If you have an unhealthy obsession with CGI animals, Netflix's upcoming adaptation of The Jungle Book has likely been on your radar. No, this isn't related to director John Favreau's version of the story from 2016, which introduced a large roster of mildly creepy computer-generated creatures to the world and made over $900 million at the box office. Instead, this is the long in development and recently retitled Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, and it's dropping on Netflix sooner than expected on December 7.
What makes this one special? For one thing, it was directed by Andy Serkis, the reigning king of motion-capture who played Gollum in The Lord of the Rings series, Caesar in the recent Planet of the Apes films, and King Kong himself in Peter Jackson's remake from 2005. As an actor, he clearly knows his shit when it comes to giving a performance as a non-human creature while covered in ping-pong balls. But will the animals in Mowgli -- which features a stacked voice cast including Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, and, the new Mr. Grinch himself, Benedict Cumberbatch -- have the same depth and emotional richness as Serkis's most memorable roles?
Judging only from the trailer, the answer is unclear. For the most part, these animals look… unwell. There's a stillness to the eyes that calls to mind Big Mouth Billy Bass and the overall vibe of the trailer is "taxidermy nightmare." Maybe that's a part of the film's "dark" and "ambitious" visual approach. Let's take a closer look at a few of these guys.