Perhaps there has been a demand for a continuation of the 2017 animated film, The Jungle Bunch. I must admit that I couldn’t recall if I had watched it before sitting down to watch this sequel. However, as soon as a penguin with tiger stripes appeared on the screen, my memories came flooding back. The first movie was a chaotic and absurd journey about a group of animal friends trying to protect their forest from a koala with a love for fire. It was similar to the mayhem aimed at young children in movies like Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda, but those films executed it more effectively.
This fast-paced follow-up offers a similar storyline. In this installment, Maurice and his friends must face off against a wicked beaver (if you haven’t watched the first film, Maurice has orange stripes because he was raised by a tiger after being orphaned). The beaver’s evil scheme is to unleash a poisonous purple foam on the jungle, without any clear motivation. Maurice and his team of heroic animals must come up with an antidote by obtaining a rare ingredient from a mysterious group known as the Sacred Circle of Stink.
It’s absurd – and not in a joyfully silly manner. The humor consists of snide remarks and crude jokes, and the script even features a romantic relationship between a penguin and an armadillo. This is uncomfortable and not appropriate for young children: “I was eager to speak with you, Maurice.” The films in this series are adaptations of a popular French children’s show and have a low-quality appearance, similar to cheap shows thrown onto streaming platforms to fill space. For adults, it’s a stressful experience: like being at a four-year-old’s birthday party right before it’s time to go home, when the cake is gone, the kids are throwing tantrums, and everyone realizes there are no goodie bags.