The trailer is out for Andy Serkis' "darker, grittier" version of The Jungle Book. I really love the original book as you all know (I even wrote my own jungle adventure trilogy heavily inspired by Kipling's novel), so of course I'm going to check any adaptation of it but... this looks weird, honestly.
The movie does look like it'll be referencing the original novel more, BUT there's one thing that bothers me and that's how weird all the animals look.
You'd expect them to look super realistic for a darker story, but instead they look more cartoonish than the ones from Disney's 2016 version. They also look oddly humanoid. For example, here's who I suppose is Akela, looking like an anthro character:
Compare to Disney's 2016 version:
I'm all for giving your characters a unique, distinct style but I fear the humanoid appearance of the characters will be too distracting; we all know what a wolf looks like after all. The 2016 Akela looks like a real wolf even though he speaks and emotes; the new one.... not so much.
Here's another example; Shere Khan.
(It looks even weirder in motion, especially the "how you've grown" scene. Like a sort of evil Tigger X Tai Lung from Kung Fu Panda). Again, the face is too humanoid, I feel.
Now, I'm probably biased here because I just love tigers and I believe a perfectly normal tiger can be really scary the way it is, no need to add anything. Take the CGI tiger from Life of Pi; it worked so well because it stuck to what a tiger looks and acts like; the face was a tiger's face, the expressions were a tiger's expressions, and the result was still scary when it needed to be because tigers ARE scary.
The 2016 version of Shere Khan was ok, although I feel he would've been scarier without the scarring and the bad eye. At times I felt like there was too much going on with his face.
Still, he looked a lot better and more tiger-like than the newer version. It is also proof that you can make a tiger speak and emote and still look like a tiger.
The biggest sin, for me, is when the filmmakers fail to make a CGI animal as scary as the real life counterpart. Here's a shot of Shere Khan pawing furiously at some fire (because you can´t have a Jungle Book adaptation without that happening
Again, the face of the tiger in the trailer looks all kinds of strange. Like a man wearing tiger makeup and prosthetic fangs. Or a transition frame from a man to tiger transformation sequence.
Notice how small the fangs are proportionally? Now compare to the real tiger who played Shere Khan in Stephen Sommer's 1994 live action version:
That's right; tigers have HUGE fangs! I just can´t understand why a filmmaker would choose to give his tiger smaller fangs than the real thing. And it's not only the tiger; Bagheera too has very small fangs in this trailer:
Compare to 2016 Bagheera:
Or a real panther for that matter:
I don´t have a fang fetish, I swear!!
I just think if you have a badass animal in your movie, like a panther or a tiger, the least you can do is make them look as scary as the real thing!
The other animals we don´t get much footage of but Baloo sort of looks like a werebear:
(still better than Beorn from the Hobbit movies, tho; that was dissapointing).
The monkeys look like absolutely no species of monkey ever, and some of them look like zombies. Or Gollum.
But at least Hathi looks good (if a little prehistoric, even mammoth-ish. Still, he's supposed to be the oldest, wisest animal in the Jungle, after Kaa, so ok I guess)
Speaking of Kaa, tho... I think she looks like an evil ninja turtle.
Compare to the 2016 version, which certainly did not look like an adult Indian python (and I'm not talking about just the size of it), but at least looked like a snake:
So yeah... I'm not sure about this movie. I think the animals are the most important thing in any Jungle Book adaptation, so the fact that they don´t look very good doesn´t bode well for this one. On the other hand, it may be that we see Mowgli leading the jungle against the man's village as in the book, so maybe it's worth watching for that...
What did you think of the trailer?