Cute gets cuter and the animation gets more animated this time. What’s more the kids in the hall are loving it too. And that alone should be music to the ears of Disney bosses, who have clearly got down to the Bare Necessities of churning out a sequel to the classic animation hit, The Jungle Book, 35 years after it was released, with the sole ambition of minting quick moolah.
To call a spade a spade, Jungle Book 2 isn’t a patch on the original, incidentally the last film Walt Disney had personally overseen before his death. But then, for the studio bosses the 35-year gap is perhaps well planned. The generation that grew up watching the original Jungle Book will most likely watch this one anyway, for nostalgia’s sake.
And those who grew up in the ’90s, watching Mowgli’s antics in the enjoyable TV serial that DD screened then would perhaps like to check out The Jungle Book 2, just out of curiosity. And yes, the release coinciding with the summer vacation here, it’s just perfectly timed for the little ones.
Debutant director Steve Trenbirth picks up the story where the original left it. Mowgli is living the ‘man village’ with his adoptive parents, but he still misses the jungle. When Baloo comes visiting Mowgli in the village, the Man-Cub decides to visit the jungle for some fun. His friend Shanti and her little brother Ranjan follow him into the jungle to rescue him, fearing Mowgli might be lost.
Of course, Shere Khan’s still on the prowl. As the adventure rolls, Mowgli must make a decision – whether he wants a laidback life with Baloo in the jungle or return to human civilisation.
The problem with The Jungle Book 2 is that the story hardly has any interesting spin. Sweet toons and sweeter punchlines can, after all, hold your interest thus far and no further. A reason why, despite just being 72 minutes in length, the film seems to trundle at a pace slower than Colonel Haathi.
Pity, because Rudyard Kipling left a landmine for Disney to rehash.