Fans who attended Disney’s live-action presentation at D23 Expo in August got the first glimpse at footage from the studio’s upcoming adaptation of The Jungle Book, but finally, the rest of us can catch up. The first trailer for the film directed by Jon Favreau just dropped, and I’m going to need a minute to compose myself because wow, it is stunning. I have to admit I haven’t been completely on board with Disney’s plan to take a large selection of their animated films and transform them into live-action, and I was especially skeptical about The Jungle Book. How could they possibly bring Mowgli’s adventure to life in a way that wouldn’t look ridiculous?
It appears as though my doubts were misplaced. The trailer gives us an almost two minute peek into a lush, moody world. Sure, trailers aren’t representative of the entire movie, but given that Disney likely realizes how they have to sell audiences on this concept, I’m hoping they’re at least showing the spirit of the film in this snippet narrated by Kaa (Scarlett Johansson). We get a glimpse of the trouble Mowgli (Neel Sethi) faces as he tries to survive in the jungle. Though we mostly only hear Kaa, we see Shere Khan (Idris Elba), Bagheera (Ben Kingsley), and King Louie (Christopher Walken). We see Baloo too, and briefly hear Bill Murray whistle the familiar notes of “Bare Necessities.”
The trailer received multiple viewings from me for a couple of reasons. First of all, I had to stare at the animals. They’re so realistic it’s hard to wrap your head around them being CGI. And then there’s the scope. Everything seems larger than life–this might be the first on screen version of The Jungle Book that actually makes King Louie scary–and each shot has such depth. Even if we’re seeing the world through the eyes of Kaa, like we do at the beginning of the trailer, you understand the scale. It will be easy to put yourself in Mowgli’s place and experience the sheer size of the world he’s found himself in.
The Jungle Book opens in 2016, and this trailer has sold me on seeing it in theaters. What do you think? Share your opinions in the comments.