Let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room — pun intended — the first trailer for Warner Bros.’ “Mowgli” will inevitably remind everyone of the Disney live-action/motion-capture take on “The Jungle Book” that was released two years ago.
But at CinemaCon, director Andy Serkis promised a darker, bloodier tale that will delve deeper into the conflict of man vs. nature that lies at the heart of Rudyard Kipling’s famous tale.
The first trailer for the film emphasizes the more mature approach from the get-go, with the titular mancub, played by Rohan Chand, thrashing about in a cage while trying to chew through bars made of bone. His hair is long and raggedy, and his body is covered in dirt and fresh scars.
Later in the trailer, we see Mowgli both living among the wolf pack he’s been a part of since childhood and meeting humans for the first time, including a kind woman named Messua (Freida Pinto) and taking part in the colorful Holi festival.
The trailer also features a cast of motion-capture animals, with Christian Bale playing Mowgli’s panther mentor Bagheera, Serkis as Baloo, and Benedict Cumberbatch as the ferocious Shere Khan.
The trailer has yet to be released, but we’ll see how Serkis’ more intense take on the jungles of India looks when “Mowgli” hits theaters Oct. 19.