, is voiced by Cate Blanchett, with Mowgli’s goofy friend Baloo the bear is being voiced by Andy Serins. Naomie Harris, the only other PoC in the main cast, plays Nisha, Mowgli’s foster wolf mom.
Mowgli will release in theatres on October 19, 2018.