Jungle Book 2 (2003) – movie review

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Movie Review by Vivienne Messenger

Starring (voices of): Phil Collins, John Goodman, Haley Joel Osment, Jim Cummings, Tony Jay
Director: Steve Trenbirth

It only seems like yesterday that Disney’s JUNGLE BOOK came out, but incredibly 36 years have lapsed in between. The sequel, and what a sequel it is, with Mowgli, Baloo, Bagheera, Kaa and Shere Khan effortlessly re-establishing themselves and JUNGLE BOOK 2 continues on from where the other movie ended, opening with a clever short introduction to explain why Mowgli is now living in a small jungle village.

Despite having a best friend Shanti – the girl who found him by the river where Baloo had left him – and being part of a loving family, Mowgli finds this new way of life in the village full of constraints and rules! He yearns for his old way of life as equally as Baloo, who misses his young singing buddy. So when Baloo pays Mowgli a visit one night in his village he is only too happy to accompany Baloo back into the jungle. Trouble is that Shanti sees them leave and out of concern for Mowgli’s safety and in spite of her own fear of the jungle she follows him without them knowing, and Mowgli’s younger stepbrother Ranjan follows Shanti unbeknownst to her.

Not only that, Shere Khan the man-eating tiger is on the prowl looking to score and win when he catches up with Mowgli after their last bruising encounter. Coincidentally he visits the village the same night as Baloo and sees him playing with Mowgli but before he can exact revenge he is chased out by the villagers and then realises Baloo and Mowgli have disappeared into the jungle so he too follows.

As Baloo and Mowgli enjoy the ‘bare necessities of life’ in the jungle they are blissfully unaware of all responsibilities until they cross paths with Shanti and Ranjan, with Shere Khan in hot pursuit for the final showdown courtesy of a talkative, cocky but dumb vulture voiced by Phil Collins who enlightens Shere Khan to Mowgli’s whereabouts.

All the voice talent are superb, the animation faultless and the soundtrack will have you singing along too – it’s a must see for all the family. As a fan of Kaa that ssslippery, mersssmerisssing python, who is the funniest character by far and always on the lookout for a tasty morsel, you quite sssimply won’t be disssappointed by JUNGLE BOOK 2 as the ‘bare necessities of life will come to you’ and entertain another generation of fans. Just remember… you can take the boy out of jungle but you can’t take the jungle out of the boy!

5 out of 6 stars