The Jungle Book 2

The Jungle Book 2

*1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Shock horror news for The Early To Bed Club. Your favourite singing/dancing wild boy has to choose between his huggy wuggy bear buddy and A GIRL in the sequel to Rud Kipper's immortal tale of Mowgli versus that nasty tiger, Shere Khan.

In this sanitised world of political cowweckness, questions have to be asked. Mowgli's mum and dad have Indian accents, like nice Mr and Mrs Patel at the corner shop, while their two children - Mowgli has a bumptious younger bro, just out of poo wraps - speak American. Also, if Baloo was a funny old, jolly old park keeper wouldn't he be arrested for such intimate contact with a half-naked boy? In JB2, they are hardly ever out of each other's arms.

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Walt Disney Corp has been accused of many things, mostly on the sweeter side of feelgood. Add to these a cynical desire to cash in on a children's classic, without extending a modicum of imagination. 102 Dalmatians, the sequel to the live action 101, a remake of the cartoon that brought cruella-de-vil into the English language, is a riot of invention by comparison.

Mowgli lives in the village, but thinks about Baloo the bear, Baggy the panther, Whatsherface the snake and Shere the nightmare. "You can take the boy out of the jungle, but you can't take the jungle out of the boy," his dad says, wisely, forbidding him to cross the river. On the other side is the J place, where animals talk and Baloo proclaims a laidback philosophy of doing your own thang, as long as it doesn't entail work.

Mowgli's new friend is called Shanti and she's, well, girlie - sensible, bossy, caring. He doesn't escape into the jungle to get away from her, but he might have. Once he's on the other side, he's quick to continue his double act with Big Bluey (aka Baloo) and they sing Bare Necessities over and flipping over until your ears bleed.

Sheer Nightmare stalks the lad, while making sinister threats in a Jeremy-Irons-doing-Scar voice, which is about as scary as a pop up window on spankdollynot.com. The musical numbers are sub Fame Academy ballad dross and the choreography is the kind of stuff you fall asleep to during reruns of Top Of The Pops.

Please Walt, leave the boy alone. Mr Kipling is spinning in his grave so fast, he'll turn into a cake.

Reviewed on: 03 Apr 2003
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Sequel to The Jungle Book, except that this time Mowgli has a girlfriend.
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Director: Steve Trenbirth

Writer: Carter Crocker, Karl Geurs, David Reynolds, Tom Rogers, Roger S H Schulman, Evan Spiliotopoulos, loosely based on characters from the novel by Rudyard Kipling

Starring: voices of Haley Joel Osment, John Goodman, Mae Whitman, Tony Jay, Anders Bystrom, Connor Funk

Year: 2003

Runtime: 72 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US/Australia

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