Plot: Mowgli misses the jungle life and feels a bit restricted by life in his village. Baloo misses him as well and plans to break him out of the village. Mowgli is happy to be back with Baloo in the jungle, but Shere Khan is thirty for revenge.
Breakdown: Some history on the original for me; I, along with my sister, were very much into the first movie as very young children. We even named our cats Mowgli and Bagheera (and yes, Bagheera was a black cat….though he had white paws.) However, this was at a point where I was so young that I really can’t remember being such a fan of it. I remember the movie, moderately, but I don’t really remember what I liked about it so much. So my take on this movie is a bit weird.
Next, one of the reasons I started watching and reviewing all the Disquels was because the Nostalgia Chick made a few reviews on some of them and made a top ten list exploring the ten worst Disquels and the top five ‘least awful’ Disquels. Every Disquel I’ve reviewed so far has been explored on one list or the other or been featured in her stand alone reviews. I don’t particularly agree with her on a decent chunk of entries, but the point is that this movie…..was not so much as glimpsed at in any of the videos.
I didn’t even realize that until I got bored halfway through and wanted to watch something entertaining or interesting about it from her videos but there wasn’t anything. Not as an honorable or dishonorable mention. Not even a clip in the little montages used as number interludes.
I wondered why for about five seconds before remembering….Oh yeah. I’m bored.
I started doing a step by step review for this movie but, like Bambi 2, I felt it to be pointless because I just didn’t have much to say through the scenes. However, unlike Bambi 2, this was because there’s really nothing to talk about because it’s just completely uncreative.
I want you to consider the first movie. Stop. Now take five seconds to think of a plot of the sequel. What would be the most cliché, predictable and bland plot for a Jungle Book sequel?
Mowgli misses the jungle, Baloo misses Mowgli, Baloo takes Mowgli out of the village, Shere Khan wants revenge, gets defeated, Mowgli realizes he likes the village afterall but still wants some of the jungle life so the two worlds somehow merge-ish, the end.
You want to know something else? Even using the simplest and most cliché storyline for the sequel, they still manage to make it kinda stupid.
Mowgli, with only the tiniest of signs that he’s not entirely comfortable living in the village quite yet as he’s adjusted wonderfully given the circumstances, gets incredibly pissed with the girl from the last movie, Shanti for merely yelling for him to stop crossing the river into the jungle with the other kids because she was worried for their safety. He gets understandably scolded by the village chief, his adoptive father, who reveals one of the main reasons he’s so adamant about not going into the jungle is because he was scarred by a wild animal. He gets grounded for one night, one night, and that’s enough for him to basically say ‘screw it’ to the village when Baloo shows up.
He’s specifically mad at Shanti for being the whistle blower, even though she didn’t mean to alert the adults of what they were doing. Again, she was merely worried as they were not only breaking a very stern rule but were also risking their safety.
He gets super mad at this, but when she gets a little bit miffed when he pulls a prank on her, making fun of her completely reasonable fear of a murderous human-hating tiger, she’s overreacting.
Shanti is scared to death of the jungle and wild animals, and while this may seem like a dumb thing to say, I find it kinda stupid that there’s no reason for it. Yes, the jungle is of course dangerous as are wild animals, but if you’re going to make her fear a plot point it’s usually supposed to be accompanied by something that caused this fear. Why not say her father died because of a wild animal attack seeing as how her father never appears on screen? Give her the scars instead of nameless father chief dude. Give her something to make this semi-conflict more weight.
It’s not even like this matters because it really doesn’t amount to much if anything. It’s not a big moment when she crosses the river, it’s not a revelation to ally with Baloo, it’s a plot thread made of thin air.
They add in an incredibly annoying little toddler kid named Ranjan who for some reason is like Shanti’s non-related little brother.
Shanti can talk to animals for absolutely no reason. Mowgli can do it because he grew up with them. Are they now just default talking animals? She doesn’t even question her ability to do this or even seem surprised at it. Baloo starts talking to her and it’s like she’s been doing it her whole life. Ranjan can do it too. I don’t get it.
Shere Khan is seen throughout the movie looking for Mowgli to get revenge. It’s played up like it’s building tension, but he’s introduced so early and we see him so often that it really makes it lose tension. Considering the boring nature of the rest of the movie, if there is tension it’s in the anticipation of finally getting to the confrontation so something, anything will finally happen.
And why would such a feared animal barely beat up a vulture who mocked the crap out of him? Makes Shere Khan look more like a bully than a bloodthirsty tiger.
Just to shoehorn in some tension, we get a completely random temple with copious amounts of lava everywhere to hold the climax. I mean, at least they’re trying, but where did this place come from?
Let me just spoil the end because I know you’re on the edge of your seat. Shere Khan ends up trapped in some statue head in the temple on a small slap of stone in the moat of lava while the vulture from before mocks him. I know The Jungle Book isn’t that dark and wouldn’t kill off even the main villain, but uh, he’s surrounded by lava on a small slab of rock trapped in a stone statue. Let’s go over Shere Khan’s ultimate fates at this point.
Being optimistic, let’s say he gets out of the statue somehow. He’s clearly not afraid of going into the village to kill Mowgli so what’s stopping him from trying that again?
Being not so optimistic, let’s go through the various ways he’ll likely die horribly in there.
Starvation. Dehydration. Burns from splashing lava. Eaten alive by scavengers as he’s too weakened from hunger and/or dehydration to stave them off.
You want to know the actual legit ending after that? Mowgli leaves Baloo and the jungle to return to his life in the village, of course, even finally accepting his adoptive father as his ‘pop’.
Everything ends in a rather touching manner with Baloo and Mowgli…..until Baloo gets an ‘idea’. Apparently the kids aren’t restricted to not crossing the river anymore for some dumb reason. What, is the fact that Mowgli likes the jungle more important than the Chief’s completely founded fears of the dangers in the jungle? And even if Mowgli was allowed back because of his experience in the jungle and his friends, why are all the other kids? They have no experience in there. Stop pretending like just because Shere Khan is maybe permanently trapped or dead that the jungle’s not still dangerous!
Unless they really aren’t allowed to go still…in which case the message here is disobey rules that are put in place to keep you safe, kids. Thank God, I can finally run that marathon with that comically large pair of scissors.
Shanti is also now completely comfortable going out into the jungle even though her last trip there just reinforced her fears what with her run in with Kaa who will never stop being a complete non-threat due to his Winnie the Pooh voice, and Shere Khan. Maybe realizing she can talk to animals made them less scary. I dunno.
Now Mowgli, Shanti and Ranjan have scheduled meetups with Baloo and Bagheera in secret, making the somewhat touching farewell before now completely null and void.
Despite it being really boring, cliché and uninspired, it does have some redeemable qualities. The art and animation are probably the best I’ve seen of the Disquels so far. I especially appreciate the little details in the lines sometimes as they have this ‘colored with a pen’ look that the original had on occasion.
The music is also good, but I can really only give it half points for that. Only two of the three songs in the movie are original. The third is just Bare Necessities, not even redone with new lyrics except for Baloo’s short version. The first song, Feel the Jungle Rhythm, holds a lot of the spirit of the original in the very start, but I dunno. The start of it is really quite good, but once the other kids join in it dives down to decent, once Ranjan starts ‘singing’ and being annoying it becomes bad, and it starts grating on my nerves when all the kids start mimicking animals. The very end reverts back to decent again, but I feel it was poorly handled overall.
The second is a song called W-I-L-D which is a fun dancing/party song. I imagine this was supposed to be King Louie’s part in the movie, but due to legal issues with the original voice of King Louie, Louis Prima’s widow, Gia Prima, he wasn’t included at all in this movie. Instead it’s done by Baloo, who does do a good job. It’s kinda his thing.
The only other two songs which are end credits songs are a remix of ‘I Wanna Be Like You’ which seems like a ‘screw you’ attempt towards Mrs. Prima, done by Smash Mouth. While I like Smash Mouth, I don’t much care for this remake. It’s another song that doesn’t make sense when redone modernized and also doesn’t make any sense being at the end of this movie, really.
The final song in the end credits is ‘Right Where I Belong’ sung by Windy Wagner and it’s fine but just as bland and forgettable as this movie.
I also have to say that a few jokes worked for me and the voice work is very good, but overall this is just a really really really boring movie. You know everything, every damn thing, that is going to happen from start to finish. Cliches don’t have to be bad if you put a good spin on them. Some of the best stories out there are cliches when you get down to it.
It also ruins the ending of the first movie. It was bittersweet that Mowgli had to leave the jungle and his friends, but it’s something that needed to be done. He needed to live a normal life and try to leave the jungle life behind him.
This movie negates all that, brings them back together with no issue whatsoever and gives off a mixed message. Is it bad to move on with your life and try to live normally? Should you try to force two worlds together when it’s natural and safer for them to be mostly apart? Does nothing matter as long as you get what you want?
This is really a prime example of a movie that just in no way, shape or form needed to be made, and a lot of effort by the voice actors, animators and musicians just seems wasted on this complete waste of a movie. Maybe the ‘Ranjans’ in the audience, IE easily entertained small children, would like this more, but I don’t think it has much appeal outside of that group.
Recommended Audience: Nothing really happens at all. You think Shere Khan kills Lucky, the vulture, but he just beats him up a little and comes back later mostly fine. E for everyone.