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The Jungle Book 2

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Jungle Book 2

Starring: Haley Joel Osment, John Goodman
Director: Steve Trenbirth
Rated: G
RunTime: 76 Minutes
Release Date: February 2003
Genres: Animation, Kids

*Also starring: Tony Jay, Bob Joles, Mae Whitman, Phil Collins, Jim Cummings, Connor Funk

Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4

In this sequel to the beloved 35 year-old animated Disney adventure, Mowgli (voiced by Haley Joel Osment), raised in the jungle, is now torn between two worlds. Living by rules in a civilized village with his best-friend, Shanti, and his kid step-brother, Ranjan, Mowgli's learning about human family love - yet the "jungle rhythm" still beckons. He particularly misses his bear-pal Baloo (voiced by John Goodman), who - feeling the same loneliness - decides to pay Mowgli a visit, much to the chagrin of the wise panther Bagheera, who explains, "The boy's future lies with mankind." Baloo's not the only one who misses Mowgli. The skulking tiger, Shere Khan, whom Mowgli previously humiliated, hungers for him too, as does the snake Kaa. But when Mowgli sneaks back into the jungle with Baloo, feisty Shanti goes after him, followed by little Ranjan and most of the village. And a W-I-I-I-L-D time ensues around a towering temple ruin as various animals sing and dance to jazz-based tunes by Paul Grabowsky & Lorraine Feather and a score by composer Joel McNeely ("Return to Never Land"). But it's when Terry Gilkyson's Oscar-nominated song "The Bare Necessities" is reprised three times that you realize just how good the original was. Director Steve Trenbirth and his Sydney-based animators do their best to re-capture the warm relationship between Mowgli and Baloo, and the colors seem to have more depth and vibrancy. Based on Rudyard Kipling's classic tale of India, "The Jungle Book" was initially released in 1967, the last cartoon Walt Disney directly supervised. It's been available on video since 1991 and I'd advise renting it before seeing this continuation. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Jungle Book 2" is a fun-filled, rockin' 5, as the story continues.

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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