With 2015 coming to a close, many studios are trying to begin their promotions for various films. With that in mind, two of 2016 most anticipated films released stills to keep the buzz going. Those films, “Jungle Book” (April 2016) and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (November 2016) have begun to showcase their characters in unique situations.
First, Empire released a still from “The Jungle Book” live action adaption. The film, directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), was once supposed to release in 2015, but was pushed back to ensure that the animation was complete. While Disney has previously adapted their 1967 animated film in a live action medium, this version will feature talking animals through the use of animation and motion-capture technology. In the vain, they cast recently motion-captured actress Lupita Nyong’o (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as Raksha, the wolf mother. Below is an official still from the feature.
What I find very unique about the image is that the emotion packed into it. This feels like an early shot from the film, likely after Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is exiled from his wolf family when Shere Khan (Idris Elba) returns to the jungle. While I haven’t been particularly high on the idea of a motion capture remake, this seems like a moment where the choice could lead to a surprisingly more emotional story. By rooting the film in Mowgli’s relationships (more than just Baloo and Bagheera) the film could really find a strong center. I do think this is well timed, and should give the film some extra gravitas when it hits theaters.
“Fantastic Beasts” also released a pair of images in the last week that give the film a little more buzz. The first was also featured in Empire, and focused exclusively on Newt Scamander.
Here we see Newt (Eddie Redmayne) walking quickly up stairs in New York City, while dozens of people are behind him. The street is bustling with activity, and the costumes look to solidify the 1920s style of the film. Newt also has his briefcase in hand, that in some capacity contains the creatures he is studying (similar to the novels of the recent “Goosebumps” adaptation). The second image, appearing in Entertainment Weekly, is a bit more curious.
Admittedly, much of the focus on this image is on Dan Fogler’s Muggle (or No-Mag) character. He seems taken aback by whatever is in the room in question, and with Redmayne’s expression, it seems like it’s likely one of the magical creatures we’re hearing so much about. Fogler can be a gifted comedian in the right setting, and it seems like they have found a way to bring those aspects to life in the still. If he plays a mixture between Vernon Dursley and a more reluctant character like Bilbo Baggins, they might have struck gold with the casting.
With still a few months until each film is released, I’m sure this is just the start of the images and teases we can expect. Until then, it’ll be exciting to speculate about the paths the various films will follow.
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is set to release on November 18th, 2016.
“The Jungle Book” is set to release on April 15th, 2016.