The Jungle Book 2 Night Thread Boogies Over to McDonald’s

The Jungle Book 2 opened in theaters 20 years ago this month. The film was originally set to go straight-to-video, but following the box office success of Return to Never Land the previous year, Disney decided to increase the budget and give it a theatrical run too. It more or less repeats the plot of the original, but it’s just so gosh darn likable with plenty of things to enjoy. John Goodman is great as Baloo, and Mae Whitman(!) has one of her first major voice acting roles as Shanti, the girl who Mowgli was drawn to at the end of the first film. She makes Shanti very appealing.

Phil Collins has a cameo as an asshole vulture who loves to laugh at his own jokes, and Tony Jay is perfectly cast as a vengeful Shere Khan. Dare I say it, the character is actually scarier here. Humiliated by his last encounter with Mowgli, Khan is less preoccupied with his polite façade and more focused on fucking killing this kid. And hey, Mowgli is voiced by Haley Joel Osment and is kind of annoying now, so I can sympathize with Khan wanting to get rid of him. The climatic battle takes place in an ancient temple with lots of thunder and lightning and lava. It’s honestly pretty good stuff.

As was the norm back in the day for Disney movies, the film had a Happy Meal promotion over at Mickey D’s consisting of six toys. Each toy came with a figure and several building pieces which were interchangeable and could be used to build your own jungle treehouse. The cool thing—and a shrewd one from a capitalist standpoint—was that this created an incentive to collect extra toys, as the more you had, the larger your jungle gym could be. And these were legit good building sets. You really could construct some neat stuff with them.

Have a swinging good night, y’all!