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The Jungle Book 2 (2003)

Just when you’re starting to think Disney can’t possibly outdo themselves.

Rating: 3/10

Running Time: 72 minutes

UK Certificate: u

Just when you're starting to think Disney can't possibly outdo themselves for super-cynical capitalism or sheer lack of originality, along comes “The Jungle Book 2”. After “Return to Neverland” and “Treasure Planet”, haven't we suffered enough? What next from these shameless cash-in merchants? “Snow White and the Seven Highly Collectable Action Figures”? Or how about “Aladdin Da Hood”?

36 years after originally wowing movie-goers, Mowgli, Baloo and co are back. Chances are, you'll wish they hadn't bothered. Jungle urchin Mowgli has moved into the man village (or just “village”, if you prefer) where he's found himself an adoptive family. Back in the undergrowth, Baloo the bear is desperately trying to recapture past successes by repeatedly singing “Bare Necessities” (THREE times inside the space of just over an hour), to the extent that you wish the bored-looking panther Bagheera would just sit him down and quietly explain that it's kind of losing its spark. King Louis (surely the best thing about the original?) has disappeared completely, and villainous tiger Shere Khan (Boo! Hiss!) has a serious chip on his shoulder about being made to look like a bit of a pillock first time round.

Predictably, Mowgli ends up back in the jungle with his one-hit-wonder mate, allowing the pair of them to make lots of half-hearted attempts at recapturing the magic of the vastly superior original. Somehow, Haley Joel Osment and John Goodman were roped into providing the two main voice-overs, and although Goodman does a reasonable Phil Harris impression as Baloo, it soon becomes apparent as to why we've never heard Osment's singing before – i.e. it's rubbish.

It's Got: Substandard animation and a woeful plotline.

It Needs: To have gone straight to video.


Preserve the memory of the sublime original by making sure you avoid this rip-off at all costs.