If there’s one company that knows how to do a decent Direct to Home Video sequel it is Disney, they have mastered the art. Their latest Jungle Book 2, manages to maintain most of the things we love about the original while giving viewers an update on what our favorite characters are up to.
After the events of the first film Mowgli (Haley Joel Osment) is having trouble adjusting to the rules of human life and his father bear Baloo (John Goodman) misses hanging out with him. His relationship with Shanti (Mae Whitman) is a bit rocky as she is one for following the rules and isn’t shy about being a little narc when he breaks them. Shere Khan (Tony Jay) is hot for revenge and sneaks into the village in search of his prey. A misunderstanding causes Shanti to assume that Baloo kidnapped Mowgli.
I’m always amazed at how dark these Disney features can get, there’s a moment where the villagers actually corner and trap Shere Khan and I actually felt for him, a few minutes later he’s eating a bird and says “It’s ironic that your name is Lucky.” Jay’s voice is darn right menacing and scary as heck.
Directed by Disney veteran Steve Trenbirth (The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride) the voice acting is mostly solid, but Joel McNeely’s score is mostly forgettable and there really aren’t that many songs in this. The hand drawn animation is gorgeous, especially some of the wide shots used in the Jungle landscape.
What is going on with Blu-ray releases lately? Almost every Blu-ray released (that I own) in the last few months have been half assed and featureless. This release continues the alarming trend of phoning it in. There are two featurettes on this, one a 3 minute synopsis of the first film and another 14 minute featurette that explores The Legacy of Jungle Book. The digital copy works with either UltraViolet or iTunes and regardless of which you choose it shows up on Disney’s pretty cool new DisneyMoviesAnywhere service.
Disney used to be the best Home Video company when it came to navigation, but first Frozen had a broken navigation system and now this Jungle Book. I don’t know what they were thinking approving dark text, against a dark background, with dark “highlights.” It is nearly impossible to tell what item you are clicking on. It drove me nuts.
Disney Home Video should be ashamed of themselves for charging such a an “exorbitant” price for this basically featureless home video release. The movie itself is less than an hour and 10 minutes. This release feels like a cheap money grab, yes the film is actually surprisingly decent, but not worth a purchase.
- Movie – B
- Video/Audio – B
- Extras – D
Final Grade C-