The Jungle Book 2 (2003)

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Released 15-Sep-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Featurette-Making Of
Game-Mowgli's Jungle Ruins Maze
Music Highlights-Song Selection
Deleted Scenes-With introductions by Sharon Morrill and Matt Walker
Music Video-"Jungle Rhythm"
Music Video-"W-I-L-D"
Synopsis-The original movie
Song Lyrics-Sing With The Movie
Music Video-"I Wanna Be Like You", by Nikki Webster
THX Optimizer
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 69:19
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Steve Trenbirth
Studio
Distributor
Disney
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Phil Collins
Jim Cummings
Bobby Edner
Connor Funk
John Goodman
Tony Jay
Bob Joles
Haley Joel Osment
John Rhys-Davies
Mae Whitman
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $36.95 Music Lorraine Feather
Paul Grabowsky
Patrick Griffin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Russian
English Song Lyrics
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This film is a typical second string sequel that Disney produces as the follow-up to a major hit. Of course, a comparison to the original leaves the sequel looking rather sad, especially when the original was that wonderful combination of story, music and animation that Disney can produce in its top releases.

    That aside, this is not a bad little film. In fact, the animation might be a little better than the average second string effort. The animation for scenes with lots of movement are one animation frame to one film frame. There are sections that are one animation frame to two film frames but they don't detract too much from the overall smoothness. The facial expressions are also very well done.

    The story follows on just after the original where Mowgli has been adopted by a family in a village. There he finds safety from Shere Khan, though he is finding the rules of normal life a little constricting. Meanwhile, back in the jungle Baloo is missing his little friend and wishing that they were back together. One of the reasons that Mowgli joined the village is a young girl by the name of Shanti who is also attracted to Mowgli but a little exasperated by his disregard for the rules, particularly those related to safety.

    Finally giving in to temptation, Baloo sneaks into the village to see Mowgli. Happy to see his old friend, he heads off into the jungle with Baloo without telling anyone where he is going. Shanti and Mowgli's adopted little brother, Ranjan, head off into the jungle in search of Mowgli. Soon Shere Khan is on their trail and all are in great danger.

    The story does explore a couple of issues; Mowgli's indecisiveness between the freedom of the jungle and Baloo, against the security and love of a human family, and also Baloo's jealously of the friendship between Mowgli and Shanti. These are not too obtrusive and handled quite well. The music is not as original as the first film, but is not too bad and is of the same jazzy sound. There are riffs from the original, in particular Bare Necessities, as well as some new material.

    The animation is very modern and is a particular contrast to the original It is obviously computer aided, both in the addition of computer effects such as water with ripples on the surface and also in the colouring of the characters. With traditional animation, the character is usually a single undifferentiated colour. Characters here have a highlight on one edge giving a more three dimensional effect. This is not something that could be done in traditional animation as the cost and difficulty of getting the gradient right in every frame would be prohibitive. For the majority of the film, the computer material is smoothly blended with the hand-drawn animation, except in a couple of scenes such as where the animals are playing in the aforementioned water.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    I believe that this transfer has been taken direct from the digital masters that come from the computers that produced the animation. In normal animated transfers that come from film, the MPEG encoder often has a little difficulty with the large areas of single colours in combination with the grain. In this transfer, the colours are almost completely free of any artefact or problem. This is probably one of the first transfers that I have seen that is this clean.

    The original aspect ratio appears to be 1.85:1 while the DVD has black bars left and right of a 16x9 enhanced image to give a aspect ratio of 1.66:1. I can't think of a single reason why they would do this (crop from 1.85:1 to 1.66:1 that is).

    The transfer is very sharp and the shadow detail is excellent. There is not a hint of low level noise.

    There is a much wider colour palette used in this film compared to the original, which is not surprising considering just how old the original film is. The colours are completely free of noise and very nicely reproduced on screen.

    By searching frame by frame I found one little section that acts as a comparison between the colours in this film and what we normally see. At 13:05, just as Baloo bends over while playing with a coconut, there are some very minor artefacts in the colours that make up his head. This is the sort of artefact that is normally seen throughout film sourced animated material. There is some minor aliasing in the lines that surround the characters but it is not distracting. There are no film artefacts to be seen.

    There are a number of different subtitle tracks. The main English subtitles are reasonably comprehensive and easy to read, and there are also subtitles for the Hearing Impaired that include some audio cues. There are also another set of English subtitles that are only present during the songs so that you can sing along. These are accessed from the special features menu. The song subtitles are in an italic font that I found a little hard to read. The last set of subtitles are in Russian.

    While this is an RSDL disc, I think that the movie is on one single layer with the special features on the second as there was no evidence of a layer change during the film.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are two Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks on this disc, one in English the other in Russian. There is also a DTS 5.1 soundtrack present along with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack that is for the visually impaired which includes a female voice describing the occasional piece of on-screen action.

    I listened to both the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and the DTS track and noticed no real difference between them.

    Dialogue quality is very good throughout the film as is the audio sync.

    The music was appropriate for the film but the only song that stuck in my mind was Bare Necessities, and that is of course not original to the sequel.

    The surrounds are used very well throughout the film particularly to place dialogue in the correct location. It is nice to hear a soundtrack that does not just nail the dialogue to the centre channel. The jungle sounds make an appearance in the surrounds and add to the overall atmosphere. The music also gains some width where appropriate (solos don't, which is good).

    The subwoofer does have some moments adding an ominous feel to frightening (for the kiddies) scenes and special effects such as the footsteps of the elephants.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu is presented at 1.85:1 and is a very nice one with animated characters popping in and out. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0. Other than a very short copyright warning you can skip forward over the Disney credit at the start and straight to the menu. When there are a bunch of film-hungry kids waiting for the film to start this is a godsend, particularly in comparison to some of the previous Disney titles that I have seen that can take ages to get to the play selection.

Featurette: making of Jungle Book 2 (10:32)

    Interviews with a whole range of people that were involved with the production of this film, with inserts from both this film and from the original. They talk about the differences between the two movies, the difficulty of following such a great hit, the new technology that was used in the sequel and the evolution of some of the characters. Overall this is quite interesting. Presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Only Russian subtitles are available for this featurette.

Game : Mowgli's Jungle Ruins Maze

    This is a maze based very loosely around the ruins that appear in the film. The ruins are 3D computer-generated images. As you manoeuvre through the maze using the arrow keys on your remote, you meet a series of blocked doors. When the door is selected you are presented with a multiple choice question such as "Which is the smallest of the big cats? The Lion, the Tiger or the Leopard. Selecting the correct answer will open the door". There is a helpful voice that accompanies you through the maze, giving little hints and asking the questions. I found the navigation a little confusing and to be honest did not follow the game through to the end. It is quite clever how they have produced this game from a technical standpoint. It is presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Disney Song Selection

    Here you can select from seven songs that are in the film: Jungle Rhythm, Bare Necessities (Baloo Solo), Colonel Hathi's March, Bare Necessities (Baloo and Mowgli), W-I-L-D, Jungle Rhythm (Mowgli Solo) Bare Necessities (Baloo, Mowgli and Shanti). You select the song, then whether you want subtitles, and then the scene from the film plays. You are then returned to the song selection menu. This is good when there is a song that the kids like and you want direct access rather than chapter hopping. While I would love to have this feature on Shrek where there are a number of songs that the kids love and ask for again and again, none of the songs here are that catchy. There is the option to play all and the same audio tracks are available as on the main feature.

Deleted Scenes

    There are two deleted scenes here that are introduced by Matt Walker (senior vice president, music) and Sharon Morrill (executive vice president). They explain why the scene was deleted and then the scene plays. These scenes never made it to animation - they are the storyboards set to music and, as explained, the music is not studio final but quick recordings to test out the scene. The use of the storyboards is actually very clever with pans and zooms adding life while the music bops along. The first scene is "I got you beat" (5:42) and the second is "Braver" (3:44). Both are presented at 1.33:1 but the storyboards are 1.85:1 letterboxed. Only Russian subtitles are available on this featurette.

Music Video: Jungle Rhythm (1:03)

    A clip from the film containing the song Jungle Rhythm, presented at 1.75:1 letterboxed within a 1.33:1 frame and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. No subtitles available.

Music Video: WILD (1:03)

    Another clip from the film, this time of the song WILD, again presented at 1.75:1 letterboxed and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. No subtitles available.

Synopsis of the original movie "The Jungle Book" (3:00)

    The original story told in three minutes using scenes from the original movie and with a voice-over telling the story. Unfortunately presented at 1.33:1 and suffering slightly from age it is a nice inclusion just in case you don't have the original or to remind the little ones what the story so far is. Accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Again only Russian subtitles are available.

Sing with the movie.

    The second extras menu screen may not be the best place for this selection, as you won't find it until after you have seen the movie. This turns on the lyric subtitles.

Music Video: I want to be like you with Nikki Webster.

    A song and dance video clip with Nikki Webster intercut with scenes from the film. Nikki is also joined by some young assistants who dance along with her. This is the sort of thing that the little kids love and it will get them up and dancing. Unfortunately, is is wrecked for adults by a constantly streaming advertisement across the bottom of the video advertising the availability of the soundtrack. Presented at 1.85:1 letterboxed and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Subtitles are not available.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The region 4 version of this disc misses out on:

    The region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    It is interesting that they produced the music video with market specific performers. These differences don't really provide any reason to prefer one version over the other, giving us a draw.

Summary

    Leaving aside the comparison to the original, this is not a bad film and will keep the kiddies nailed to their seats unless they run over for a hug when Shere Khan appears, and they seem to enjoy repeat viewings as well. The voice actors all do a fine job, especially John Goodman as Baloo.

    The video is excellent, though at a strange aspect ratio.

    The audio is also very good.

    There is a good selection of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Sunday, October 05, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252q CRT Projector, Screen Technics matte white screen 16:9 (223cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR800
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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