A brand spanking new version of Disney’s The Jungle Book is nearly upon us, and it’s already been attracting RAVE reviews Stateside. It’s directed by Jon Favreau, the man who gave us Iron Man, Cowboys & Aliens and Elf. Here are the reasons why the 49-year-old actor-director is the perfect man to bring Rudyard Kipling’s beloved story to the big screen...
1. He makes great family-friendly movies
Apart from the first two Iron Man movies, let’s not forget that this is the man who gave the world one of the all-time great Christmas flicks – Elf. A perennial festive fave now, the movie told the story of Buddy (Will Ferrell), an innocent, candy-lovin’ elf in search of his real father. If you’ve never seen it, you’re living half a life.
2. He’s a massive
Jungle Book fan
Favreau has gone into this with a deep love of the book and of the 1967 Disney classic. And although this “live-action” version (well, kind of – only Neel Sethi’s Mowgli is flesh and blood, everything else had been animated via CGI to look photo-real) is very different to the 60s movie, Favreau has littered it with sneaky references to the original.
3. He’s never directed a duff movie
The first Iron Man is a strong contender for the title of Best Ever Marvel Movie (and of course it kick-started the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008), whilst Iron Man 2 is a fantastic sequel, introducing SHIELD into the MCU, and Elf, as we know, is a bullet-proof Xmas classic. Zathura, meanwhile, is a magical, and quite underrated, family fantasy; Cowboys & Aliens is an incredibly fun genre mashup; and Chef is a charming feel-good drama with a winning lead performance from Favreau himself.
4. He’s an actor’s director
As an actor himself, he knows how to talk to actors. So, given the inexperience and youth of The Jungle Book’s headliner, 12-year-old Neel Sethi, few other directors could have got the extraordinary performance that Favreau managed out of his young star.
5. He wants to pay tribute to the book as much as to the Disney film
We love the animated film, we really do, but it’s important to remember that the film was based on a book, and as such it took certain liberties. Rudyard Kipling’s novel was an instant classic when it was published in 1894, and Favreau’s film takes as much from the book as it does from the Disneyfied 1967 movie.
Excited? Well, The Jungle Book swings into Cineworld on 15th April.