Walk like you, talk like you

"Jungle Book 2" takes more than just "The Bare Necessities" from the original film, produced in 1967.

The story line feels like a modern-day version of the first installment, including many of the same jigs, jokes, and jingles.

Still, like its predecessor, there's lively animation that will inspire children to tap their feet to the jungle rhythms and parents to recall their childhoods.

The movie picks up with Mowgli living in a village at the edge of the jungle with his new human family. The "man cub," who spent most of his childhood raised by animal friends in the trees, has tried to settle into his new life. But his overprotective father won't let him or the other children venture too far beyond the gates.

Mowgli longs for his old stomping grounds, where he and his "papa bear," Baloo, held their jam sessions.

Baloo also misses his sidekick, and sneaks into the village one night to visit him. Meanwhile, the villainous tiger, Shere Khan - whose voice by Tony Jay will send you running up a tree - plots his revenge against Mowgli.

Baloo pulls Mowgli into the jungle just as the tiger is about to pounce. Fearing the worst, Mowgli's young friends set off to find him and wind up getting lost themselves. They all encounter familiar characters and dangers along the jungle paths.

Ultimately Mowgli faces the same decision he did in the first film: Whether to remain with the bears and the baboons or live in the village.

Instead of recycling so many of its former hits, Disney ought to make more inventive films.

But the hand-drawn animation in "The Jungle Book 2" is classically beautiful, including rivers and waterfalls that glisten with technical touch-ups, and brilliant flora and plant life that fills up the screen.

Minor characters like the pachyderm parade; the clownish British buzzards; and the hypnotic, slithering snake prone to abuse made the children at the preview screening roar throughout the film.

The avuncular voice of Baloo (who better than John Goodman to play the role) could rally any shy child to the dance floor.

No doubt you'll find yourself humming with the kids about the prickly pears and fancy ants - as well as several new tunes - as you leave the theater.

Rated G; The film contains mild violence that may frighten small children.

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