Not to be confused with any of the countless live-action Jungle Books that suddenly appeared during 1990s, this animated adventure is actually a sequel to Walt Disney's 1967 adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's classic tale. It may be nearly 40 years past due, but it was worth the wait. When we last left Mowgli, the young jungle boy raised by wolves and befriended by a motley crew of animals, he was entranced by a doe-eyed village girl who managed to draw him out of the wilderness and back into human society. Mowgli (voiced by Haley Joel Osment) is now living with nice human parents who are raising alongside their rambunctious toddler son, Ranjan (Connor Funk). Mowgli has also become best friends with Shanti (Mae Whitman), that spunky girl who first lured him away from his jungle home. But the boy-cub longs for his animal friends and extols the joys of lawless jungle life to the young villagers, much to the chagrin of his new parents who are trying to instill in him the value of rules. Meanwhile back in the jungle, Mowgli's bear pal, Baloo (John Goodman), is wallowing in loneliness, desperate for the company of the boy he calls "Little Britches." Baloo makes a daring attempt to visit his friend in the human town, but the vengeful Shere Kahn (Tony Jay), a tiger who was once humiliated in a tangle with the boy and is itching for a rematch, sends Baloo and Mowgli running for the safety of the jungle. Once under the cover of the lush green landscape, the duo quickly fall back into their old habits. Mowgli, however, begins to miss his human family and friends, and realizes he must find a proper balance between the rules that he once struggled against and the freedom of jungle living. As animated sequels go, this is a far more successful attempt than other recent Disney rehashes like THE LION KING II: SIMBA'S PRIDE (1998), THE LITTLE MERMAID II: RETURN TO THE SEA (2000), and the PETER PAN follow-up, RETURN TO NEVER LAND (2002), all of which retell the same old story but with the original characters' offspring facing the same predicaments as their parents. Here, the story builds on the original, and tells a solid coming of age tale as it follows the original's main character into young adulthood. The musical numbers are also well done: In addition to a few catchy new tunes, Baloo's Oscar-nominated signature song, "The Bare Necessities," is once again revived and endearingly sung by Goodman.
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 2003
- Rating: G
- Review: Not to be confused with any of the countless live-action Jungle Books that suddenly appeared during 1990s, this animated adventure is actually a sequel to Walt Disney's 1967 adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's classic tale. It may be nearly 40 years past due,… (more)