" Harmony and Carnival eque music all in one adventure "
Written by Thomas Glorieux
- Review of
the regular release
There have been many adaptations of Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, from series and video games to the most known version of all, Disney' 1967 animated box office success. But apart from the 1994 live action version by Stephen Sommers, many didn't see the other live action version in 1997, namely The Second Jungle Book: Mowgli & Baloo. And why should they? Because somehow, The Jungle Book never seemed to resonate a response outside the animation style and it quickly faded into obscurity. Sadly for us it took John Scott's music with it.
Luckily, Scott's own label resurrected it quickly that very same year, giving us a very colorful and adventurous score that went a little too easily towards the crazy, Mickey Mouse style. When you open the score with "Main Title", you somehow dream of another John Scott masterpiece, hearing a playful main theme (Mowgli's theme) and a wonderful orchestral theme (the jungle theme) together for the first time. Somehow during that moment, you think that this really could become something worthwhile. Sadly it doesn't live up to that opening track. That is not to say that John Scott's music is weak though.
On the contrary, detail wise The Second Jungle Book is another test case example of John Scott's obvious talent. But melody wise, the score does tend to jump out towards the zany and the quirky style. Take for instance "Pursued by Bogh and One Eye" and "Mowgli and Timo Go Hunting", offering all sorts of musical sounds for the hunt in the jungle. Listen for instance to the crazy carnival music in "Baloo Rescues Mowgli From the Cage", "Crack Shot Buldeo Misses Again" and "Buldeo Gets Fired...From a Cannon". And then simply listen to the wonderful version of Mowgli's theme in "The Harmony of the Jungle", the lovely theme for Timo in "Peaceful Night" or the simply brilliant combination of Mowgli's theme with the jungle theme in "Harmony Returns to the Jungle". Compare those tracks and you listen to equally effective music, but with just several that add thematic harmony to their playing style.
That isn't to say that all this is not worthy of your time. I'm just saying it will be harder to appreciate. There's a fantastic minute of adventurous material in "The Train Adventure" that could have really gone somewhere memorable (if it was allowed to continue), there are numerous classical pieces scattered throughout Scott's music that make it fun and interesting (Strauss in "The Blue Danube (Strauss)", Rossini's: William Tell Overture in "Chimps on a Roll", Jacques Offenbach's The Galop Infernal in "Circus Life", Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries and the British National Anthem in "King Murphy's Court"), and there's a nice threatening (Indian) Hunter theme in "Terror in the Lost City" and "Snake Lift" for you to hang on to. Meaning you get quality A music from a technical point of view. But it's easy to dismiss them and harder to like them if you compare them with the glorious 2 themes that open and close this score.
I understand John Scott's intentions. I really do. And sometimes I wonder if things could have been approached any differently. The action on screen is what it is. It never stops and somehow the animation style lives on through Scott's music. But somehow a bit of Mickey Mouse music, some carnival music and not enough thematic music doesn't give me what I was perhaps longing for. Trust me, if you've heard the opening and closing track before having heard all the rest, you'll be a bit disappointed with the outcome. Not that The Second Jungle Book is bad, but somehow the thematic style couldn't' compete with the playful Mickey Mouse adventures on screen.
1. Main Title (3.03) Excellent track
2. Pursued by Bogh and One Eye (3.23)
3. The Harmony of the Jungle (3.08)
4. Shere Khan on the Prowl (2.21)
5. The Train Adventure (3.42)
6. Mowgli and Timo Go Hunting (3.44)
7. The Blue Danube (Strauss) (1.36)
8. The Bandar-log (1.03)
9. Chimps on a Roll (2.00)
10. Peaceful Night (1.17)
11. Banished From the Wolf Cave (2.58)
12. Terror in the Lost City (6.17)
13. Captured by Kaa (3.02)
14. Circus Life (2.53)
15. Chasing the Tiger (2.01)
16. Baloo Rescues Mowgli From the Cage (2.01)
17. Finding Timo (1.05)
18. King Murphy's Court (3.38)
19. In the Temple of the Cobras (4.30)
20. Crack Shot Buldeo Misses Again (1.00)
21. Animals to the Rescue (3.30)
22. Snake Lift (3.19)
23. Buldeo Gets Fired...From a Cannon (2.54)
24. Harmony Returns to the Jungle (4.11) Excellent track
Total Length: 68.36