HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Jungle Book 2
HTS Overall Score:70
Disney sequels are usually hit or miss. Sometimes they’re absolutely mind bogglingly bad, and other times they are quite good. It’s pretty much a given that it will never be as good as the original unless it’s one of those that gets the full theatrical treatment, but those are few and far between. “The Jungle Book” is one of Disney’s best animated classics and it still holds up today after 47 years. The sequel doesn’t hold up quite as good, and will likely turn off those of you who grew up with the original, but it serves as decent kiddy fare for those of you with kids. It never is a bad film, but it tries so VERY hard to revitalize the charm of the original that it nearly gives itself a coronary. The feel of the film seems to go right along with the old Disney animated TV shows of the early 90’s and really doesn’t rise above that type of kiddy humor and allow it to cross over into the adult demographic that so many of the original classics had the ability to do.
Mowgli (Haley Joel Osment) is only months past the time of the original film and seems to be fitting into the human world quite well. His only problem is that there is still that longing for the Jungle that just won’t go away. On the flip side of the map, Baloo (John Goodman) the bear and Bagheera (Bob Joles) the panther are still missing their old pal Mowgli. After nearly scaring his adopted father to death (John Rhys-Davies) Mowgli is grounded and commanded to never venture out into the jungle again. This, of course, gets overturned when Baloo foolishly decides to visit his old pal in the middle of the night, only to turn nasty when Shere Khan decides to make a nightly visit as well. Running off into the Jungle, Mowgli and Baloo frantically try to escape the clutches of the vengeful Shere Khan, only to be followed by Shanti (Mae Whitman) and her younger brother Ranjan (Connor Funk) who are trying to rescue their friend from this “monstrous” bear.
Once into the Jungle, Mowgli is enjoying the time of his life, skipping around without a care in the world and basking in the freedom that he once had. The other side of him is secretly hoping that Shanti and his family would come looking for him, for every young boy truly wants to feel wanted and accepted. Shanti soon DOES find the boy and Mowgli has to make a decision, which way he wants to go. To stay with his childhood jungle friends, or carve a future for himself in the world of man. Shere Khan soon shows up to force the decision and Baloo, Mowgli and Shanti are in for a wild ride in a frantic effort to stay alive in the jungle.
“The Jungle Book 2” suffers from many of the other flaws that Disney sequels have. Too much childish humor, a lackluster grasp on what made the original great, and mediocre musical talents. The film rides along in that sort of cheesy early morning cartoon stuff that Disney dabbled in during the 90s and early 2000 era, completely missing the humor and feel of the original film. The limited budget doesn’t really help even though the Voice talents of John Goodman and Tony Jay pull the film up from the mire of so many other DTV sequels. No one can replace the great George Sanders for his vocalizations of Shere Khan, but Tony Jay does a very good job of keeping the same tone and feel of the beast. Phil Harris’ lively personality is sorely missed, but John Goodman’s fantastic vocal work fills in the gap and creates a serviceable Baloo. The rest of the cast are really filler characters and are really only there to say “ahh I remember him!”.
Now don’t get me wrong, the film isn’t horrible, but it’s really kiddy fare. If you grew up with the original I can pretty much guarantee that you’re going to dislike the film. My nephews and nieces have always like the movie and that’s really the market that Disney was aiming for with these sequels. With a little more effort in the songs and reworked storyline, this could have turned out more salvageable for adults, but it’s hard to keep the same feel and tone when the sequel is created 37 years AFTER the original.
Rated G for General Audiences
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=15102[/img]Usually Disney sequels are running around with decades old masters and have some nasty DNR and other digital tampering baked into the master. Thankfully that’s not the case here. The 1.69:1 AVC transfer looks EXQUISITE, and that’s taking into account the fact that the sequel had a much diminished budget from the first including inflation. The colors are bright and cheerful, with lots of jungle greens and brows to saturate the screen. The lava pit has rich oranges that can match Shere Khan’s fur with equal aplomb. Detail is quite clean without a lot of DNR to mess up the picture. There’s limited grain, so it’s apparent that some DNR was used, but there’s not messed up outlines and smeared faces to suggest that it was used liberally. Black levels are solid and give some great shadow detail in the murky jungle. Overall a very fine encode that should please just about everyone.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=15101[/img]The audio suffers a bit from the limited scope of a DTV sequel. The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is a bit front heavy and uses only some minimal surround usage. The dialogue is quite clean and centered, and the volume levels are quite pleasing to the ear. It’s only real downsides comes from the fact that it suffers from a limited budget. The surrounds come into effect during the battle with Shere Khan and a few other spots, but usually is relegated to being in use during the musical numbers. The anemic LFE didn’t help much either. While the film doesn’t have a ton of instances where the LFE is going to rock your socks off, but there were quite a few instances it would have been nice to have at least SOMETHING below 80hz kick in.
• Synopsis of the Original "Jungle Book"
• Legacy of "The Jungle Book"
• Deleted Scenes
• Sing Along with the Movie
• Music Videos
• Sneak Peaks
As I said earlier, “The Jungle Book 2” is a movie that will appeal to children, but most likely not to adults, and especially not to adults who grew up with the original film. It tries a bit too hard and falls into that category of “harmless kids fun” without the charm and charisma of the original “The Jungle Book”. It really is colorful and has that lighthearted Saturday morning cartoon flair that will certainly entertain the kiddies and the great video and solid audio will definitely work as a babysitter while you can get some peace and rest. Check it out if you’ve got kids in the house.
Starring: John Goodman, Haley Joel Osment, Tony Jay
Directed by: Steve Trenbirth
Written by: Karl Geurs
Aspect Ratio: 1.69:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish DD 5.1, English DD 2.0
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Rated: Rated G
Runtime: 72 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: March 18th, 2014
Buy The Jungle Book 2 Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: For the Kids
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