In the 90s and 2000s Disney had a variety of mid-quels and sequels to their classic movies. Most of them were considered pretty bad when they came out but in recent years some have acquired a bigger following. This article takes a look at the best and the worst these sequels have had to offer. Note: This list only covers sequels from 1994-2007. There were a couple of good ones in 2018 but Disney has had a lot of time to learn from the mistakes of the past.
Bad-The Fox and the Hound 2
When it comes to bad direct-to-DVD Disney sequels this is one of the movies that comes to mind. The story about Tod and Copper’s friendship being tested when the latter joins a canine band is a completely nonsensical and has no weight to it whatsoever. The original was cute but held a great deal of weight in testing the bonds of friendship through nature, loyalty, love, prejudice, etc. There’s no real gap to fill in this story and the gap it’s trying to fill doesn’t lend its way to any significance leading to the major events of the movie. There’s no real reason to have this be connected to the Fox and the Hound. This could be virtually any character and it would have been fine. This in no way represents anything of the original film.
Bad-Belle’s Magical World
This has got to be the most lazily done of all the Disney sequels (and you could argue even Disney movies). Whatever signs of the unique expressions, characters, storytelling, relationships, and animation that were in the original (and the first midquel), are completely gone here and replaced with this empty shell. The story is just nothing more than a bunch of unreleased TV episodes with the same repetitive formula and the characters are just a bunch of generic tropes. It is safe to say that contrary to the title, there is nothing magical about this movie.
This movie made Mushu into a completely unlikable and selfish character in trying to split Mulan and Shang up just to keep his job. The Chinese feel that the original had is completely gone in this movie. While it is fun to see Mulan’s former soldiers interact with the princesses, the squabbling between Mulan and Shang and Mushu’s attempts to break them up take the spotlight. The way the two squabble (in addition to Mushu’s actions) just feels so mean-spirited and is just trudging to watch. Coming off the heels of the story of this brave woman who took on the Hun army, became a hero among China, and was even commended for her efforts by the Emperor this movie is just tragic.
Bad-The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2
This movie took the dark and complex storytelling and themes and grand visuals of the original and replaced it with a trite love story that has no reason to exist. It’s sad that the movie got virtually the entire key cast of the first movie back to do this as the dialogue is just nothing short of cheesy. We had Frollo’s genocide and burning of Paris in god’s name just to capture Esmeralda in the original. Here we have a overly-pompous and vain ringmaster who wants to steal a bell. The animation is just so horrid that it doesn’t follow through half the time. This didn’t need to exist and really with a sequel to such a huge film as the first one there isn’t anything you could improve upon for this.
Bad-The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea
Now I know this one appeals to many youngsters and as they grow up they can associate it with nostalgic memories. And Tara Strong does give her all in voicing the character of Melody and the expressions for the character are creative. But the characters here just feel like they are going through the motions. The actions of the characters don’t feel like something their character would commit as much as the story demands they do and it makes them look selfish or foolish as a result. There’s no real shift from the bold and carefree character Ariel once was to who she is here in refusing to tell Melody anything of her lineage. The villainous Morgana is pretty much a rehash of her sister right down to having similar designs and the same voice actress. Outside of the opening song the melodies and lyrics to the songs in this are just bland. This is pretty much the same movie as the first without the prince.
Bad-The Jungle Book 2
There was almost no reason to put this on the big screen. Outside of the beginning in the man-village, which was nice, for a bit and the climax in the ancient ruins the rest of the movie is nothing more than a rehash of the same jokes with the same characters. I do admire the new voice actors they got to voice these old characters. Tony Jay as Shere Khan in particular captures the ferocity and sophistication of the classic villain. While the animation captured the expressions on the humans, the backgrounds captured the creativity of the jungle, and the animal designs looked a lot more finished, the story is just so barren and there is only one new song in this movie. The movie has a couple of new human characters but they don’t bring much to the table either.
Bad-Cinderella 2: Dreams Come True
The title pretty much sums up this movie in that it’s as generic as you can get. It’s just another anthology story in vein of Belle’s Magical World. The conflicts in this movie are just so miniscule and dull as you can get whether it be Cinderella learning to be a princes and Jaq the mouse becoming a human. If there is one good thing about is that it does expand a bit on the character of Anastasia. But aside from that, the movie is just a boring mess. It wouldn’t be a big deal except…
Hidden Gem-Cinderella 3: A Twist in Time
This movie took the trope of time travel to change a hero’s life and made it a fun film through and through. The expressions take a great villain in Lady Tremaine and make her far more powerful and enjoyable than she already was. Several characters like the Prince and the King who weren’t all that developed in the first movie are given far more insight into their personalities. And Anastasia’s arc comes full circle here. The animation designs, backgrounds, and colors give this movie a unique sense of darkness and craziness. And then there’s Cinderella herself who attempts to infiltrate the castle does so in an engaging manner on wit alone. And there were times it would get tense. All of this is quite amazing for a Cinderella movie.
Hidden Gem-Aladdin and the King of Thieves
While it has a couple of problems in the focus and direction when it comes to the relationship between Aladdin and his father, when it takes time to have a moment it feels genuine. The team behind this knew that this was the last thing Aladdin-related for a while and they went the extra mile in wrapping up the movies and the TV show alike. They went the extra mile in the animation in the expressions, designs, angles, colors, and so forth. Robin Williams also came back to voice the Genie and for a straight-to-video movie they worked hard to bring the same magic back from the first movie.
Hidden Gem-Bambi 2
This movie did its all in trying to staying true to the feel of the first movie and filling in a gap that the original had: the time Bambi spent with his father. While there are some awkward moments in the movie, the majority of the moments between the two hit home. Things like the weather of this movie succeed in adding a layer of atmosphere to this movie. It’s quite admirable in how hard it tried to capture the same feeling. The movie utilizes body language to convey the thoughts of a character and it does so in amazing detail. The only real bad thing about the movie is Ronno whose bully-like nature doesn’t fit in with the rest of the movie’s atmosphere. But the rest of the movie is graceful and builds on the emotions and depth that the original had.
Hidden Gem-The Rescuers Down Under
It’s quite baffling how this movie is overlooked in favor of its predecessor. It’s an upgrade in terms of scope and intensity. It builds on the characters Bernard and Miss Bianca. It has a great deal of versatility in settings and color. It’s not only just a rescue story but also a story about the nature of the Australian outback. The world this movie establishes is full of life and very smooth. There is not a single character that isn’t enjoyable in this. As the first ever Disney sequel, the creators knew to put as much care into making it as possible.
Hidden Gem-The Lion King 2
It’s quite clever that this sequel attempted to base its story off of Romeo and Juliet after basing the first one off of Hamlet. While the backstory regarding Kovu is a tad confusing and the old characters don’t bring much new, the new characters and their voice actors have unique designs, believable stories, and give this movie a sense of freshness. The songs are enjoyable. And the smaller animation does work hard to capture the feel of a still-recovering Pride Rock from the first movie. While not flawless, this movie continued its story in a legitimately gripping way that makes it memorable.
Hidden Gem-Fantasia 2000
It is impossible not to mention this one. It still holds the record for the longest gap in Disney between it and its predecessor. While the celebrity cameos in this movie can sometimes be grating and Steve Martin was trying too hard to be funny in contrast to the dignified Deems Taylor, the animated segments in this movie do fantastic in combining traditional animation with new styles. And the movie makes good choices in music selection. Though it doesn’t measure up to the standards of the original, it can stand on its own two feet and it was nice to see the original get an enjoyable continuation as Walt Disney originally desired.
Hidden Gem-Peter Pan: Return to Neverland
In incorporating World War 2 into the story, this movie showcases the pressures of war and the affect it has on children like our protagonist Jane in being forced to give up childhood pleasantries, facing daily bombings, and being short on human necessities as well as why she’s been forced to mature faster and why it’s difficult for her to be happy. The animation on the characters helps is very well done giving the movie a layer of subtlety in conveying a moment with the perfect balance of simplicity and deepness. When Captain Hook flies Jane through London the imagery is amazing and you feel in the moment at every turn. On top of that the voice actors for all the returning characters perfectly sounds like the original. The only real flaws of the movie is that the pop songs don’t fit into a movie taking place in World War 2 and though the slapstick between Hook and the octopus is well animated, there was almost no reason to take out the crocodile. It felt like the people behind this movie were legitimately interested in continuing the story of Peter Pan. It didn’t feel like a rushed project. It’s safe to say that this movie can make you believe in fairies too.
Are there any others you think deserved to be on the list? Any you agree with or disagree with? Well leave them in the comments below.