The first Disney theatrical release of 2003 is the sequel to The Jungle Book from 1967. Which means it’s the second year in a row Disney released a sequel to a decades old classic. In 2002 it was Return to Never Land. In my opinion both these movies were not the smartest idea but let’s get to the recap first. (Even the internet is not a fan as I couldn’t find any gifs or even half decent pictures of this movie.)
There movie starts with shadow theatre that’s recapping pretty shortly what happened in the original movie to make sure younger audiences and those not familiar with the old one are on board.
Cut to a toddler raging and yelling at the theatre so much that he crashes the stage. Mowgli, who looks pretty much the same age as when we saw him last, can’t finish his story now but Toddler doesn’t mind as they all know how it ends Mowgli saw Shanti and followed her to their village.
It’s suggested that Shanti made sexy eyes at Mowgli and there were sparks between them. 36 years later and I am still as uncomfortable with this as I was the first time around because these are kids. I get that kids get crushes but the way these kids and especially Shanti is sexualised in this context just doesn’t sit right with me.
Mowgli mentions tomorrow and Toddler goes crazy with excitement. I don’t know what tomorrow brings for them but okay. I wish I cared. Mowgli is living with Toddler’s parents but he is very distant when the welcoming father wishes him goodnight. I sense issues, but okay.
The next morning, Toddler comes into Mowgli’s room. The boy isn’t sleeping in his mat though but up on a beam like he would be back in the jungle. I see what you’re doing there, movie.
The boys sneak out but obviously, they can’t get past the mother and it’s sweet. She nags them about breakfast but they decline and rush towards the river.
At the river, Shanti arrives to get water for her family. Mowgli falls out of a tree scaring the poor girl who is far from amused by the whole ordeal, especially since she fell in the water.
Then comes musical number “Jungle Rhythm”. The whole village participates, and by that I obviously mean all the kids. As they are ready to cross the river, Shanti screams for them to stop and the father arrives to put Mowgli in house arrest because one does not cross the river. The father also shows Mowgli his scars on his arm which look like claw marks.
Cut to a dancing bear in the jungle. It’s sad though because he doesn’t have anyone to sing Bare Necessities with. Bagheera feels the same as I do and comments on it. Baloo clearly misses Mowgli and decides to go to the village to get the boy back.
In the background, Shere Khan is overlooking it all. Ballo doesn’t get too far though as the elephants with their military complex trap him. I’m so bored right now.
Cut to the vultures and Shere Khan. I’m not sure what this scene is even about except for being a filler. Moving on.
At night, Shere Khan is roaming the village looking for the boy. Mowgli is sleeping on his windowsill as he hears some strange noises and wakes up. Because the boy has a death wish, he goes investigating and instead of Shere Khan finds Baloo. They have a nice reunion but also are far from discreet about it. They probably have woken half the village up by this point.
Shanti is bringing a peace offering to Mowgli’s window and Shere Khan is there to observe. The boy isn’t there but Shanti then sees Mowgli being thrown in the air by Baloo and screams bloody murder. Everyone is up and after the beast. Of course they all only see Shere Khan so Shanti has to follow Baloo into the jungle because this thing needs a weak plot.
Mowgli complains to Baloo about his boring life in the village and also about Shanti. I’m far from impressed, young boy. At least they sing Bare Necessities again and it’s probably the best part of the entire movie.
Shanti is scared alone in the jungle because obviously. She encounters Kaa but fear not because Toddler is there to save her. Now there is a toddler lose in the jungle *headdesk*
There is a bunch of animals fleeing, the elephants amongst them because the village people (lol, that pun wasn’t even intended until I read it) are in the jungle looking for the kids.
Mowgli and Baloo are eating mangos and it’s nice. I wish I had a rep mango right now.
Bagheera mentions the village people are looking for Mowgli and the boy is interested for a hot second but then wants to hide form them.
Shanti and Toddler are trying to find their way back home but can’t because everything looks the same.
Shere Khan and vulture Lucky are bantering and again I don’t know what this is about except to fill this movie of boringness.
Mowgli and Baloo make their way over to the former residence of King Louis which is now some kind of open mic karaoke joint for the animals. Baloo sings and Mowgli sads away.
Toddler is tired but then hears Mowgli singing his sad song and runs towards him, Shanti in tow. They reunite but when Baloo comes looking for Mowgli and sees hanti, he scares her as Mowgli ha previously requested. Of course this doesn’t go over well.
The girl runs away and when Mowgli finds the pair, they are terrified looking at Shere Khan. Mowgli ushers them into hiding and takes Shere Khan on. Of course the girl goes after him as does Baloo and we get the fight/chase/blah blubb scene. I don’t know what kind of jungle this is, also,I didn’t know India had a jungle but whatever. There is lava and Shere Khan falls down but not into the lava, he only gets trapped by some stones and everyone is free and reunited with their parents. Or legal guardians, whatever. I can’t wait for this to be over and done with.
Baloo and Mowgli share a sad goodbye and I get it. If the rest of this movie had been better, I would probably have cared more though. But hey, Mowgli is finally over his issues and can accept the father as his dad and it’s cute.
Cut to the kids sneaking out again and Shanti, Mowgli and Toddler are singing and playing by the river and even crossing it. Hmm, does this mean Shere Khan is dead for good?
Ouff. I’m really not digging this sequel, especially since I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original already and this movie lacked plot and fresh characters. Just like Return to Never Land, it was the same plot with almost the same characters and that’s just boring, especially to those who have seen the originals. I understand Disney wanting to bring a the Jungle Book to a nee generation but nope, didn’t work out.
I love Baloo and bBagheera but that’s about it and I was really glad when the movie was over.