Wow, Sabah's Forests Actually Inspired These Gorgeous Scenes In 'The Jungle Book'!

It all started when a university graduate went on a 10-week adventure in Sabah 10 years ago.

  • Disney recently brought a childhood favourite to life with the live action remake of 'The Jungle Book' featuring newcomer Neel Sethi as Mowgli and pretty lifelike CGI of the animal characters we loved as kids

  • Astoundingly humanlike animal characters aside, the movie also boasts picturesque jungle landscapes that look so real you'd be hard-pressed to believe they're actually digitally recreated!

  • While the better part of the environments were based on India's remote jungles where the story is set in...

  • Helen Brownell - one of the movie's visual effects artists - revealed that she'd actually drew inspiration for some of the landscapes you see in the movie from her adventures in Sabah 10 years ago!

    • Brownell, who has also served as a digital artist for Marvel blockbuster 'Guardians of the Galaxy' and 'Exodus: Gods and Kings', signed up for a Raleigh International volunteer team who was sent to Malaysian Borneo in 2006.

      Raleigh International is a sustainable development charity who works in remote and rural areas to improve access to safe water and sanitation, build community resilience, sustainably manage natural resources, and to protect vulnerable environments. Headquartered in the UK, the body operates in Costa Rica, Malaysian Borneo, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Tanzania.

  • Brownell, who now works as a VFX artist for The Moving Picture Company, wrote that she was instantly reminded of her Borneo Expedition when she was tasked to work on 'The Jungle Book' in 2014

  • Brownell recalled spending a lot of time sketching the rivers and trees during her 10-week stint in Sabah, where she also trekked the Crocker range, climbed Mount Kinabalu, and spent three weeks at Imban Canyon

    • "I spent three weeks in Imbak Canyon, one of the most beautiful places I have and will ever have the privilege of staying. It wasn’t lost on me that only a handful of humans had been allowed to venture into this jungle, and we were lucky enough to be among them," she wrote.

  • "During the three weeks we came across various wildlife. I remember a few members of our group being astonished to find that bears live in the Jungle."

  • Brownell disclosed that her "adventure" had influenced a lot of the work she did for the film and hoped that audiences will "really get a sense of the jungle coming to life" when they see the movie

    • "Nothing can compare to the real experience of being in the jungle. But having the challenge of re-creating such an amazing environment in CGI was a real joy.

      "So many things during the project would spark up memories of my Borneo adventure. I was excited to re-create some of the beautiful and unique environments from my trip, and let my adventure influence a lot of the work I did towards the jungle in the film.

      "I hope that when you see the film, you really get a sense of the jungle coming to life. There are hundreds of species of plants and trees and animals reflecting the rich variety of life. The team at MPC worked hard to create a ‘photo-real’ environment, full of diversity and attention to detail," she wrote.

  • "It was nice to be reminded of my real jungle book. I can only hope to return again one day."

    • You can read the full account of Helen Brownell's 10-week adventure in Sabah here.

  • Hollywood should really make more movies based in Malaysia's natural landscapes, coz we've got some of the best around the world:

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