Right! I know it’s been a year since I’ve done one of these, but this time I intend to persevere and finish it! I cannot allow these movies that were made for children to beat me! The only way to beat these movies is by doing four at a time rather than one, because it’s the Disney Direct to DVD sequels and I don’t want to pike out again.
Link to Lady and the Tramp (1955) Review: The Disneyathon – Part 6: More Classics
I mark my grand return with The Lady and The Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure. (Oh boy.) As the subtitle suggests, Lady and the Tramp aren’t the main characters of this movie. It’s their son Scamp who seriously lives up to his name because after one minute with this kid you want nothing more to do with him. The plot is kind of opposite to the first where the little Scamp hates being a house pet, hates living with house pets, and hates being pampered. One day he sees some wild mutts and wants to hang out with them so he can become a junkyard dog which sounds like a pretty sad title to me but whatever, it’s your life man. This ultimately leads to Scamp meeting a junkyard dog called Angel, a tiny girl dog who is there so we can repeat all those classic romantic Lady and the Tramp moments for a second time in this really cheap sequel.
I think I watched this movie way more than the first Lady and the Tramp, as I got winded by a huge gulp of nostalgia when the first song of the movie played. As the movie continued, all the songs and character designs just came back to me, as if I was digging up a time capsule and it felt great. Nostalgia aside, there was not much to love here. It looks pretty bland and all the characters from the first are just there. Except for The Tramp, as he plays another grumpy overprotective dad, which sucks because I somewhat remember liking him for being the total opposite in the first movie.
Though the biggest reason for my distaste is that damn Scamp! My Disney brain is a little fried, so I can’t recall if there is a more irritating main character than Scamp. He kicks the plot off, along with his likability by being selfish and whining about his nothing problems. Then he shows no regard for his family and pretty much everything he does after running away is a screw up as he makes a bigger idiot of himself. I hate Scamp. I want to talk about Angel because she’s Scamp’s polar opposite, that being a likable character. She reminds me of the first movie’s Tramp, as she’s a feisty rebel who doesn’t put up with anyone’s rubbish and is quite an interesting character. Her major flaw is the movie hooks her up with Scamp, which is not only revolting, but so forced. Mainly due to the bad writing, but also because I was distracted by the thought of how old Angel is supposed to be. Scamp’s a pup, but I think it’s very clear Angel isn’t, as we see the boss junkyard dog repeatedly calling her ‘his girl’ and also we learned she’s lived with five different families, so she might be as old as Tramp. I’m guessing because she’s a small dog you’re supposed to overlook this and also whoever they got to voice Scamp sounds more like a teenager than a kid, however this won’t stop me from wondering how awkward it will be in a year’s time when Scamp hits his growth spurt. There’s not much else to say, except along with Scamp’s voice not matching up, this is also the case with all the singing voices.
This movie is plain lazy, but as long as you don’t question anything and eat up seeing more cute dogs doing cute dog things you’ll probably like this one too.
Link to Cinderella (1950) Review: The Disneyathon – Part 5: The Silver Age
Oh great, we’re back to this nonsense of a movie being broken up into three stories. (Yuck!) Cinderella II: Dreams Come True is kind of like the opening to Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas where the side characters are reminiscing on untold events as if they were better than the original story that we’re all familiar with. Though the good news is all of the stories in Cinderella II take place after the first movie and not in between so if you liked Cinderella then this pointless movie won’t harm your love for that film unlike those horrid Beauty and the Beast sequels.
Anyway the first story has Cinderella making the preparations for a banquet at the castle and it is as boring as dirt. The second one has the Fairy Godmother turning the tall mouse into a human so he can be more helpful to Cinderella. This one was a little better, mainly because I could turn my brain off for all the mice slapstick scenes, but I’m still not a fan because the Fairy Godmother plays a big role in this and she has an act of ruining every scene she is in. The final short focuses on one of Cinderella’s ugly step sisters falling for some baker. To my surprise this was actually quite well done. You feel the connection between Anastasia and this baker mainly due to the lack of dialogue between the two. It could be shorter as I don’t need the subplot of the mice helping the step mother’s cat hook up with the castle’s cat. If this final short was the entire movie and it was about 10 minutes long I would not be as annoyed as I am because this movie is a chore, especially since all these shorts clock at 21 minutes each. You know, like the length of an average TV episode, also the same length as the shorts in Belle’s Magical World, which makes me wonder if Disney was working on a Cinderella show too.
Anyway, despite my grievances, Cinderella II was not as bad as I thought it would be. I would never watch it again but I will admit there is some actual quality on display.
Link to The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) Reivew: The Disneyathon Part 13: Some Unique Films
Oh no, we’re back at sequels to the movies I actually like. The Hunchback of Notre Dame got a sequel despite it being arguably the biggest gamble of the Disney Renaissance, which is the reason why it has taken a number of years for people to admit to loving it. Well the reason for Disney wanting to greenlight a sequel to Hunchback is because someone wasn’t happy that Quasimodo didn’t hook up with Esmerelda at the end of the movie. Despite being lifted through the streets of Paris and achieving his dream of being accepted by everyone, someone felt the movie would have been better if Quasi had a girl in his arms too. I really appreciate Hunchback for being so bold for a Disney movie of it’s time to have the main protagonist not get the girl in the end and let Esmeralda fall for Phoebus instead. The film is better for it, as that wasn’t Quasi’s goal, but this sequel will make it happen!
The circus has come to Paris and the ringmaster wants to rob a bell full of jewels that is apparently in Notre Dame. So his plan is to sent his sexy assistant to seduce Quasimodo into leading her to the bell of jewels. I should note the movie wants you to like this girl as she has a tragic backstory and has dreams of walking on a tightrope. She starts off bad because her boss is a total jerk but, lucky for her, Quasi’s warm heart will lead her to the light. That’s the plot, it’s an hour and 10 minutes which must set the record for the shortest film I had to endure. Well at least it’s a quick pointless movie, but still it’s not short enough.
The dark ascetics of the first movie are completely absent along with the operatic score that made that film so epic. Now it’s no different from Cinderella II as all the complexity jumped into the same fire pit that Frollo fell into. The animation is another obvious downgrade compared to the first Hunchback movie and also the last movie we just covered. It looks so old for a 2000s movie as it brought me back to how the 90s Aladdin sequels looked and some parts of the animation are choppy and unfinished. I’m guessing the entire budget went to voice cast as all the actors from the first Hunchback have returned and play less interesting versions of the characters we love. Esmeralda and Phoebus have nothing to do and are a complete waste of Demi Moore and Kevin Kline’s talents. As much as I love Quasi it kind of hurts seeing him forced into this unnecessary and bland romance. The love interest doesn’t have much going for her as her biggest character trait is she is pretty and hates it because she has to use it for bad things. The villain is a little better, he’s no Frollo of course, but he works as an Evil Mcevilpants for this movie and I must admit Michael McKean kills the role.
The worst thing about this movie is it’s very predictable and the conflict is forced. Quasi’s love interest could easily resolve the entire conflict and stop the villain’s plans if she just ran off or told Quasi or Phoebus what’s going on as there is nothing that binds her to work in the circus. The excuse is she is forced to work with the bad guy because she stole something when she was a kid and if she ditches him he’ll make her poor. Her real problem is she is a stupid head, just like everyone else in this movie, because every character at some point makes a really dumb decision that could’ve been avoided if they weren’t stupid heads!
This movie sucks so badly, do yourself a favour and watch the first movie again! Next!
Link to Peter Pan (1953) Review: The Disneyathon – Part 5: The Silver Age
One last movie for this post and it’s the sequel to Peter Pan. Another sequel to a movie I don’t particularly like, but if I must be frank I actually quite like this sequel and it is easily the best that I had to watch for this post. Peter Pan: Return to Neverland is also one of the few we’ll be looking at for this series that got a theatrical release, which means I probably should have covered this in the original Disneyathon series. Oh well, it’s here now as it must have flown under my radar when I was picking out movies for that series.
What threw me off right away with this sequel is that it’s set in the midst of WWII. There are nightly air raids in London, husbands are leaving their families to serve their country and children are being put on trains heading for the countryside due to the immediate danger of the city. That’s as extreme as it gets, as there is no explicit mention of the war because it’s a Disney kids movie after all. Still it’s a very morbid opening for one of these sequels, which is such a refreshing change, especially as every one of these sequels is obsessed with overloading the happiness meter to a nauseating level. Anyway we see this Disney approved world through the eyes of Wendy’s daughter, Jane, who thanks to the environment she lives in has matured rather significantly for a girl of her age and has no time for the tales of Peter Pan that her mother drones on about. Already Jane is a far better character than Wendy ever was in the first film as at least when Peter Pan shows up she isn’t all instantly googly eyed for him for the entire picture like her mother was.
The dark setting doesn’t hang around for long as once Hook shows up to take Jane to Neverland it’s fun a silly slapstick cartoon for the rest of the film. The plot from here plays almost identically to the original with the only major differences being the character of Jane and Tinker Bell’s involvement in the story. Jane gets to go on a character arc that is similar to Robin Williams’ Peter Pan in Hook and Tinker Bell has something else to do other than be jealous of Wendy or in this case Jane for being buddy buddy with Peter Pan. Thankfully the main characters were not annoying enough to make me root for Hook like I did in the original. Hook is entertaining enough, but he is actually kind of threatening in this, so I didn’t feel as bad when he was being harassed by the giant octopus.
While this sequel is better than the original Peter Pan, it still isn’t that great. I don’t mind Jane, but she suffers from the dumbness syndrome that most of these direct to DVD sequel characters have. The animation looks far better than Hunchback II and it doesn’t look as cheap compared to most Disney direct to DVD sequels, mostly because it went to cinemas and they got some good use out of that 3D technology. Keep in mind though it isn’t Treasure Planet good, which came out the same year, as the film suffers from the typical blandness of these cash grab sequels and the unremarkable story.
Overall my main praise for Return to Neverland is the fact that it is better than the other three sequels and not because it is a quality movie or anything. It is the most watchable of the four here, but still I don’t have much desire to see it again in this lifetime.
Link to Next Part: Disneyathon: Direct to Blog Sequel: Part 10 – More Unnecessary Sequels