THE JUNGLE BOOK 2: SPECIAL EDITION
MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
John Goodman as BALOO
Haley Joel Osment as MOWGLI
Mae Whitman as SHANTI
Connor Funk as RANJAN
Bob Joles as BAGHEERA
Tony Jay as SHERE KHAN
Directed by: Steve Trenbirth
BY KEVIN CARR
What’s actually more interesting than the film “The Jungle Book 2” was how it was released. While the original is a far superior film, this movie (which I believe was originally planned as a simple video release) grossed more than $130 million when it was dropped into theaters in 2003.
Nowadays, this film would have been just let loose onto the DVD market, but back in 2003, DVDs were still found with VHS tapes on the shelves, and the film served a market.
Not exactly a sequel to Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book,” this film follows Mowgli as he tries to integrate into human society. However, Mowgli still feels the call of the jungle, and his big friend Baloo wants him back as well.
One day, Mowgli heads back into the jungle to see old friends, and he’s followed by a girl from the village and her brother. At the same time, Shere Khan is seeking revenge on the man cub that defeated and humiliated him.
The thing that does make the movie work is the reuniting of old characters. With Phil Harris gone, John Goodman is brought in to voice Baloo, and he does a decent Phil Harris impression in the process. However, the blue tint to the bear makes him a little odd in the grand scheme of things.
The DVD comes with two activities – a storytime adventure and a maze game. There’s also music videos from the songs, including Smash Mouth’s cover of “I Wanna Be Like You.” Finally, there are two deleted scenes to enjoy.
Fans of “The Jungle Book” should enjoy this film for a chance to relive some of the characters, and the climax does get rather exciting as Shere Khan tries to exact revenge. However, with “The Jungle Book” being such a classic, it’s hard to top the original. In the sequel, the songs aren’t as good, the message isn’t as free and the animation (while more crisp and exact) isn’t nearly as endearing as the original.