Live-Action 'Jungle Book' Promises To Stay True To Dark Material — These 5 Disney Movies Sure Didn't
There has been a lot of talk about famous Disney-adapted concepts getting darker makeovers, often putting the story closer to its original source material. The Sofia Coppola-directed live-action version of The Little Mermaid was announced a few weeks ago and promises a darker take on the tale. Now, we're in for another live-action version of a former Disney animated film: Andy Serkis is bringing Steve and Callie Kloves' version of The Jungle Book to screen, and, from current reports, it seems that this version will definitely not feature singing bears and friendly orangutans.
Serkis, who is most famous for taking on CGI-heavy roles like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and the chimp Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, is all about embracing the dark source material. Serkis tells The Hollywood Reporter, "What I love about the screen adaptation by Steve and Callie Kloves is it's very truthful to the original book; it doesn’t shy away from its darkness. The jungle is a Garden of Eden and a wonderful place for Mowgli to grow up in, but also is a place of fear and a place of threat."
For those of you who are curious, the original book, by Rudyard Kipling, is a series of stories about Mowgli, the "jungle boy" who is raised by the animals. Except it's not all that cute. Some scenes within the book are actually plenty disturbing, filled with threatening animals AND humans who want to do Mowgli and the animals in the book harm. Obviously, the Disney animated version did not really touch upon this, but the new movie just might.
It's not the first Disney film to totally change the tone of a story. Here's how some Disney animated films could have ended had they embraced the dark side of their respective stories.
The Little Mermaid
What Happened In The Animated Version: Ariel sacrifices her voice in order to walk on land as a human, falls in love with a Prince, and marries him. Thanks to her under-the-sea pals, she gets her voice back and lives happily ever after.
What Happened In The Original: Uhh, lots of terrible things. In exchange for becoming human, Ariel's tongue is removed, and her human legs cause her endless pain. The prince she so longs for falls in love with and marries someone else, and she is given the choice of murdering him in order to return to the sea. She can't do it, so she commits suicide. Fun.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
What Happened In The Animated Version: It's not exactly like this animated film is light-hearted fare: A corrupt Minister of Justice locks a kindly man with physical deformities, Quasimodo, in a bell tower in order to hide his appearance from the world. Quasimodo befriends a gypsy and saves her from being killed by the Minister of Justice, but still doesn't get the girl because... the handsome soldier does instead.
What Happened In The Original: Things are even worse for Quasimodo in the Victor Hugo novel. In the original version, the evil Frollo succeeds in having the gypsy Esmerelda killed, and even laughs during her execution. Quasimodo lays down next to her corpse and chooses to die alongside her. Romantic?
What Happened In The Animated Version: Snow White meets a Prince. She falls in love with the Prince. The Evil Queen poisons her with an apple in order to stop the marriage, but true love's kiss saves the day. Also, seven dwarves are involved.
What Happened In The Original: The Brothers Grimm tale had the witch try to kill Snow White three separate times — once, with a poison comb, once with a too-tight corset, and once with the poison apple. When the Queen's plot is revealed, the Queen is made to dance in shoes made of red-hot coals until she dies.
What Happened In The Animated Version: The evil Maleficent curses Princess Aurora so that she will fall into a deep sleep on her 16th birthday after pricking her finger on an enchanted needle. Of course, she will only be awakened by true love's kiss. Luckily, the day before her birthday, she just so happened to meet the love of her life, who rescues her with true love's kiss, kills Maleficent, and sweeps Aurora away.
What Happened In The Original: Sleeping Beauty is based on two stories: The Brothers Grimm's Briar Rose and Giambattista Basile's Sun, Moon, and Talia. In the first story, the princes who try to wake the beautiful princess die slow, painful deaths, as they get tangled up in the briar patch that leads to the castle. In the second story, a king rapes the princess while she sleeps, and impregnates her with twins. When the queen finds out about her husband's indiscretions she tries to have the children killed, but, luckily, the king is able to murder his own wife first. Phew!
What Happened In The Animated Version: A meek, shy girl with a love of rodents and birds gets transformed into a beautiful princess for a night in order to go to the ball. She falls in love with a prince who takes her away from her wicked stepmother and stepsisters.
What Happened In The Original: Let's just say that those sweet, singing birds weren't always so innocent. The Brothers Grimm tale plays out in the same way as the Disney version, with a few major differences. In order to fit into the glass slipper that Cinderella has dropped at the ball, the stepsisters slice off parts of their foot. When those little birds tell the Prince about their deceit, the sisters get their eyes pecked out for their trickery. And then everybody lived happily ever after!
Girl, I'd be running, too.