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“The Jungle Book” breathes new life through technology

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The Classic piece, ”The Jungle Book” of Rudyard Kipling has been built on with a new vision and cutting edge technology by the director Jon Favreau in his new animation movie.

The director says he has blended technology with the old story to honour the original and at the same time appeal to new audiences with his animation offering.

The director also asserted that with the film, which will come out in Indian theatres on April 8, a week before it releases in the US, he has tried to push the envelope by embracing new technology to create a virtual world.

Favreau, who began his career in the industry as an actor in “Rudy”, sat down to explain his vision at Hollywood’s The El Capitan Theatre here with selected media persons from all across the world.

Why remake a classic? Why give it a technological twist? These are the questions that Favreau set out to answer around Disney’s film, which brings a story straight from the enchanting forests of India and presents a modern take on Kipling’s classic, originally published in 1894.

Favreau said that he was motivated by Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn to take the technological route for the film.

“The idea of going out to the jungle and shooting this, it just felt like it wouldn’t have the magic that the 1967 film had had. There was a dreamlike quality to it. There was a surreal quality to it. It was a high-water mark for character animation and to me, that’s what I remember about it. And so I wanted to make sure we preserved that.

“But what Horn said was: look at the technology. Look at ‘Life of Pi’, ‘Avatar’. Why not use the technology to create a whole world that transports you? Let’s really embrace this new technology and see what we can do if we push its limit.”

The live-action epic adventure showcases Mowgli’s journey of self-discovery when he’s forced to abandon his home in the forest. And Neel Sethi, who traces his roots to India and plays Mowgli, is only just being in an otherwise animation film.

The film is supported by a stellar voice-over cast including Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken.

Favreau also presented a glimpse of his vision by screening portions of the film.

The director explained that by re-imagining the film “you are serving many masters…you are trying to honour the memory, preconceived memory of people who grew up with it, but you are also trying to make a movie that appeals to the full audience — that is ethically what we set out to do”.

“We are trying to pay tribute, and we can also see that with the visual effects, we are pushing the technology. We are mixing the old story with cutting-edge technology,” he added.

So, how was the film made?

“We went back to the structure of it and saw what Kipling did because he offered a lot. We kind of picked between the two. The story structure of the 1967 film was good and offered a lot; so I stuck to it as much as I could. What I have tried to do is to focus on the images that I remember from it before going back to look at it again,” he said.

He is brimming with joy after using “level of artistry and technology” to narrate a story with “humour and emotion, and showing nature, animals, and getting into that real deep mythic imagery that I think always marries well with technology, and always has.”(IANS)

(The writer’s trip is at the invitation of Disney. Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at sugandha.r@ians.in)(Image-aretheyoldenough.com)

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India 2nd in Government Requests for Users’ Data on Facebook

In the second half of 2018, Facebook identified 53 disruptions of Facebook services in nine countries, compared to 48 disruptions in eight nations in the first half of 2018

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FILE - A man poses for a photo in front of a computer showing Facebook ad preferences in San Francisco, California, March 26, 2018. VOA

The Indian government requested Facebook to provide data for 20,805 users (including 861 emergency requests) — second only to the US government — in the July-December 2018 period and the social networking giant provided some data in 53 per cent of the cases.

During the second half of 2018, the volume of content restrictions based on local law increased globally by 135 per cent — from 15,337 to 35,972.

“This increase was primarily driven by 16,600 items we restricted in India based on a Delhi High Court order regarding claims made about PepsiCo products,” said Facebook in its latest Transparency Report for the second half of 2018.

The US government asked for users’ data in 41,336 cases wherein Facebook provided some information in 88 per cent of the cases.

“In the second half of 2018, government requests for user data increased globally by seven per cent from 103,815 to 110,634,” Chris Sonderby, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Facebook, said in a statement late Thursday.

“Of the total volume, the US continues to submit the highest number of requests, followed by India, the UK, Germany and France,” he added.

In a separate post, Facebook said it removed more than three billion fake accounts in the October 2018-March 2019 period, saying that about 5 per cent of its monthly active users were fake.

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FILE – The Facebook app icon is shown on an iPhone in New York. VOA

Facebook disabled 1.2 billion accounts in Q4 2018 and 2.19 billion in Q1 2019.

“For fake accounts, the amount of accounts we took action on increased due to automated attacks by bad actors who attempt to create large volumes of accounts at one time,” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president for integrity, said in a blog post.

According to Rosen, for every 10,000 times people who view content on Facebook, 11 to 14 views contained content that violate the platform’s adult nudity and sexual activity policy.

In the second half of 2018, Facebook identified 53 disruptions of Facebook services in nine countries, compared to 48 disruptions in eight nations in the first half of 2018.

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“This half, India accounted for 85 per cent of total new global disruptions,” the company informed.

In this period, on Facebook and Instagram, the company took down 2,595,410 pieces of content based on 511,706 copyright reports; 215,877 pieces of content based on 81,243 trademark reports; and 781,875 pieces of content based on 62,829 counterfeit reports.

“In Q1 2019, we took action on about 900,000 pieces of drug sale content, of which 83.3 per cent we detected pro-actively. In the same period, we took action on about 670,000 pieces of firearm sale content, of which 69.9 per cent we detected pro-actively,” added Rosen. (IANS)