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Rudyard Kipling himself couldn't have imagined scenes more stunning than the ones captured by the creators of The Second Jungle Book: Mowgli and Baloo. The film, a live-action follow-up to Disney's 1994 Jungle Book feature, attaches itself to the loincloth of young wolf-raised Mowgli as he leads a gang of greedy grown-ups on a wild goose chase through the jungles of India, circa 1890. In the course of this breathless caper, a visual delicacy is cooked up. Eyes of all ages will be loath to wander from the screen as it shifts from one color-drenched, wildlife-rife scene to the next. The animals, more than the wilderness, are what give this film its Eden-like quality--Mowgli protectors Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear, as well as wolves, tigers, a pack of prowling monkeys, and even exotic snakes of the deadly variety all mix and mingle to gorgeous effect. And that's not to give the tale unraveling all the while short shrift. Kipling, of course, never once spun a second-rate story, and this adaptation doesn't tinker with way-off ideas of its own. Bill Campbell is fully believable as an Indiana Jones-like circus scout, and Roddy McDowall is at his eccentric best as a cave-dwelling monkey commander. --Tammy La Gorce
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