|Available at Amazon.com|
The Disney company has become known for a couple of things and they coincide with the death of Walt Disney himself. Before Walt died, Disney made some classic animated films that generations and generations of kids have enjoyed over and over again. But sadly after Walt died, the studio has become greedy as they insist on making sub par sequels to these classic animated films over and over again. The only reason for this seems to be money, since they know young kids aren’t the best critics of movies and they like to watch movies over and over again. Parents have to buy their kids these movies that don’t even come close to the originals. Worse yet, often times Disney doesn’t even hide the fact that these sequels are no good when they decide to blatantly rip-off the original film and just give us the same film with some new characters or story elements thrown in at the last second. Another example of this is The Jungle Book 2.
The film takes place five days after the last scene from original Jungle Book. Mowgli (voiced by Haley Joel Osment) is having trouble adjusting to the man village. His new foster father (John Rhys-Davies) forbids him and the other village children from ever crossing the river into the jungle. Of course, Mowgli decides to anyway, causing his friend Shanti (Mae Whitman) and new brother Ranjan (Connor Funk) to go in after him. Even after reuniting with his friend Baloo the bear (John Goodman), Mowgli somehow doesn’t feel at home in the jungle the way he once had. This may be due to the fact that’s he’s oblivious to old foes Kaa the snake (Jim Cummings) and Shere Khan (Tony Jay) coming after him for revenge.
Haley Joel Osment is the voice of Mowgli this time around, and he actually does a better job than Bruce Reitherman in the original film. Likewise for John Goodman, who is the voice of Baloo. Also, in the positive department besides the voice cast, is the animation. As you might expect it has improved since the original film. There is even some CGI stuff thrown in to really elevate The Jungle Book 2 in terms of looks.
But the negatives really outweigh the positives. You can’t really tell a difference between this film and the original. Even the famous song from the original, “Bare Necessities,” gets played over and over again during this film. The new songs for this film aren’t that special, so you can see why they tried to throw in the old classic songs from the original.
That is exactly the point, though. There was no need for this sequel to get made. It’s not a terrible film as kids today are sure to love it and want to watch it over and over again for a little bit; they just won’t remember it as fondly as their parents do of the original Jungle Book. In fact, “grown-up” kids without kids will probably even forget they watched it hours later, and will wonder why they even watched in the first place. Just stick to the originals, Disney family.
The video is given in both 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen color, which is enhanced for 16:9 TVs. The video is pretty sharp like it usually is for a Disney animated film. No major problems at all.
The audio included is available in either English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround sound, or French Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround sound. The dialogue and music come out loud and clear, so no major problems here either.
“Legacy of The Jungle Book” Featurette –
This runs 14 minutes and it briefly talks about how good the first film was. We also get some interviews and “behind-the-scenes” footage with the cast and crew. Pretty interesting, but nothing special.
“Original Jungle Book Synopsis” Featurette –
This runs 3 minutes and it’s basically a short recap of the original Jungle Book film. Not really needed since most people won’t watch this movie without watching the original first.
“Mowgli’s Jungle Ruin Maze” Game –
This game combines navigation with a quiz about animals. It’s okay, but kids can get bored with this easily.
“Mowgli’s Story Time Adventure” Game –
In this game, all you do is press an arrow key to have a kid challenge the storyteller and back it up to tell it a different way. There is no point to this and you get no reward at the end. Disappointing new addition.
Disney Song Selection –
This is an option to play the all nine songs in the film onscreen singly or together, with or without lyrics.
“Sing with the Movie” Feature –
This is an option to watch the film with subtitles at the bottom during the songs, so that you can sing-along.
Music Videos –
There are music videos for “W-I-L-D” and “Jungle Rhythm” from the movie, and a version of “I Wanna Be Like You” performed by Smash Mouth. They are what they are.
Deleted Scenes –
There are two deleted scenes that are roughly drawn. These are both musical numbers. “I Got You Beat” became “Jungle Rhythm”, but this one was far catchier. The other deleted scene, “Braver”, is nothing special.
The Jungle Book 2 is beautifully animated, but it was really not needed. Hardcore fans of the original Jungle Book may enjoy this, since it is almost completely like the original, but then again they may hate since it’s such a carbon copy. Kids will likely enjoy this as well, but in the end if you only see Jungle Book, you won’t be sad if you miss the sequel. It’s a rental at best.
Walt Disney Home Video presents The Jungle Book 2. Directed by Steve Trenbirth. Written by Carter Crocker and Karl Geurs. Starring John Goodman, Haley Joel Osment, Mae Whitman, Conor Funk, and Bob Joles. Running time: 72 minutes. Rated G. Released on DVD: June 17, 2008. Available at Amazon.com