The Jungle Book 2 is one of the rare Disney sequels that actually made it to theatres. Does that mean that it’s above average as far as Disney sequels go? It’s definitely pretty to look at, has a decent story, but it’s still nothing extraordinary.
You know what makes me excited about The Jungle Book 2 Blu-ray? That it’s not packaged together with any other movie. I love that Disney gave The Jungle Book its own release and is starting to move away from the two-movie collection trend. This gives people who actually really want to own The Jungle Book 2 the opportunity to do so. So from me to Disney: thank you.
The Jungle Book 2 picks up basically where The Jungle Book left off. Mowgli now lives in the man village and–surprise surprise!–he misses the jungle and old friends. He tries to make it work in the village, but eventually Baloo comes to take him back to the jungle so they can live it up like they used to, even singing “Bare Necessities” and all. His friend Shanti (you know, the girl with the big goo-goo eyes from the end of the first film) is afraid of the jungle, but ventures into the jungle to save him. Trouble brews and old enemies lurk in the shadows, looking for the perfect opportunity to seize Mowgli and get pay back.
For a Disney sequel, The Jungle Book 2 is actually pretty nice to look at. Animation technology had definitely come a long way since 1967 when this film was released in 2003. The film is colorful, vibrant, rich and textured in a way that the first one was not. That being said, you definitely feel a bit of stiffness in the actual animation itself, making you realize the great talents of Disney’s original animation masters. But other than that, the look and feel of this film is nothing to scoff at.
The story is fun, but takes a lot of popular beats from the original. We are again back in the jungle and hear “Bare Necessities” at three different points during the film. I know they wanted to harken back to what made the first film so good, but it really felt that they were instead holding onto those elements and repeating what we already saw. Unfortunately, for this reason, the film falls a bit flat because it feels trite and unoriginal.
There are no new features added to this collection. There are some great little bonus features included from the original DVD release that might be worth checking out. I particularly found the deleted scenes to be fun. These included two deleted songs with introductions by some of the filmmakers. Another great piece was “The Legacy of The Jungle Book”, which is basically a making-of featurette. I actually really enjoyed this…a lot. They bring in the songwriters, voice actors, directors and more. It really adds a lot of depth and humanity to the movie. You realize “Wow, there were real people who spent years of their lives making this movie.” Plus you learn interesting bits of Disney history along the way.
The other featurettes aren’t really that great. There is one that basically summarizes the events of the first movie, so that you are up to speed when you watch the sequel. We also get some sing-along songs and music videos.
The Jungle Book 2 capitalizes on the success of the first film by rehashing it’s most popular elements. There isn’t much new or fresh about the sequel that makes it worth watching, unless you just really are dying for more of The Jungle Book world and characters.