Prime Time Review: Two new ‘Jungle Book’ movies hitting theaters soon - The Explorer: Screening

Prime Time Review: Two new ‘Jungle Book’ movies hitting theaters soon

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Posted: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 4:00 am | Updated: 9:54 am, Wed Aug 27, 2014.

With movie theaters being overrun by a plethora of science fiction and fantasy movies, it may be difficult to find something to take young kids to. Between the cursing, violence and bloodshed, some movies just don’t make the cut as child-appropriate. Luckily, there are two separate renditions of “The Jungle Book” in production.

The Jungle Book is a collection of stories written by English author Rudyard Kipling. Originating in the late 19th century, the book contains the collected stories of Mowgli, a young boy who is raised by wolves in the Indian jungle, and is assisted by anthropomorphic jungle animals throughout his adventures. The stories of The Jungle Book were adapted to the big screen for a young audience in 1967 by Disney. This movie originally followed the more dark and sinister tone of Kipling’s stories but was lightened up before its release to become more kid-friendly. The original animated movie grossed over $73 million in its first release, an impressive figure, at that time, for an animated movie. An animated sequel was released in 2003 but spent little time in theaters before being sent to home video.

There are currently two new renditions of this timeless children’s movie in the works. Andy Serkis, best known for his work as Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings”, will be stepping back from live-action work to direct an animated movie of Mowgli’s adventures under Warner Bros. This movie will also be Serkis’ feature directorial debut; he also worked on “King Kong”, “The Adventures of Tintin”, and “Planet of the Apes”. Working under Serkis’ directorial guidance will be Benedict Cumberbatch, who is lending his voice to the human-hating tiger, Shere Khan. 

The Warner Bros. film will be sticking closer to the original material, creating a relatively dark movie that shifts away from the 1967 Disney version of the film. While Serkis and Cumberbatch are on confirmed to be working on this new release, there is little else known as far as casting goes.

Disney will have its own rendition of The Jungle Book, staying in line with a more kid-friendly movie.  Disney’s version of the movie has a pretty impressive cast, Idris Elba will be voicing Shere Khan, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Bill Murray as Baloo, and Christopher Walken as King Louie. 

With Warner Bros. bringing in two impressive cast members and Disney pulling out all the A-list stops, these two movies will surely be vying for supremacy in the box office. While there will be a year difference between their release dates, movie goers will, no doubt, be comparing the two.

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