The Bear Neccessities are Back

A new chapter opens in the life of Mowgli and friends, this time filled with original music. Jungle Book 2 lets you “hear the jungle rhythm” while maintaining the “bare necessities” of life.

Based upon the Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, Disney’s animated film the Jungle Book 2, directed by Steve Trenbirth, picks up where the first left off, on the opposite side of the river in the man village. Mowgli, (Haly Joel Osment, The Sixth Sense), the young boy who was raised in the jungle, struggles with adjusting to his new life among people and longing to revisit his jungle friends.

In a mere 72 minutes, Jungle Book 2 intertwines a coming of age story, a love story (with Mowgli’s new girlfriend), a pinch of action and a whole lot of song and dance routines. And of course we see plenty of familiar faces: papa bear Baloo (John Goodman, Roseanne) as well as the jungle tiger antagonist Shere Khan (Tony Jay).

Wrapped in a nice and neat bow, the Jungle Book 2 relays the old saying that “you can take the boy out of the jungle, but you can’t take the jungle out of the boy.” It helps to reveal the jungle animal deep within us all.

What the film lacks most is any special cinematography. The effects seemed old and worn, not encompassing the developments used in recent animated films or innovative computer graphics.

The shortness of the script and underdeveloped plot could have sent the film straight to video. Although the film threw in a few light moments of humor, the original Jungle Book may have been better left alone. Perhaps it’s not the most sophisticated film, but the majority of the music is, as Baloo says, pretty w-i-i-i-i-i-i-l-d! If you’re looking to reclaim a bit of your youth, you might want to check this one out, but you might do better to hit Tower Video’s Kids section. The original Jungle Book is still ruler of the forest.

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