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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Children > Comedy > Musical > The Jungle Book 2 – Special Edition (Disney DVD)

The Jungle Book 2 – Special Edition (Disney DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Film: C+



The Bear Necessities has somehow turned into Barely Watchable!  Though there have been a plethora of sad Disney sequels released in the past, the trend has seemingly slowed; and the occurrence is greatly appreciated.  The Jungle Book 2 as released in theaters across the USA in 2003, over 35 years after the 1967 classic was released.  Now why Disney feels they have the right or ability to stirrup the past is still unbeknownst to this reviewer, but for whatever reason they seem to do it time and time again.  Sometimes it is better to just leave the classics alone *cough George Lucas *cough*.   Since most of the original cast had long since passed (excluding Bruce Reitherman who played Mowgli as a boy) the Jungle Book 2 enlisted a whole new cast, which included the voice talents of John Goodman as Baloo and Haley Joel Osment as Mowgli.  The film is not a complete loss, still possessing some of the old fun and heart of the first film, but for lack of better words, it just can not compare to the original.


The short running 72 minute film takes place four years after Baloo took Mowgli back to the man village in the first film.  Old enemies and friends show up in this lax sequel, as well as some new friends and enemies.  Baloo returns to the man village to visit his little buddy, but the old duo is soon discovered by Shanti (the girl that captivated Mowgli in the original film) and she lets out a cry for help.  Shanti and Mowgli had just recently been fighting and were not currently speaking, but she still felt compelled to save him from a seemingly ferocious bear.  Papa Bear and his cub buddy run off into the jungle just as Mowgli’s old nemesis Shere Khan arrives to enact his revenge on the boy; sadly for Kahn the man village sees him as the reason for the distress call.  Shanti and Mowgli’s little brother Ranjan follow the bear and the boy into the jungle, but manage to get caught up in a mess with the slitheringly seductive snake Kaa.  In Kaa’s trance Shanti almost gets eaten, but Ranjan at the last minute comes to her rescue.  Bagheera (Mowgli’s old panther guardian) discovers that the boy has left the village and sets out to find him.  Together with old friends and his new family by his side Mowgli will have to face his old foe Shere Kahn, but will the bear and the boy still have what it takes to show the old tiger who’s boss?


The technical features on this 1-Disc special edition barely slide by as an upgrade compared to the 2003 DVD release.  The picture has not been remastered at all and still has color, contrast, and crispness issues in its 1.66 X 1 Widescreen image.  Whereas the picture presentation is not a complete disgrace by any means (only being 5 years old), it still shows some wear that Disney could and should easily fix up for the future.  The sound is lackluster in its Dolby Digital 5.1 surrounds and the songs don’t ‘pop’ quite as well as they should, especially as compared to better Disney Platinum and Blu-Ray releases.


The extras are very child oriented, like most Disney Special Edition (not Platinum) releases.  Extras includes two games Mowgli’s Jungle Ruins Maze and Mowgli’s Story Time Adventure, which are not exciting on any front and this reviewer even feels children would be quickly bored by the choppy controls.  Also include on the extras are some music videos by bands like Smash Mouth who rerecord the song ‘I Wanna Be Like You’ from the original Jungle Book; once again harkening back to better times.  The few deleted scenes neither add nor detract from the film, but that is not saying much.  Overall, the extras were just adequate and did little to stimulate an already underwhelming film.


Would this reviewer recommend watching the Jungle Book 2?  As a Disney aficionado the answer would have to be a definite yes; but as just a casual viewer there are much better animated features to watch.  The film in no way lived up to the original and felt more like the child of a Rock Star riding the coattail of dear old dad.  It’s a jungle out there and not all creatures are friendly.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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