Plot: What’s it about?
As Mowgli (Jamie Williams) frolics in the jungle, he never dreams of leaving, although someone will soon try to whisk him away from his tropical home. Harrison (Bill Campbell) works for a large circus as a talent scout, but he seeks out a unique brand of talent. Instead of skilled performers, Harrison looks for human oddities, ones he can bring back to the circus and exploit, which means heavy cash with no investment. So when he sees Mowgli, he knows that a live jungle savage would make a terrific attraction, so he plans to follow the child and in truth, kidnap him. But of course, Mowgli doesn’t want to leave his home and his friends, so he and Baloo begin to fight back against Harrison, who is joined by a hunter and a snake charmer. The adults might think they can outsmart young Mowgli, but he knows the jungle better than anyone and with the help of his animal friends, he just might be able to avoid capture and remain in his real home.
I had my doubts about a follow up to The Jungle Book, especially a live action one, but this wasn’t as bad as I expected. I don’t think this measures up the original in any respect, but if you need a family film to rent, then by all means this one is worth the cash. The story is on the poor side for the most part, but young Jamie Williams (The Waterboy, Any Given Sunday) is very good here and the animals are a real treat to watch also. I’ve always been a sucker for animal actors, so I was pleased here, as the film uses a nice selection of animals, all of whom seem very well trained. But the other performers don’t match these efforts though, which pulls down the movie somewhat. But Bill Campbell (The Rocketeer, Bram Stoker’s Dracula) and Roddy McDowell (Overboard, The Black Hole) manage all right, so not all is lost outside of Williams and the animals. It is always a hard path to create a sequel to a classic film/novel, so this was doomed to fall short, but in the end, I do think it bears enough to merit to look into. So if you need more of Mowgli’s adventures or just need a solid family flick, I recommend this release as a rental.
Video: How does it look?
The Second Jungle Book- Mowgli and Baloo is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame version included on the disc’s flip side. I think this is a good transfer, but I saw a lot of shimmering and edge enhancement, which forces me to lower the score. I can deal with a certain level of flaws like those, but they are much too frequent here, so my deduction is more than usual. The rest of the transfer is solid though, with bright colors, natural flesh tones, and stark contrast levels. This is a good visual presentation, but the presence of a few annoying flaws end up pulling down the score.
Audio: How does it sound?
I found the included 2.0 surround track to be good, but it lacks the punch it needs in more than a few scenes. When the action picks up, this track never tries to keep up, which means the mix isn’t too active or engaging. A few scenes sound decent enough, but most of them need the boost of a full 5.1 surround option. The music does sound good though, but not as rich and immersive as most releases from this time frame. The more conservative sequences are very good though, subtle audio is solid and dialogue is clean & crisp at all times. This disc also includes 2.0 surround tracks in Spanish and Portuguese, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes some talent files, but no other bonus materials were packed in.