Monday, July 22, 2013

Statement of Intent

Tired of the sequester? How about a SEQUELester?

For the next... let's see... 23 weeks, I'm going to be watching and reviewing the Disney animated sequels, one by one, starting with The Return of Jafar.

Never let it be said that I don't suffer for my art.

Annoyed Poorly Animated Jasmine shall be our mascot.
I'm going to watch everything from "Beauty and the Best yell at each other in the middle of the original movie" to "a tragic parable joins a band" to "let's retcon The Little Mermaid". The only ones I won't watch will be the Mickey Mouse-centric sequels, because those are based on movies that, although technically part of the Disney animated canon, are compilations of shorts thrown together during WWII. I'm also leaving off the Winnie the Pooh sequels because those are actually pretty decent, and I don't feel like they're really in the spirit of The Lion King or Pocahontas.

The Disney sequels started in 1994 with a follow-up to one of the most popular Disney movies ever. The Aladdin franchise has proved astoundingly lucrative over the years, with three relatively well-regarded movies, a TV show, a board game, a zillion appearances in other Disney shows, movies, and video games...

Anyway, it's not surprising that The Return of Jafar did well enough to merit a third Aladdin movie. And while the The Return of Jafar was mediocre at best, Aladdin and the King of Thieves was actually a really good movie in its own right. The animation wasn't as good as the original, no, and the characters weren't quite as nuanced and compelling, but the movie managed to bring in a refreshing new conflict and have some serious dramatic weight.

Check out that quality animation, my friends.
Then... the rest of the movies happened.

The next two Disney sequels were both for Beauty and the Beast, and they were, um... terrible doesn't seem quite strong enough. Terrihorribad. The Pocahontas sequel that followed almost seemed decent in comparison (at least things actually, y'know, happened in that one), and the Lion King sequel after that was pretty much the last point at which one of the sequels was watchable.

In the wake of the Disney renaissance, Disney struggled to find its identity and succumbed to some really awful cash-grabbing sequels along the way. They were made by the animation studio that makes Disney TV shows, which meant TV writers and small budgets. None of these movies are considered part of the official Disney canon. What I'm saying is, Disney wasn't trying very hard.

In 2006 John Lasseter and Ed Catmull were given leadership of Walt Disney Feature Animation and finally stopped the madness. There was another Peter Pan sequel planned, but Lasseter declared that movie as it was "virtually unwatchable" and totally rebooted the premise, turning Tinker Bell into a huge franchise instead. At current count there have been 5 Tinker Bell movies in 4 years, and more to come! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

Now that I've revealed to you my all-encompassing and entirely useless overabundance of knowledge about all things Disney, let's venture forth on this journey together! I... uh... can't wait?

Brother Bear 2: Eagerly anticipated by
four of the twelve people that saw the
first one.


  1. Wow, you're brave.
    After Aladdin, I watched the unfortunate sequels to Snow White, Pocahontas, and The Little Mermaid before I gave up. You're right about the animation in the Aladdin sequels. I like those movies, but the animation was dismal. And inconsistent. Like Genie had his bands back on and still lived in the lamp. But it's okay. It was by choice now? Lol!

  2. What's with all the sequels though? Would they consider some new material for new characters? Some of these characters are completely washed out after the first movie.

    All New Movie - Brother Bear 2

    Really? New? Come on! It's not new if the same characters are in it. It's an all new episode to me. :D