Making the Grades
Animals aren't the only ones bopping to the jungle jive in Disney's new film The Jungle Book 2. Mowgli (voice of Haley Joel Osment) has his new human friends swingin' to the infectious rhythm as well.
However, life inside the village is proving to be a little rocky for the man-cub. Loved by his adoptive parents and worshiped by his young stepbrother, Ranjan (Connor Funk), Mowgli has a whole pack of new pals including Shanti (Mae Whitman), the young girl who charmed him into the tiny town. Still he can't grasp the fear of the wild that the villagers drum into the heads of their children. Torn by the tug of his childhood freedoms and the lure of approaching adulthood, the young boy is soon chafing at the rules and responsibilities that come with his newfound life.
Meanwhile, his old buddy Baloo (John Goodman) is also unhappy with the current arrangement. Despite the protests of Bagheera (Bob Joles) and the best defense tactics of Colonel Hathi (Jim Cummings) and his Elephant Patrol, the carefree bear manages to sneak inside the gates of the settlement for a visit with his chum. Having been recently disciplined by his father (John Rhys-Davis) for disobedience, Mowgli is delighted to see his old friend and more than willing to make a break for the woods with him.
Deep inside the dark shadows of the forest, another character is glad to have Mowgli outside the hamlet's protective walls. Defeated and humiliated in his last attempt to devour the man-cub, the ferocious Shere Khan (Tony Jay) has been mercilessly badgered by Lucky the Vulture (Phil Collins). But the crafty old tiger knows the value of patiently stalking his prey. While Mowgli exuberantly sheds the cares of his human lifestyle, the revengeful predator moves in and readies for the pounce.
Hitting theaters 35 years after the original Jungle Book (the last animated feature Walt Disney personally supervised), the storyline hardly misses a beat before moving on to explore Mowgli's coming-of-age attempts to meld his past and future. Combining favorite old characters (voiced by all new actors) with a few fresh faces, the film's producers also endeavor to carry on the magic of the earlier film. Yet with production techniques evolving since the early years of animation, this rain forest romp comes off with a feel of its own.
Mowgli's adolescent adventures and fun-filled frolics will likely keep a new generation of little monkeys captivated and entertained---at least long enough to get some "bare necessities" done around the house.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Jungle Book 2.
Although dangers can exist everywhere, we are often more afraid of things we don’t understand. What made Mowgli’s view of the jungle so different from the villagers?
Rules and work seem to be Mowgli’s biggest issues with village life. What guidelines or chores are the hardest for you to deal with at home?