Andy Serkis’ Promises a ‘Quite Dark’ ‘Jungle Book’ Will Scare Kids
If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s when children’s movies are appropriate for children. Bright colors? Happy messages? Reaffirming the innocence of youth? Pshaw!
If you’re a fan of grim and gritty kids movies, you should be on the lookout for Jungle Book from Andy Serkis. He’s the guy who’s making the Rudyard Kipling classic into a live-action movie with a lot of digital effects. Okay, so technically he’s the second guy who’s making Kipling’s book into a live-action movie with a lot of digital effects, after Jon Favreau. And to separate his Jungle Book (now just Jungle Book after first being referred to as Jungle Book: Origins) from the last one, he told Vulture he plans to make his version a bit darker than Favreau’s:
It’s a PG-13, more a kind of Apes movie, a slightly darker take, closer to Rudyard Kipling’s ... It’s great to scare kids in a safe environment because it’s an important part of development, and we all loved to be scared as kids, so we shouldn’t overly protect them.
“Kids are so sophisticated and that is why our Jungle Book is quite dark,” Serkis added. As a new dad, these are all good pointers for me. I can’t wait to terrify my daughter!
Kidding aside, it’s interesting that Serkis is trying to differentiate his Jungle Book from Favreau’s by going dark, when Favreau’s Jungle Book was already pretty dark to begin with. (From my review of the film: “The movie is so frightening that some TV ads for the PG-rated adventure feature an unusual disclaimer warning potential audiences about ‘scenes that may be intense for young viewers.’ If Mowgli were a paying customer, in other words, he wouldn’t be old enough to watch his own movie.”) Disney’s recent Jungle Book had brutal battles and jungles on fire and giant gorilla chasing tiny kids through ancient ruins and swarming armies of monkeys. Like, how do you top that in the darkness department? Graphic animal beheadings? Animals spouting profanity like Quentin Tarantino characters?
It’s like a dark kids film arms race and the end result are movies that are wildly inappropriate for adults, much less kids. It recalls that great Spinal Tap scene where the band is looking at their album and Nigel says “How much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.” Serkis’ Jungle Book is scheduled to open in theaters on October 19, 2018.