An adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's classic tale of Mowgli the jungle boy who is raised by wolves after being lost when a tiger attacked an encampment and killed his father. Years later he ... See full summary »
Jungle boy Mowgli (voiced by Osment) decides to forsake civilized village life for the "bare necessities" of the wild with his old friends. However, the evil tiger Shere Khan is looking for a little payback after Mowgli's last adventure. Trouble's a-brewing! Written by
Another bland Disney sequel, and this one actually made it into theatres
Even though this film was made over thirty years later, it is a sequel to the 1967 Disney flick, "The Jungle Book", the last animated feature produced by Walt Disney himself, which was released the year after he died. I watched the 1967 film from beginning to end for perhaps the first time in January this year (I definitely saw at least SOME of it in my childhood, but I'm not sure exactly how much), and was not let down, as my review of it will tell you. It's been nearly three months since then, and it's taken me this long the get around to watching and reviewing this 2003 sequel, "The Jungle Book 2", made after so many other animated features produced by the Disney company after the man's death in 1966. I've seen several direct-to-video Disney sequels, most of which have been pretty bland, and this is a bland theatrical Disney sequel.
Mowgli now lives in the "man village" with adoptive parents and a younger stepbrother named Ranjan. He is good friends with Shanti, the girl who lured him out of the jungle and into this village. However, he misses the jungle and his old friend, Baloo, and the friendly bear happens to be missing him. Baloo manages to make his way to the village, escaping from the elephants who try to stop him. Mowgli is obviously glad to see him, but when Shanti sees the bear, she thinks he means harm and screams for help! Baloo runs back into the jungle with Mowgli on his shoulders, and Shanti thinks her friend has been kidnapped, so she follows them. Mowgli and his bear friend are now back together, while Shanti and Ranjan search through the jungle for the boy. Unfortunately, the evil Shere Khan is also looking for the jungle boy, seeking revenge on him! Another problem for Mowgli on this adventure is that he finds himself unsure of whether he wants to live in the jungle with Baloo or in the village with Shanti and his adoptive family.
A major problem with this sequel, one it didn't take long at all for me to notice, is definitely the humour. The film starts with Mowgli in the village, and nothing here made me laugh or even smile. When we see the jungle animals in this film, it's still not funny, even with the return of such characters as Baloo, Kaa, and the vultures. Sure, we have more of their antics here, but unlike before, they're not funny. In fact, nothing in the entire film made me laugh or smile at all, even if I may have very seldom come close! Another complaint I have about this "Jungle Book" sequel is that the Ranjan character is too noisy! I guess this is supposed to be funny as well, but it's not. Around the beginning, after Mowgli and Ranjan trick Shanti and make her fall in the water, she calls them, "Horrible, stinky boys!" What a cheesy line! Throughout the film, I did not find myself very interested in the plot (it may copy that of the original a little too much), and I think I had trouble following the "W-I-L-D" song because it was so uninteresting to me. There may be some mild suspense towards the end, and some parts later on may even be fairly poignant (or at least close to it), but these things are certainly not enough to make "The Jungle Book 2" worth watching.
The first sequel to an animated Disney feature was "The Rescuers Down Under" from 1990. That film was released in theatres, but most of the animated Disney sequels have been direct-to-video, starting with "The Return of Jafar", the first of two sequels to 1992's "Aladdin". "The Jungle Book 2" was released the year after "Return to Never Land", which I haven't seen, but I know that it's a sequel to the 1953 Disney feature, "Peter Pan". Unlike most other Disney sequels, these two actually had a theatrical run, and I don't know about the "Peter Pan" sequel (though it wouldn't surprise me if I saw that it's the same as most of them), but this "Jungle Book" sequel is just like another direct-to-video one and probably should have been just that. As one would expect, since this sequel was made decades after the original, the animation is more advanced here, but it's so bland compared to its predecessor that I don't really care. I'm not sure whether I should be giving this a 4 or a 5 out of 10, but neither of those are high ratings. 1967's "The Jungle Book" is good animated family entertainment for many of those who want that, but this 2003 sequel might be just for kids.
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