Link to Previous Part: Disneyathon: Direct to Blog Sequel: Part 10 – More Unnecessary Sequels
Link to Lilo and Stitch (2002) Review: The Disneyathon Part 16: The Fall of 2D Animation
Oh, we did it! We finally made it to the Lilo and Stitch sequels! Lilo and Stitch are the clear winners in regard to having the most direct to DVD sequels as Stitch! The Movie is the first of three we’re going to be talking about over the next two parts.
The plot sees Gantu applying for a new job position, working under a European space rabbit. The rabbit tasks Gantu to capture Jumba as apparently the mad scientist has been working on this gumball machine that contains the other 625 experiments before Stitch. Stitch meanwhile is miserable because no one outside of his new family likes him. Lilo does find a way to make him forget about his depression when they let out one of Jumba’s 625 Stitch like creatures. Guess what folks, Stitch! The Movie is actually a TV pilot for Lilo and Stitch the TV series. This time, however, the Lilo and Stitch series did actually get past the pilot and it even ran for a couple years. I even recall watching some of the episodes on Saturday Morning Disney. (I think that’s what it was called. I was more a Kids WB guy.)
Back to this movie and probably the biggest problem is that it’s a big commercial for the TV series, with the ending being a huge tease for that. Although the little adventure they offer does make it kind of appealing to check out the series. This is mainly telegraphed through the new characters they introduce such as the pretty entertaining cartoonishly evil Dr. Hamsterveil. (pronounced like hamster wheel even though he looks like a rabbit.) I also liked Stitch’s predecessor, 625, who is a more laidback version of Stitch except he speaks fluent English and enjoys making and eating baloney sandwiches. They both work well off Gantu, who is a great straight man, which is refreshing for a Disney villain sidekick. Essentially the villains were the best part of this movie, which feels weird to say in these direct to DVD movies, especially compared to the theatrical movies where they were all over this dynamic.
Lilo and Stitch prove to be a fun pairing yet again as they go on their space adventure, but if you’re looking for that human drama that the first movie had then you’re out of luck. The other human characters like Nani and Bubbles are severely sidelined in favour of more Jumba, more cross dressing Pleakley and the evil three Stooges. The movie is more interested in being a fun family venture, because you’re essentially watching a Saturday morning cartoon. This movie certainly works at being enjoyable, but it’s too brief for it to be really engaging as the movie is under an hour long.
Overall it’s fun, but I probably never need to see this again, but hey it’s watchable.
Link to The Lion King (1994) Review: The Disneyathon Part 13: Some Unique Films
Link to The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride (1998) Review: The Disneyathon: The Direct to Blog Sequel – Part 6: The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride
It’s 2004 and it’s been six years since the release of Lion King II and a decade since the original. For the lowly anticipated third movie it’s not a sequel to Lion King II, because we’re going back to the time of the original Lion King and it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that we have another midquel on our hands. Although this one is a little interesting as it’s also our first prequel hence the title The Lion King 1½, this film is not about Simba and the other lions, but about side characters Timon and Pumbaa. I guess their TV show was over by then so having a movie that explains how they met and how they were indirectly involved in the early parts of the Lion King is the next logical step.
I’ll give this one points for being the least conventional direct to DVD sequel we have discussed as this will be a weird one to explain. Timon and Pumbaa are watching The Lion King, we know this because they’re silhouetted over the screen as if they were reacting to the movie. These two will be constantly pausing the movie to make comments and jokes at crucial moments for comedic effect and to suck away any potential tension this movie might garner. The first quarter of the movie takes place before The Lion King and we see Timon be a screw-up in his meerkat community. He eventually sets off on his own and meets Pumbaa who Timon tricks into believing will be his friend. This leads to the midquel portion, aka the rest of the movie, where we find that Timon and Pumbaa were there for all those crucial moments in the Lion King long before we met them in that movie. Like the reason why all those animals bowed down to baby Simba during the Circle of Life sequence, is not because they respect the young cub, but because Pumbaa did a massive pop off that made all the animals pass out. This is all tied together with a very lose plot of Timon finding a new home where he can be accepted for who he is.
Tiresome is how I would describe Lion King 1½. The concept of Timon and Pumbaa commentating over the film’s events works pretty well for the first half hour, but the schtick got old and annoying once we properly settle into midquel territories. Seeing Timon and Pumbaa were there during the stampede scene or any other scene they weren’t in the original movie doesn’t really add to that movie more so I feel it disrespects it and sometimes contradicts that movie just so we can have a random funny moment or just so this movie can have a plot. The only thing this movie might add is we see how Timon and Pumbaa handle being Simba’s dads. It’s quite cute, however these scenes are rather brief. Honestly I think the plot is bad, Timon is a pretty unlikable main character and not a particularly interesting one either. His conflict with Pumbaa feels forced and redundant especially since it’s all set during The Lion King and if you have seen that movie (which if you’re reading this you definitely have) then this movie will do nothing to keep you engaged. A lot of the jokes are fourth wall and self aware jabs, which are so on the nose that I just found myself groaning most of the time.
Overall while this movie gets points for originality, the premise got stale awfully fast. Timon and Pumbaa aren’t good main characters and their story didn’t need to be told. It’s not really a good comedy either so I’m calling this one a dud and moving on!
Link to Mulan (1998) Review: The Disneyathon Part 14: The End of The Disney Renaissance
The last Renaissance movie Disney wanted to cross off in their list of movies that need DVD sequels is Mulan. This time we’re doing a direct sequel to Mulan instead of any of the other options that the last three movies capitalised on. Hoo-rah!
Mulan II is quite strange as it puts a huge focus on the least compelling and most redundant part of the original Mulan, that being the romance between Mulan and Shang. The plot here is the Emperor has tasked Mulan and Shang to escort his three daughters to an unspecified country (which I believe is Mongolia) so he can marry them off to that emperor’s sons in order to create peace between the two nations. An okay start for a possible exciting adventure flatlined immediately in favour of Mulan’s three war buddies falling in love with the princesses and vice versa for the sisters, and which jeopardises the entire mission. Plus Shang and Mulan intend to get married, but that will interfere with Mushu’s plans of eternal relaxation so he devises a scheme to break off their engagement. To rephrase myself, the sequel to Disney’s most heroic feminist tale has removed all of that in favour of a marriage soap opera where the funny Eddie Murphy dragon is the bad guy.
Yeah the story is terrible and such a big miscalculation too, which is likely the reason this movie has a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. That and the animation done on Shang when he loses it at Mulan. The whole movie focuses on the dilemma of putting your heart before duty, Mulan doesn’t believe in arranged marriages, while Shang is the opposite. This feels very undercooked as these girls choosing to pursue their bodyguards puts all of China at risk, yet this movie has no interest in exploring those repercussions because the obnoxious contrived happy ending can’t happen then. Same thing applies to our antagonist Mushu as he is actively sabotaging their journey to the palace and Mulan’s happiness for his own gain, but because he was the funny guy in the last movie, when he eventually confesses the characters let him off way too easily. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Mushu in the last movie, but this might take the ticket as the biggest character assassination for this series. Although every character is a little off here, even Mulan and Shang as they behave and fight like children, which brings me back to those awful Beauty and the Beast sequels.
Anyway, let’s move onto what I liked as this movie actually has a bit. The movie looks pretty nice, as besides from a few exceptions the animation is competent. The songs were decent as well, my favourite would be the one the three sisters sing, which brings me onto their romance with war buddies as this is actually pretty cute. In the wider scope of this story it is terrible, but on it’s own it’s okay along with the sisters themselves as they’re not bad characters.
I should sum this up by saying that Mulan II has some of the worst writing we have seen for this series, but the film does has some silver linings that do redeem it a bit, saving it from being a total disaster. Still, you’re better off with the first movie as it offers a more compelling story, while this one just squanders it.
The Disneyathon: The Direct to Blog Sequel Ranking List
Link to Next Part: Coming Soon