Link to Previous Part: The Disneyathon: Direct to Blog Sequel: Part 12 – Some Unexpected Hits
Link to Bambi (1942) Review: The Disneyathon – Part 2: The Golden Age
Okay now we’re up to the oldest Disney film to get a direct-to-DVD sequel; with a whopping 60+ years between its 1942 release and the dumping of this 2006 movie. Bambi II is following along the same lines as the hit film Tarzan II, by being another midquel. This may come as a shock to you, but having a midquel to Bambi is actually not a bad idea as this midquel is set right after Bambi’s mother was killed, which if you remember in the original film, they skipped over that part in favour of more cute shenanigans with Bambi as an adult. So, the possibilities of where to take that are way more fascinating than whatever Timon and Pumbaa were up to before we met them in The Lion King, or whatever minor squabble Belle and the Beast had during that winter before they fell in love.
The film literally starts with Bambi alone right after his mother dies, with the big, massive deer, (who is his father) telling Bambi to follow him into the cold dark solemn winter. The movie focuses on Bambi bonding with his dad who is the great protector of the forest, so Bambi obviously wants to impress him. Meanwhile, the dad wants to pawn his kid off to any single lady doe, because he is too cool to be raising this kid himself. That’s the main premise, it’s an estranged dad forced to raise a child story whilst dealing with the trauma of losing a parent. I was a bit disappointed by that aspect as the scenes about the mother are few and far between. Though I kind of understand as Bambi is a kid not ready to fully process something like that and the dad is too stoic to feel anything. If there were more scenes like that it would have made the movie better and more interesting too as the scenes with the dad and son are kind of cute but are very basic. Though I get that you’re all here for the cute animal hijinks, which make up a majority of this movie.
The father and son are the emotional core, while the parts with any other character is where I tune out. Bambi II has a premise that is really promising but wastes it on being another cute low-effort cash grab, just like every other movie we have covered here. Other strong points of this movie would include the vibrant intense colouring that carries over from the original whenever anything gets really intense. When this happens, I’m slightly more invested and the film does a good job at recapturing that. It helps with making this one of the more beautiful direct-to-DVD films as even some of the backgrounds in this are very nice. My final note is that I never got used to hearing Patrick Stewart in this as Bambi’s father. He suits the role fine, it’s just weird they got him to do this.
Anyway, Bambi II was not as bad as I thought it would be, but it’s no more than decent. I shared more praises than I usually do for something like this as my negatives would be more rethreads of what has already been said in other parts. Moving on.
Link to Lilo and Stitch (2002) Review: The Disneyathon Part 16: The Fall of 2D Animation
Link to Stitch! The Movie (2003) Review: The Disneyathon: Direct to Blog Sequel: Part 11 – Sequels, TV Pilots and More Midquels
Hard to believe it, but we’re up to the final Lilo and Stitch sequel. This is a sequel to the first Lilo and Stitch sequel I reviewed as that served as a TV pilot to the Lilo and Stitch TV series, whilst this film is the series finale. Meanwhile, that last Lilo and Stitch sequel I reviewed has nothing to do with this movie as that was a direct sequel to the original theatrical movie. For simplicity’s sake, I will not bring up Lilo and Stitch 2 for the rest of this post.
I should note that I still hadn’t seen the Lilo and Stitch series, which is important, because this film makes tons of references to the other Stitch-like-Pokémon critters that I’m sure Stitch and Lilo met up with in the show and there are some in-jokes that would’ve hit harder if I watched the whole show. So, my enjoyment of this movie was hampered a bit because I didn’t do my homework beforehand. Sorry.
Anyway, I was still able to follow the story just fine as it transitions from Stitch! The Movie to Leroy and Stitch quite simultaneously. As Stitch! The Movie ended with Lilo telling Stitch ‘That they gotta catch them all‘. While this film starts with that Alien Councillor woman congratulating them for catching them all. This creates ‘a now what’ situation for Lilo as Stitch, Jumba, and Pleakley are ready to move on to other exciting adventures while Lilo gets sad because she is going to be alone with no friends, just as she started in the original film. She pretty much guilts the three aliens into staying on Earth until realising that she has to let them go eventually. That’s pretty much the human drama as Nani, and even Lilo to a certain extent, are in the background for the fun hijinks of the aliens. This also includes our villains as Gantu breaks out Hamsterveil, whose evil plan this time is to make a Stitch clone to wipe out all the other experiments. This is Leroy by the way, a sunburned Stitch because he is the bad Stitch after all.
I don’t really have too much to add to this one as I feel pretty similar towards this as I did Stitch! The Movie, as it’s a fun light movie to watch on a Saturday morning. Perhaps my lack of connection to the TV show is preventing me from liking this more. The main takeaway is it’s pretty funny and the character interactions were fun, especially whenever the villains are involved. Though for something refreshing I did like it when the main characters were forced to team up with the villain sidekicks as they’re pretty fun together. Even though the villains in this movie are such a joke to the main characters throughout the film they aren’t really concerned with their plans. The danger and peril our heroes do get into isn’t that much of a worry as there is always a solution around the corner. That’s pretty much because everyone is very jokey in this, as this is the official ending to Lilo and Stitch, so they want to have some fun with it. This is very obvious in the big grand finale of this movie where Hamsterveil unleashes his Stitch clones on all of Jumba’s Pokemons to duke it out in one big crazy battle.
Overall, this is my least favourite Lilo and Stitch movie, but it certainly wasn’t terrible, but it would likely appear in the middle of my ranking list. Though the biggest surprise is the Lilo and Stitch sequels might be the most consistently good direct-to-DVD sequels that we have covered. Good enough that I can see myself watching one of these again, but it would have to be when I have gotten really bored of watching anything else.
Link to Brother Bear (2003) Review: The Disneyathon Part 16: The Fall of 2D Animation
We had the oldest Disney movie to get a sequel in this post so why not the youngest next. For Brother Bear II there are only three years since the release of the 2003 original. Although this time Brother Bear II is not a midquel in-between the bear bonding scenes of the first film, it’s not a TV episode of the Adventures of the Brother Bears, but instead we have another direct sequel on our hands. This one is different, because it takes from these other beloved direct-to-DVD sequels The Hunchback of Notre Dame II and Mulan II, by asking the irrelevant question: Brother Bear would have been a better film if it ended with Kenai snuggling next to a human girlfriend instead of an annoying bear cub.
Sometime before the first movie Kenai was good friends with this girl named Nina. (I think her name was Needa, but she’s Nina to me because I need something to entertain myself as I write this.) Such great friends, they were that Kenai completely forgot about her during the events of the first film, but in this film, he has dreams of his childhood crush and is mocked by his baby brother for it. Meanwhile, Nina is getting married to some guy, but the spirits create a literal crack in the Earth to prevent this. As children Kenai gave Nina an amulet that has actually bonded her to him, and Nina needs to burn it before she can get married. Nina’s set-up is the most interesting part of the film by the way as the shaman does some magic campfire stuff that allows Nina to communicate with Kenai. Pretty convenient stuff, too bad this method wasn’t available in the first movie when Kenai’s brother was hunting him down, because he thought he murdered his baby brother. After that, it’s pretty standard stuff where Kenai is a jerk to Nina, by refusing to help her because he is petty about her getting married. Kenai tries to show off in front of Nina by trying to hitch those two moose from the first movie with some lady moose. Then when Kenai and Nina do fall for each other he completely shafts his baby brother Koda. I wrote about this with the first movie: Kenai sucks!
In all seriousness, this movie is pretty inoffensive to me. Brother Bear II is pretty similar to the first film where there are some good ideas littered throughout, but the rest of the movie can’t help but be very generic. Sure, I think Kenai is terrible, but the returning characters from the first film were never that great and have their moments of being as bad as Kenai. On the plus side, I thought Nina was okay. Her character showed some depth and some of the bonding she had with Kenai and Koda was pretty good. Some of the scenes in the latter half of the movie are actually pretty good, such as when Kenai realises Nina has a fear of the water and helps her overcome it. What hurts the character of Nina the most is she is pretty much defined by her need to be married to a man. It’s either some guy she has been arranged to marry or turning into a bear so she can marry Kenai instead. Her destiny is ultimately to be with a man. Yikes!
Anyway, this film is pretty much your standard middle-of-the-road direct-to-DVD sequel. Unlike Tarzan II they couldn’t get Phil Collins back to do some tracks for this movie, so that should tell you how low this one will ultimately rank.
Link to Fox and The Hound (1981) Review: The Disneyathon – Part 9: The Dark Age
We’re in the bottom five folks and thank goodness for that. This next one is kind of interesting as we have a sequel to Fox and The Hound, a movie from Disney’s dark age, which I believe is a first. Don’t get too excited though as the Disney Direct to DVD team saw the potential of the cute antics of Tod and Copper in the first film and based this whole midquel on that. Even though Tod and Copper were rarely together in that original film, as that was kind of the whole point and why their unusual friendship was rather fascinating.
Fox and the Hound II is notable in our midquel collection as it’s the first to say, ‘To hell with continuity‘. That old movie said Tod and Copper couldn’t spend much time together because Copper’s master was training him to one day kill foxes like Tod, well in our movie Tod and Copper’s friendship transcends all those restrictions. Like Tod getting shot at, and chased at an inch for his life by Copper’s master and his massive dog is nothing more than a minor inconvenience in our new movie. This is important so we can have this fun movie where Tod and Copper run away from home to checkout the traveling fair. It’s a movie where Copper shows off his secret talent (that was wrongly not mentioned in the original film) as a singer so he can join a singing dog band that is performing in front of humans who can’t hear their beautiful singing voices, because dogs can’t talk to humans. So, it’s pretty weird when these dogs talk about becoming big stars when their target audience doesn’t understand what they’re singing. These guys aren’t Alvin and the Chipmunks.
I’m not going to talk about the rest of the plot or the new characters it introduced, because I literally couldn’t care less. My favourite part of the movie was when I decided to take a nap during the villain song, just so I could stop nodding off to this boring kiddy movie. (I doubt I missed anything important.) I should note it is a very childish movie because there are next to no consequences in this world and there is so much cartoon nonsense that it’s exhausting. If you wanted something with more depth just watch the first Fox and the Hound again as the more kid-friendly stuff in that film takes a back seat for when the more dark and intense stuff must take centre stage. In comparison to this where the trainer wheels were ripped off by the sugar-high toddler, which was followed by him repeatedly running over the film’s maturity.
Did I critique anything from this movie, or I did really forget that. Well, here’s something for you negative nancies out there and it’s about the 3D animation they put in this thing. It was a forewarning of what I was in for when Tod and Copper were watching that traveling circus and being in complete awe of how unnatural those 2D animals looked in those 3D cars. It looked worse when those cars turned around a corner, and I struggled to look when that 2D dog chased after Tod and Copper on that 3D merry-go-round. Truly horrible stuff along with this entire movie.
Link to Next Part: The Disneyathon: Direct to Blog Sequel: Part 14 – Just About Over This