THE STORY SO FAR:
Walt Disney’s jumpin’ jungle classic continues in this special edition of THE JUNGLE BOOK 2 — with all your favorite characters from the original toe-tappin’ classic and more swingin’ songs! Mowgli has been living in the man-village with his little stepbrother Ranjan and his best friend Shanti. But the man-cub still has that jungle rhythm in his heart and he misses his old buddies Baloo and Bagheera. When Mowgli wanders back to the wild for some swingin’ fun he soon finds Baloo isn’t the only one waiting for him — the man-eating tiger Shere Khan is lurking in the shadows and planning his revenge. If he is to defeat his nemesis Mowgli will need the help of both his old friends and his new family. With an all-new “Mowgli’s Story Time Adventure” game music videos and more THE JUNGLE BOOK 2 SPECIAL EDITION will have the whole family roaring for more!
- Games & Activities
- – New! Mowgli’s Story Time Adventure
- – Mowgli’s Jungle Ruins Maze
- Music Videos
- – “I Wanna Be Like You” Performed by Smash Mouth
- – “W-I-L-D”
- – “Jungle Rhythm”
- Deleted Scenes
- – “I Got You Beat”
- – “Braver”
- And More!
This 2003 sequel to the beloved 1967 Disney movie “The Jungle Book” is basically familiar territory that rarely strays far from the original as far as its characters, plot, and villains. Yet, it is an enjoyable romp that makes for a nice addition to the original. In the 5 years since its release, computer animation has come a long way, so some of the computer shadings and other effects seem almost primitive compared to what we are accustomed to; the harsh computer shading detracts a bit from the visual presentation. I don’t know that I would go to a theater to view this widescreen presentation, but for a home video release, it is right on the money.
Storywise, Mowgli has been living in the village with humans for about 4 years; Baloo misses Mowgli, and Mowgli is having a hard time forgetting the jungle, despite the fact that he has become closer Shanti, the girl who enticed him to live in the jungle in the first place. Can you see it coming? Shanti’s fear of the jungle causes Mowgli to renounce the village, return to Baloo, and of course, Shere Khan is not far behind. Shanti & her little brother go after Mowgli, adding two more villagers for Shere Khan and Kaa to hunt. The catchy Sherman Brothers tunes from the original are re-used (“The Bare Necessities” and “I Wanna’ Be Like You”) as well as a few fun new original songs, “Jungle Rhythm” and “W-I-L-D”). Closing credits have the rock group Smash Mouth doing an awesome cover version of the song “I Wanna’ Be Like You.” The voice talent for the movie is impressive: John Goodman fills the mighty big shoes of the late Phil Harris as Baloo; Haley Joel Osment voices Mowgli; Jim Cummings is amazing as Kaa, and seems to be channeling Sterling Holloway; singer Phil Collins does admirably as one of the vultures.
For the extras, there is a good amount of material here: Games & Activities include Mowgli’s Story Time Adventure Game. This one uses the 2 dimensional shadow puppets featured in this films opening credits. Players punch the arrow keys on their remote to match what they see on screen. It’s a bit of a yawn, and there are no fun prizes/extras when you complete the game. Mowgli’s Jungle Ruins Maze is much better; players use their remote to find their way through a maze, and along the way they must answer questions about different animals; a nice mix of fun and education. Music Videos on the DVD include the Smash Mouth cover as well as the 2 original songs from the film, “W-I-L-D” and “Jungle Rhythm.” A few deleted scenes are included along with explanation by Sharon Morrill (former head of Disney Toon Studios) and Matt Walker (Sr. VP of Music); the main reason scenes were deleted were to put the story focus back on Mowgli and not Shanti. Quick access to songs in the movie is included here, as well as a karaoke version of the movie. “Backstage Disney” includes a Reader’s Digest version of the original movie and a featurette detailing the making of the movie; the featurette is really about the best bonus; it is fun to see and hear from the voice talents as well as the creative team, who does appear very excited about the movie, albeit a little self-congratulatory and over-praising.
The DVD is a fun release that shows off a lot of information for being a DTV sequel. Still, it’s fun and looks great. Look past the bias of the video era Disney stuff to see a worth heir to the original. Plus, your kids will love it. I recommend this title for a buy.
- Video: A transfer that is pretty good.
- Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
- Extras: Games, Featurettes and more!
- Packaging: Keepcase in a Slipcover
- Final Score: 94% – A
RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!