Plot: What’s it about?
After his incredible adventures in the jungle, Mowgli has returned to the village to live with the other humans. He fits in well and makes some great friends, but something is missing in his life. He often thinks back on his time in the jungle and of course, the many friends he made there. The days of fun and frolic with Baloo and his other animal friends, though he also remembers the threat posed by Shere Khan. While he likes the village life, Mowgli is unable to resist the pull of the jungle and soon enough, he flees to rejoin his friends in the wild. As expected, he feels a rush of freedom in the jungle, but he also runs into Shere Khan, a reminder of the dangers that lurk there as well. Soon, Mowgli finds himself once again wrapped up in an adventure where must defeat Shere Khan, but this time, he’ll need more help than ever. That means he will need to unite his village friends with his jungle pals, but how will those two worlds mix? And can Mowgli ever find a balance between life with humans and life in the jungle to keep himself happy and balanced?
When you follow a beloved animated classic that was based on an acclaimed author’s work like The Jungle Book, you know a sequel is going to be scrutinized more than most. So no, The Jungle Book 2 isn’t often listed among the best animated movies and the overall reception was rather lukewarm. While I agree that it fails to spark that sense of magic like the original, I don’t think this movie was given a fair chance. In some cases, a sequel is harshly judged based on how it compares to the original, whereas if it were released as an unrelated feature, it might be more positively received. I think that is the case with The Jungle Book 2, as it is a solid animated adventure, but again, falls short of the standard set by the first movie. One problem I do have is that the world seems to have basically stood still since the original, as if little to no time has passed, and little has happened. If the world was changed or characters evolved, perhaps things would have seemed more fresh. I also think that an older, more mature Mowgli would have helped, since he hardly seems to have aged at all. Even so, this is a fun animated film that has colorful visuals and a lot to like for Disney devotees. So if you were a fan of The Jungle Book and want more of Mowgli, Baloo, Bagheera, and yes, even Shere Khan, then you should check out The Jungle Book 2.
Video: How’s it look?
The Jungle Book 2 is presented in 1.66:1 widescreen. The movie looks great here, a nice improvement over the DVD release that preceded it. The image is clear and sharp, with as much detail as the animation allows. And while the animation here isn’t up there with Disney’s best, it is solid and a treat to watch. I found colors to be bright and bold, with no concerns to mention, while black levels are right on the mark. In short, another great visual presentation for one of Disney’s animated treasures.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The audio is up to par as well, thanks to a DTS HD 5.1 soundtrack. The sound design isn’t set up to blow out your windows, but it provides an active, solid mix. The music is important of course, so all the songs sound terrific and have a lot of life here. I didn’t notice any inconsistencies at all, as sound effects are well handled and dialogue is clear and easy to pick up. Not much else to report here, just a good all around soundtrack. This release also includes French and Spanish language tracks, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The extras here include a selection of scenes, a look at the legacy of The Jungle Book, sing-a-long versions of the movie’s songs, and some music videos.