The Jungle Book 2
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Comparisons with the earlier version released 41 years ago (featuring the voices of Phil Harris, Sebastian Cabot, Louis Prima, George Sanders, and Sterling Holloway among others) are inevitable and perhaps unfair. As I began to watch this sequel, I tried very hard to experience it and then judge it on its own merits. All issues considered, my rating of it is explained as follows: I think it offers pleasant but unexceptional entertainment (Three Stars) and several bonus features that add one Star to my rating.
My guess is that, in general, adults enjoy the special features (other than interactive games such as ?Mowgli?s Jungle Ruins Maze?) more than children do. In the sequel, the plot remains faithful to the beloved Rudyard Kipling novel, this time featuring the voices of John Goodman, Haley Joel Osment, Mae Whitman, and Jim Cummings. Phil Collins provided the voice of Lucky. I watched this film with several of my younger grandchildren, none of whom had seen the 1967 version. Unlike their parents and grandparents, they and other children ages 4-14 seem to think nothing of watching a film they like several times either in a theatre or a DVD of it, whether or not it is a sequel.
Although a sequel offering solid entertainment to ?children of all ages,? I doubt if it will not have the same enduring appeal from one generation to the next as do other feature length animated films produced by Disney (e.g. Bambi, Beauty and the Beast, Dumbo, Pinocchio, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) and Pixar (e.g. Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and WALL-E) nor by DreamWorks (e.g. Antz and Shrek). I agree with my grandchildren: it was fun to watch but generates no interest in seeing it again soon. It must join a long line ahead of it.
I love the movie opening, when Mowgli was telling his new family and new best friend, Shanti, about his former life in the jungle through a puppet show. As he gets to the part where he fought Shere Khan, the ferocious tiger, Ranjan decides to put his own twist on the story and in doing so, manages to destroy the set and embarrass Shanti in the process. Ranjan's comment that, "Shanti blinked her big, beautiful, brown eyes at you. And you follow her into our village," prompts Shanti to turn red and deny she did anything of the sort. This prompts a little argument between Mowgli and Shanti, forcing Mowgli's adoptive father to break it up by revealing that his wife used the same trick on him. Also, my favorite musical sequence is when Mowgli and the village kids sang "Jungle Rhythm."
It's interesting that some reviewers comment on the lack of plot. The original JB plot is lacking, as well. Get the boy out of the jungle and to the man-village to escape Shere Khan. That lack of plot in both films, however, magnifies the difference between the two. JB1, interestingly, is the first Disney film where the actors actually played a part in the development of the characters. Phil Harris IS Baloo. Same goes for Louis Prima (King Louie), Sebastian Cabot (Bagheera), George Sanders (Shere Khan) and Sterling Holloway (Kaa).
How can John Goodman, et al, compete? In most instances, they cannot. Goodman was awesome in Monsters, Inc., but here his performance seems lackluster and uninspired. Same goes for most (but not all) of the other characters.
It is interesting to note that Jim Cummings who provides Kaa's voice in JB2 also is the "modern voice" of Pooh. And, that Sterling Holloway who provided Kaa's voice in JB1 was the "original voice" of Pooh. Cummings does a good job as Kaa in JB2.
Overall, there was no way for Disney to satisfy us adults, who grew up on the original JB (and like me who recently shelled out big bucks to get the original on DVD), but it does work on the kids' level. And, that's what matters in my book.
The casting in this movie is really good, with voices that sound authentic enough that you don't bother comparing them to the original. Doubtless that was a big help to making this a best-ever sequel.
The music in this movie was also very good. Reusing some of the old music, tinkering around with some new mixes, and adding some brand new scores brought together a totally fun soundtrack. The Smashing Pumpkins never before sounded this good.
While not of the same calaber as the original Jungle Book, JB2 comes in a close second and is far better than I really expected of a sequel considering Disney's reputation for stupid, cheap, straight-to-video sequels. There is also an option on the DVD to play just the music scores of the movie, which the children really enjoy. Overall, I was very pleasantly surprised by this sequel and hope that Disney will take this as a new standard for their sequels.
Most recent customer reviews
Y a longtemps que j'avais pas vu le livre de la jungle super beau souvenir merciPublished 2 months ago by Manon.Rousseau
My 4 year old son loved this movie, I recommend it for everyone. the only problem is that Disney movies are always the priciest.Published 19 months ago by Han007
I have to admit when I first rented this movie I was skeptical. Disney's record for sequels isn't very good. But I found myself pleasantly surprised. Read morePublished on Aug. 23 2010 by kaitoukid
this sequel pales in comparison to the classic and much loved original.the story(such as it is)is pretty lame,and doesn't really have a point,and most of the songs are... Read morePublished on April 12 2010 by falcon
I do not want to say that this is a bad movie. In fact, my son, who loved the first one, is also captivated by this sequel. Yet, it is a completely different style. Read morePublished on July 26 2009 by Alicia Stanley
Dans cette suite du 1er film de Disney Le livre de la jungle, la jungle vibre à nouveau alors que Mowgli, Baloo, Bagheera et tous les personnages... Read morePublished on Dec 26 2008 by I. Theoret
I'm sure we all have seen "The Jungle Book". Well, for the first time in a long time- the second is better than the first! Read morePublished on July 7 2007 by Pro-reviewer