The Jungle Book 2

To say that The Jungle Book 2 is the best of the recent crop of Disney sequels is not exactly a compliment. It is, but it is still a very mediocre work. All of these sequels are completely unnecessary and probably only crass attempts to milk additional profits under the guise of family entertainment. The Jungle Book 2 succeeds on its marginal level because it is such a clone of the original. For the most part, the characters are the same. The animation is very similar. Some of the songs are even the same.

Mowgli (voiced by Haley Joel Osment, The Country Bears, A.I.) now lives in a village on the outskirts of the jungle. His new family forbids him from entering the jungle, which everybody believes is dangerous. Baloo (voiced by John Goodman, Monster's Inc., Storytelling) really misses Mowgli as does Shere Khan (voiced by Tony Jay, Treasure Planet, Recess: School's Out), although for vastly different reasons. After a misunderstanding, Mowgli runs away into the forest, and his friend Shanti (voiced by Mae Whitman, An American Rhapsody, Hope Floats) goes after him. Once in the forest, she runs into danger, and Mowgli must help her.

The general gist of the story is that family and friendship is important, and for some reason it took a huge number of writers including Carter Crocker (Return to Neverland), Karl Geurs (Pooh's Grand Adventure), David Reynolds (Atlantis), Tom Rogers (Cinderella II), Roger S.H. Schulman (Shrek) and Evan Spiliotopolous (Bare Witness) to come up with a standard children's moral that doesn't even clock in at full feature length and features material from the original. What exactly are all these people doing?

Children will enjoy The Jungle Book 2, and it is thankfully devoid of any of the pervasive flatulence jokes, but it feels so empty. It is missing the sheer joy of the original, or of any other quality children's films. Director Steve Trenbirth doesn't really do anything to make this movie stand out from any of the slew of sequels (video or otherwise) that Disney is releasing. For adults, the main reaction will be one of disappointment. The Jungle Book 2 takes a cherished childhood memory and cheapens it.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 15 minutes, Rated G.

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