So I missed being able to say much about The Jungle Book last week due to my running activities. I figured it would win the weekend, but didn’t imagine it would break $100 million for the frame. On the one hand, I’m not exactly thrilled that Disney’s having a third go-round with the material — and one that’s just a live-action version of their animated adaptation. I’d like to see these resources put towards something original. On the other, all indications are the film is fantastic, and I like Jon Favreau, so good on him. If you’re going to re-tread, at least re-tread well.
Re-tread seems to be a theme this week as well, since the sole wide release today feels like it wants to be Frozen oh so very badly. The Huntsman: Winter’s War is a prequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, and, like the title, takes Snow White out of the equation. Which feels like a net positive, since Kristen Stewart’s character was the worst thing about the first film. But since we know Charlize Theron’s evil queen and Chris Hemsworth’s huntsman both have to make it out of this film in one piece, I’m not seeing where the investment is going to come from. And adding Emily Blunt as a bald-faced clone of Elsa from Frozen doesn’t inspire a lot of hope that this will be anything to write home about. Word is most of the cast — Blunt, Hemsworth and Jessica Chastain — are in this mostly because they were contracted to do a movie for Universal and not because they were fired up about the material. And Theron got a huge payday. So we have product, not art, which rarely produces inspiring results. With Jungle Book still out there and likely holding well as word of mouth gets more people to check it out, I’m not sure this can open at #1.
But really, I’m in total “Please release Civil War right now” mode these days. Not quite the level I was at waiting for The Avengers in 2012, but it’s getting there. I’ve pretty much gone into lockdown as far as clips and spoilers go. I don’t want to get my hopes up too much, but after the dreary slog of Batman v Superman, I’m investing Civil War with more than a little optimism. I’m likely to give it a pass if it’s even a fraction more fun and heroic than BvS, which might not be entirely fair to either film. Then again, you don’t complain about the glass of water you get after your time in the desert.