Friday, 14 March 2014

Blu-ray Review - The Jungle Book 2

The Jungle Book 2
Director: Steve Trenbirth
Starring: Haley Joel Osment, John Goodman, Mae Whitman, Bob Joles, Tony Jay Phil Collins, John Rhys-Davies, Jim Cummings
Studio: Disney Home Entertainment
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Retail: $36.99
Running Time: 72 minutes
Rating: G


In the early 1990s, Disney began releasing direct-to-video sequels to their animation classics, though the quality wasn't the same as the originals. Their direct-to-video (DVD) sequels have slowed down (except for the Tinker Bell movies) over the years, but a few of the past sequels have made their way onto the big screen, including the almost forgotten sequel, The Jungle Book 2, which is arriving on Blu-ray Combo Pack for the first time this Tuesday, March 18, 2014. Bonus features include the deleted scenes "I Got You Beat" and "Braver," Sing Along Songs, Music Videos and The Legacy of The Jungle Book.

Critically panned for the cheap animation style, The Jungle Book 2 managed to take in over 135-million-dollars at the box-office. Sadly, all the original voice actors had passed away, leaving John Goodman taking over as the voice of Baloo, Haley Joel Osment as Mowgli and Bob Joles as Bagheera. The film has nothing in common with Rudyard Kipling's The Second Jungle Book.

The Jungle Book 2 picks up shortly after the original, where Mowgli is now living in the "Man Village." It is not really stated if the family that took him in are his real parents are adopted parents. (I recommend watching the alternate ending of the first movie to see what I'm referring about.) Anyway, Mowgli sneaks into the jungle from time to time to hangout with his jungle pals Baloo and Bagheera.

Late one night, Baloo gets Mowgli to leave the village and come live with him in the jungle, which Mowgli eagerly leaves the village to hangout with his friend. Mowgli's adopted brother, Ranjan, and his best-friend, Shanti (the girl who lured him into the "Man Village" at the end of the first movie) go into the jungle to retrieve him, but there are many dangers awaiting them, including Shere Khan, who wants revenge.

The original film is one of Disney's greatest achievements, so I was surprised when Disney released The Jungle Book 2 in 2003. The film’s plot is almost identical to the original movie, only with a shorter running time at barely over an hour. The original plans were to release the movie straight to VHS and DVD at the time, which explains the cheap animated look to the film. Though it is lacking the charm of the original, The Jungle Book 2 is better than other Disney sequels. The film has been transferred well to Blu-ray. Overall, The Jungle Book 2 Blu-ray Combo Pack is a cute, harmless film, that I enjoyed watching. Now a new generation of kids can enjoy the film too.

*Disclaimer - I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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