The Jungle Book 2
- Street Date:
- March 18th, 2014
- Reviewed by:
- Aaron Peck
- Review Date: 1
- March 14th, 2014
- Movie Release Year:
- Disney/Buena Vista
- 72 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Rated G
- Release Country
- United States
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
Everything you remember about Disney straight-to-home-video sequels is completely true about 'The Jungle Book 2.' After trivializing the boyhood journey of Mowgli's first adventure into the jungle with a puppet show during the opening credits, 'The Jungle Book 2' goes on to treat the entire story of Mowgli and his jungle friends like an especially hackneyed episode of 'Tail Spin.'
A mystery looms around Disney's ability to procure some top-shelf voice talent for this insipid sequel. You've got John Goodman voicing big loveable Baloo; in-his-prime Haley Joel Osment taking on the role of Mowgli; John Rhys-Davies voicing Mowgli's adoptive father figure; and a pre-'Arrested Development' Mae Whitman as the voice of Mowgli's crush, Shanti.
In the second 'Jungle Book' movie, Mowgli is already sick of living by the rules of a civilized society. He misses his swinging jungle days with Baloo. He's tired of being told when to go to bed, when to do his chores. You know, all those things little boys do when they're not partying with monkeys or being hunted by bloodthirsty tigers.
But Shere Kahn (voiced by Tony Jay) is still out there, and boy is he still pissed about what happened last time. He's ready to tear that man cub limb from limb, but he doesn't know where to find him. It's only a matter of time though.
Yes, 'The Jungle Book 2' tries to establish one or two new songs, but yeesh are they bad. "Jungle Rhythm" is the movie's signature song and dance number, but it feels like it's been completely cribbed from the much, much better "Prince Ali" from 'Aladdin.' In order to not make things too difficult though, the movie simply reuses many of the original songs from the first movie to fill up time. Instead of trying to creatively establish its own identity, the second movie is content with riding the coattails of the first for as long as it possibly can.
The problem is that it doesn't take long – around five minutes or so – before it overstays its welcome. Like so many other brain dead Disney DTV sequels from the 2000s, 'The Jungle Book 2' suffers from being bland and completely uninteresting. Hoping to stuff a movie full of recognizable characters, but stripping away everything that made the original so inviting.
Gone is the animation style of old, which is to be expected. But here they've peeled away everything that made the original animation so interesting and have instead replaced it with that ugly, bland Saturday Morning Cartoon feel. It's gross, sterile, flat, and ultimately boring.
So, if you haven't seen 'The Jungle Book 2' it's basically what you expected it to be. Another ill-conceived Disney sequel better left unseen. If you have seen this movie, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. Leave 'The Jungle Book 2' alone. Abandon it in the wilderness. Maybe some wild animals will find it and instead of taking it in and raising it, they'll just maul it to death and put it out of its misery.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
As sterile as the animation is, there's no denying that it's clean and clear in its high-def presentation. Presented in 1080p, framed at a 1.66:1 aspect ratio, 'The Jungle Book 2' looks as good as anyone could expect it to.
There's nothing really interesting or praise-worthy about the animation itself. The presentation, however, does what it's supposed to do. The colors are bright. The shading is clear, but free from crush. Detail is glossy, but that's because the animation doesn't have much detail to begin with. Lines are solid. Contrast is bold. So, if you really, really must pick up this release at least it will look like the best poorly animated cartoon you've ever seen.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
The audio mix here, which is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, is as generic as audio mixes come. Like the animation there's no nuance. It's all about presenting the main information and not providing any sort of mildly stimulating information to go along with it.
Dialogue is pretty clear up front. The rear channels never have much to do, even during the one big song and dance number near the beginning. There are a few jungle sounds piped through to give the illusion of surround sound, nothing too noteworthy though. In the end it only manages to be a half-hearted audio effort, which in its defense is simply mirroring the quality of the movie itself.
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
Synopsis of 'The Jungle Book' (SD, 3 min.) – In case you forgot what the first film entailed, get your cliff notes here.
The Legacy of 'The Jungle Book' (SD, 14 min.) – An EPK fluff piece where producers and the voice actors get interviewed as they discuss their love for the original classic.
Deleted Scenes (SD, 6 min.) – Imagine how crappy the deleted scenes have to be to get cut from this movie. There are a couple song sequences that got the axe, so that's really the only thing worth checking out if you're moved to view the deleted scenes.
Music Videos (SD, 2 min.) – Music videos for "WILD" and "Jungle Rhythm" are presented here.
Sing Along – An option that produces subittles whenever a song begins.
It's just really bad. Like so bad that you don't want to subject your children to it, even though they're entertained by just about anything bright and colorful. I'm having regrets making my nearly 3 year-old son sit through it. Halfway through the movie he got up and left to do something else. Something he never does. He'll sit through just about any animated movie. 'The Jungle Book 2' didn't interest him in the slightest, and that perhaps is its crowning condemnation. Even with some decent video and slightly underwhelming audio, this one is one to avoid if you possibly can. Yes, I'm even talking to the Disney movie collectors out there that have to have everything no matter how bad. Look, if you're allowed to skip any releases and pretend like they don't exist, this is one of those.
- 1080p/AVC MPEG-4
- English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- English Dolby Digital 2.0
- French Dolby Digital 5.1
- Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
- English, French, Spanish
- Deleted Scenes
- Music and More
- Backstage Disney
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