|The Jungle Book 2|
|Directed by||Steve Trenbirth|
|Music by||Joel McNeely|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures Distribution|
|Box office||$135.7 million|
The Jungle Book 2 is a 2003 animated adventure film produced by the Australian office at DisneyToon Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Distribution. The theatrical version of the film was released in France on February 5, 2003, and released in the United States on February 14, 2003. The film is a sequel to Walt Disney's 1967 film The Jungle Book, and stars Haley Joel Osment as the voice of Mowgli and John Goodman as the voice of Baloo.
The film was originally produced as a direct-to-video film, but was released theatrically first, similar to the Peter Pan sequel Return to Never Land. It is the fourth animated Disney sequel to have a theatrical release rather than going direct-to-video after The Rescuers Down Under (1990), Fantasia 2000 (1999), and Return to Never Land (2002) and the last one until Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018). The film is not based on The Second Jungle Book. However, they do have several characters in common.
The film received negative reviews directed towards the animation and similarity in plotline to the first film. However, it was a box office success, grossing $135.7 million against a $20 million budget.
Following the events of the previous film, Mowgli now resides in the "Man-Village" with Shanti, the girl who lured him into the village, having been being adopted by the village leader, who has a wife named Messua and a son named Ranjan. However, wanting to return to the exciting life of the jungle, Mowgli nearly leads the other children in the village into the jungle. Mowgli is punished by the village leader for disobeying him by leaving the village and putting the other children in danger.
Meanwhile, in the jungle, Shere Khan has returned to Baloo and Bagheera's part of the jungle, seeking revenge on Mowgli for defeating him. Baloo enters the Man-Village and takes Mowgli back into the jungle; however, unbeknownst to them, Shere Khan had also enter the village, only to be attacked by the villagers. In the ensuing chase, Shanti and Ranjan sneak into the jungle to rescue Mowgli, believing that Baloo is a rabid animal who has kidnapped him.
Bagheera learns of Mowgli's escape from the village when the humans search the jungle for him, and immediately suspects Baloo. Mowgli instructs Baloo to scare off Shanti should she appear, and bemoans about his boring life in the Man-Village. Baloo and Mowgli journey to King Louie's old temple (King Louie is mentioned to have moved out), for a party. However, when the jungle animals mock Shanti and other aspects of Mowgli's life in the Man-Village, Mowgli angrily leaves. He finds Shanti and Ranjan, but Baloo scares Shanti. When the truth comes out that Mowgli ordered Baloo to scare her, Shanti and Ranjan run away, abandoning Mowgli.
Baloo realizes that Mowgli misses his village life, but when Mowgli tries to make amends with his human friends, they are cornered by Shere Khan. The tiger chases Mowgli and Shanti to an abandoned temple built above a lake of lava. Baloo instructs Bagheera to protect Ranjan while he goes to save Mowgli and Shanti. After confusing Shere Khan by banging several different gongs, Shanti's presence is revealed to Shere Khan. Baloo tackles Shere Khan to the ground, allowing Mowgli and Shanti enough time to escape, but the tiger chases them to a statue across a pit of lava. Shere Khan is trapped within the statue's mouth, and it plummets onto a large stone in the lava below.
With Shere Khan finally thwarted, Baloo decides to let Mowgli return to the Man-Village with Shanti and Ranjan, and Bagheera proudly compliments Baloo for making a wise decision. Upon returning to the Man-Village with Shanti and Ranjan, Mowgli reconciles with the village leader, who apologizes to Mowgli for failing to understand that the jungle was part of his identity. The children return daily to visit Baloo and Bagheera in the jungle.
Additional voices are provided by an uncredited J. Grant Albrecht, Jeff Bennett, Brian Cummings, Baron Davis, Jess Harnell, and Devika Parikh.
Songs from the first film were composed by Terry Gilkyson and Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman with new songs by Lorraine Feather, Paul Grabowsky, and Joel McNeely. Marty Stuart reportedly submitted songs for the film during production.
In the 1990s, screenwriting duo Bob Hilgenberg and Rob Muir submitted a Jungle Book 2 screenplay in which Baloo ventured to save his romantic interest from a poacher. Disney ultimately went in a different direction for the sequel.
John Goodman recorded his voice work in New Orleans while Haley Joel Osment recorded his in California. Due to a legal dispute, the character of King Louie from the original Jungle Book could not be included in this film. However, he makes a non-physical appearance as a shadow puppet in the beginning of the film and is briefly mentioned in the middle of the film. The decision was made to keep Shere Khan in shadow during the beginning of the film to "reflect his 'wounded pride'".
The Jungle Book 2 received generally negative reviews from critics. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film received an approval rating of 19% based on 91 reviews, with an average rating of 4.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "This inferior rehash of The Jungle Book should have gone straight to video". On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 38 out of 100 based on 24 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.
The film was released on February 14, 2003 and opened at #4 in its 4-day opening weekend with $14,109,797. At the end of its run, the film grossed $47,901,582 in the United States and $87,802,017 in foreign countries totaling $135,703,599 worldwide. It could be considered a box office success, based on its $20 million budget.
The Jungle Book 2 was released on both VHS and DVD on June 10, 2003. The bonus features included the behind-the-scenes, some music videos, "W-I-L-D", "I Wan'na Be like You" and "Jungle Rhythm", and deleted scenes. It was released again on June 17, 2008 on "Special Edition" DVD. In the United States, the 2008 DVD release sold 126,593 units and grossed $1.83 million in two weeks. The film was released on Blu-ray on March 18, 2014, following its predecessor's first HD Blu-ray release, as both films were put back in the Disney Vault in January 2017. As of 2022, this sequel has not yet been announced for a DVD/Blu-ray/Digital re-release in North America, unlike the predecessor that was re-released for its 55th anniversary in 2022. To date, this sequel is only available to stream on Disney+.
In 2003, a third installment to The Jungle Book was planned. It would have been about Baloo and Shere Khan being captured and sold off to a Russian circus, and Mowgli, Shanti, Ranjan, and Bagheera deciding to save them both. Over the course of the film, Shere Khan regrets his hatred against humanity after the events of the previous two films because of his capture, and eventually reforms after Mowgli and his friends rescued them. The project never materialized.