The Jungle Book 2 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
March 22, 2014 by Dennis Amith
“The Jungle Book 2” may not be as magical as the original film, but for children and families, it’s a safe, fun and entertaining Disney animated film worth checking out!
TITLE: The Jungle Book 2
FILM RELEASE: 2003
DURATION: 72 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:66:1 aspect ratio), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English 2.0 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
COMPANY: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
RATED: G (General Audiences)
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Directed by Steve Trenbirth
Screenplay by Karl Geurs
Written by Carter Crocker, Evan Spiliotopoulos, David Reynolds, Roger S.H. Schulman, Tom Rogers
Based on the novel “The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling
Produced by Christopher Chase, Mary Thorne
Music by Joel McNeely
Edited by Christopher K. Gee, Peter Lonsdale
Casting by Jo Gilbert
Art Direction by Michael Peraza Jr.
Featuring the voices of:
John Goodman as “Baloo” the Bear
Bob Joles as “Bagheera” the Panther
Haley Joel Osment as “Mowgli” the Man Cub
Mae Whitman as Shanti
Connor Funk as Ranjan
Tony Jay as Shere Khan the Tiger
Jim Cummings as “Kaa” the Snake/Col. Hathi the Elephant/Buzzie
Phil Collins as Lucky
Experience the wonder of this timeless tale as you reunite with your favorite characters and meet new friends. Disney’s beloved movie classic continues in this new digital master of The Jungle Book 2 – on Blu-ray for the first time, and wilder than ever in breathtaking high definition! Now that Mowgli’s living in the “man-village,” he cherishes his new best friend and little brother, but he still has that jungle rhythm in his heart. He misses hanging out with happy-go-lucky Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther. Yearning for freedom, Mowgli runs off into the jungle – and encounters his enemy Shere Khan! This time, he’ll need both his new human family and his old jungle friends to help save the day. Packed with humor, suspense and fun, this thrilling musical adventure will be on of the “Bare Necessities” of your Disney movie collection!
Back in 1893-1895, English Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling wrote a collection of stories that were published in various magazines and give moral lessons to young readers. The stories would go on to be known as “The Jungle Book”.
A beloved classic, Walt Disney and writer Bill Peet decided that the 19th animated feature would be “The Jungle Book” featuring a storyline inspired by Kipling’s stories (Disney did not want the darker storyline to be in the animated film, since the goal was to create a family film) but also incorporating music.
Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman (“Robin Hood”, “101 Dalmatians”, “The AristoCats”), the film would be known as the last film for Walt Disney, who passed away during the film’s production.
The film would become a major animated film for Disney which would eventually lead to a live-action film from Disney but also a 2003 sequel titled “The Jungle Book 2”, which was originally made to be a direct-to-video film but later released as a theatrical feature.
The sequel would star John Goodman (“Roseanne”, “The Big Lebowski”, “Fargo”), Haley Joel Osment (“The Sixth Sense”, “A.I. Artificial Intelligence”, “Pay It Forward”), Mae Whitman (“Independence Day”, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”), Connor Funk, Tony Jay (“Beauty and the Beast”, “Treasure Planet”, “The Hunchbac of Notre Dame”), Bob Joles (“Puss in Boots”, “The Lion King 1 1/2”), John Rhys-Davies (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, “The Lord of the Rings” films), Jim Cummmings (“Aladdin”, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”) and Phil Collins (“Hook”, “Miami Vice”, “Balto”).
The film was a box office success earning over $135 million in the box office and now the second film will be released in a Blu-ray+DVD+Digital Copy combo pack.
“The Jungle Book 2” revolves around Mowgli now living in the same village as Shanti, having been adopted by his family and also having a little brother named Ranjan.
But there is part of Mowgli who wishes he was back at the jungle, as he loves to tell his scary stories about a wild tiger named Shere Khan.
But as Mowgli one day sings and nearly brings the children towards the jungle, he is caught by his adopted father and punished, admonishing Mowgli that the jungle is dangerous.
Meanwhile, Shere Khan has freed himself and has now returned back to the jungle, wanting revenge on Mowgli.
Meanwhile, Baloo misses Mowgli and heads towards his village to bring him back to the jungle, not knowing that Shere Khan has also went to the man village in search of Mowgli.
As Baloo finds Mowgli, not wanting to be punished and stuck at home, he escapes with Baloo into the jungle. While Shere Khan terrfies the village.
During the chaos, Shanti thinks a bear has taken Mowgli, so she goes after him, while Ranjan follows.
As Mowgli returns to the jungle and Baloo is excited that his friend has come to live in the jungle forever, Mowgli starts to have second thoughts and that life in the man village is not bad at all.
But with Shere Khan on the prowl and Shanti and Ranjan trying to find Mowgli, will they be safe from Shere Khan’s rage?
“The Jungle Book 2″ is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:66:1 aspect ratio). Colors are vibrant but when compared to the original which had beautiful backgrounds and sketch-like artwork, for fans of the original, or parents who enjoyed the original film, will no doubt enjoy the colorful look of the film on Blu-ray.
There are no banding issues or artifacts and for the most part, “The Jungle Book 2” looks beautiful on Blu-ray!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“The Jungle Book 2” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French and SpanishDolby Digital 5.1, English 2.0 Dolby Digital and is a dialogue and musically driven film. There are moments of good surround sound usage such as the opening sequence or the more action-driven scenes.
Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.
“The Jungle Book 2” comes with the following special features:
- Synopsis of the Original Movie – The Jungle Book – (2:59) A short synopsis of the original film, “The Jungle Book”.
- The Legacy of the Jungle Book – (14:11) A featurette of how Walt Disney influenced “The Jungle Book” and interviews with the cast and crew of “The Jungle Book 2”.
- Deleted Scenes – Featuring two deleted scenes plus an introduction by Sharon Morrill and Matt Walker who discuss why the scenes did not make it into the final cut of the film.
- Music & More -Featuring an option for those to sing along with the movie or watch music videos for “W-I-L-D” and “Jungle Rhythm”.
“The Jungle Book 2” comes with a slipcover. Along with the Blu-ray release, a DVD and digital HD copy code is also included.
When it comes to Disney animated classics that I grew up with, during my childhood, “The Jungle Book” was one of the few Disney titles that I would often see at the theater with my family.
Of course, now as a parent, animation from Disney and other studios have become more computer generated, but watching “The Jungle Book” after all these years, for those of us who grew up with this film, there was a lot to be captivated about this film as a child.
As I enjoyed the charm of a young boy being raised by animals and raised in the jungle area, the combination of music and action made the animated film quite lively.
With the sequel “The Jungle Book 2”, the series tries its best to not be a sequel disappointment by attaching big name stars to the film but also bringing back the characters from the original film. While the sequel was destined to become a direct-to-video release, “The Jungle Book 2” became a successful Disney animated film earning over $135 million in the box office.
For the most part, the film would no doubt charm children for its accessible and easy to follow storyline and its happy music. But for adults hoping for Disney magic like the original film, while the film has the similar charm and similar threats, the story is less about Mowgli being threatened by Shere Kahn, but more or less him trying to fit in and knowing that Shanti and Ranjan may be in trouble in the jungle. But also Mowgli and Baloo realizing where Mowgli’s home truly is.
The film still has a direct-to-video feel as the story was a bit too simplistic despite having big name talent attached to the film. The visuals are vibrant on Blu-ray and there are some moments of good surround sound use at the beginning and end of the film. And you get the original special features from the 2003 DVD included on the Blu-ray release as well.
Overall, “The Jungle Book 2” may not be as magical as the original film, but for children and families, it’s a safe, fun and entertaining Disney animated film worth checking out!
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