Mowgli and Baloo both miss each other a lot and finally set out to meet up, putting everyone else in danger.

The Lowdown

The sequel to The Jungle Book picks up a short time after the original ends. Mowgli (voiced by Haley Joel Osment) is living in the human village and seems to hate every minute of it. The humans love him as if he were one of their own, but believe the jungle is dangerous and won’t let him venture into it. Meanwhile Baloo (voiced by John Goodman) misses his bear cub and wants to go to the human village to find him. Standing in his way is Bagheera the panther and the elephant patrol. Baloo slips by them and reaches the village to find Mowgli. When Shere Khan enters the village to eat Mowgli, Baloo rescues him, leading a little girl named Shanti off to rescue him.

All the regular suspects are back. Kaa, the English Python and the solemn vultures return to repeat jokes from the first movie. The only changes are that Mowgli has now lived with the humans and those humans are added to this follow up. While the first movie retained Mowgli as a rare human in the land of animals, Jungle Book 2 brings the “scary” humans into the realm of animals. Most humans don’t understand the animals are not all bad. Shanti herself believes Baloo is a wild bear, while Mowgli’s adopted father had once been attacked by something, though it is never explained what. Other than the human addition, everything else remains the same. The jokes are all the same. The storyline is pretty much the same as well, with Shere Khan on the hunt for the man cub.

There is also a scene straight out of the Temple of Doom handbook, as young Shanti is running through the jungle at night trying to find Mowgli and is startled by a number of harmless animals. The scene would end with another repeated joke as Kaa hypnotizes her only to bumble and fail miserably.

It brings up the question of why Disney finds it necessary to remake their animated classics. I do see something different in this tale, as it presents a sadness that was not as prevalent in the first movie. Mowgli has tasted human contact and, while it is not as fun and crazy as his life with Baloo, there is a sense of care that is absent in the freewheeling society of the jungle. Mowgli might miss life with his friend Baloo, but he finds he also misses the love and care of the humans.

The movie is a little intense in spots for younger audiences, especially the attacks by Shere Khan. It also ends with the same depressing finale as Mowgli once again has to leave his friends and family in the jungle to return to the village. As a story about leaving home and setting off for your future, it is an important tale that actually has a more satisfying ending as he is now allowed to return to the jungle on occasion to visit his friends.

The songs remain enjoyable as The Bare Necessities returns for this movie and many of the new songs connect as well. Unlike disappointing remakes such as Peter Pan: Return to Neverland, I think this movie actually matched up well with the original. It tells a good story, entertains with fun, interesting characters with a good soundtrack. Moments may be a little intense for the younger audiences, but it is actually a rare positive addition to the Disney sequel catalog.

The Package

There are two deleted scenes you can watch, with an introduction by Sharon Morrill (executive vice president of music) and Matt Walker (senior vice president of music). I Got You Beat is a song that was written when Shanti was a more feisty character in the script. It was removed when her character was rewritten as someone more fearful of the jungle. The music is very early on, using very simple instruments. Braver is a song that never made it into the movie because the song was used to show her transformation into a braver character, which took away from her developing storyline. The song is a rough demo, once again with very simple instruments. Both scenes use drawn sketches of what was supposed to happen.

Music & More includes Disney’s Song Selection, Sing with the Movie and Music Videos. The song selection plays various songs from the movie, with the scene it appeared in, with or without on-screen lyrics. Sing with the Movie plays the entire movie with on-screen lyrics during the songs. Finally, there are music videos for W-I-L-D and Jungle Rhythm, as well as one for Smash Mouth’s cover of I Wanna Be Like You.

Games & Activities include two games for the kids – Mowgli’s Story Time Adventure and Mowgli’s Jungle Ruins Maze.

Backstage Disney offers a synopsis of the original movie and a feature called The Legacy of The Jungle Book. Both are short and just offer a glimpse of how the story reached this point.