Movie sequels aren’t always as good as the originals. Although there are exceptions, some being as good or even better than the original (e.g. Terminator 2), the rest of the bad sequels just can’t live up to the hype of the original. Either it’s borrows too much from the original and adds nothing new, or it’s entirely different deviating from the original story. For me, a good sequel should do the same as a remake: it should be faithful and respectful to the original while adding a new layer to it or exploring it in a different angle, or exploring it through your own perspective. I would do a “Top 10 Sequels that Aren’t as Bad As Everyone Says”, but James Rolfe already did that. Instead I’ll do something else.
The sequels people seem to attack are the Disney sequels. You’d feel pretty bad if a childhood memory was given a bad continuation or side story. I do admit that some of them aren’t really good or just heavily flawed, but some of them I honestly did enjoy. So without further ado, I’m doing a countdown of the Top 9 Disney sequels which aren’t as bad as everyone says. It’s not a top 10 list, because I can’t really think of a number 10. By the way, The Rescuers Down Under, Fantasia 2000 and Winnie The Pooh don’t count, because they’re part of the Disney canon. I’m counting the sequels of the Disney canon films.
9. The Lion King 1½
It’s not really a film, more than it is a side story made just for laughs. Although I did like how they handled Timon this time (I’m not a fan of Timon and Pumbaa, but for those who like them, they’re good in this film). Give it a watch if you have nothing else to do. You’ll have an ok time. Btw, a shout out to the animation department, which surprisingly did a good job.
8. The Return of Jafar
Both this and King of Theives worked more as a beginning and ending of the Aladdin TV series, but I feel they’re still part of the canon. This isn’t as great as King of Thieves (which I’ll get to later), but it’s still good. Jafar comes back and is even more threatening and as awesome as the last time. The rest of the characters return and are as great as before. Though the animation isn’t really good (the character designs look dreadful for some reason), and some songs are either not as great or just not that good.
7. Lilo and Stitch 2: Stitch has a Glitch
For the ones who love Lilo & Sitch, there’s not much to say here. This film works more as a side story to Lilo & Stitch than it does as a sequel. Besides, the story is just ok and the side characters can get too distracting at times. The highlight of the story is Lilo and Stitch’s relationship. The film’s not as good as the original was, but it has very emotional moments, including with Lilo’s big sister, because I really do care about the main characters. Look out for one of the saddest moments in Disney history.
6. Kronk’s New Groove
This film follows a similar format as The Emperor’s New Groove, although this time it’s Kronk’s story, and two stories within a story… how confusing. I think it holds up to the original if you wanna laugh out loud. All the characters in the original are back and this film is almost, if not, just as funny as the previous.
5. The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning
I didn’t like the fact that they added so many pop culture references to the original (e.g. The Great Escape and The Shawshank Redemption in the same scene). The pop culture references ruin the timeless fairytale feel of the original. The other main problem is that it borrows too much from the original, except there’s no love interest. What about Flounder? Since when was he the tough cool guy? That’s so out of character! Other than that, what stood out for me was the relationship Ariel had with her sisters and her father and I liked how they mentioned her mom. It’s a fun movie, and can be funny too. It’s definitely not as good as the original, but still ok.
If you liked the first Brother Bear, then this one holds up. Mandy Moore does a good job as the love interest Nina, and I liked the relationship between Koda with Nina and with Koda. The animation isn’t that bad either and can sometimes be really impressive. I also got a few good laughs, but some jokes weren’t that great. It’s a good story and a good continuation overall.
3. Aladdin and the King of Thieves
It has the same adventure-feel like the TV series, but it still has the same characters we know and love in the original movie. Kassim, Aladdin’s father, is awesome, Aladdin and Jasmine finally get married (didn’t it happen at the end of the original?) and the music is catchy as heck! Especially the opening song and “Welcome to the Forty Theives”! Flaws? Well, as much as I love the Genie (and I’m glad Robin Williams is back in the role)… for crying out loud! He’s a genie! He should do more than do pop culture references! Turn into a dinosaur and eat the bad guys! Oh well, he’s still hilarious and energetic! Unless people don’t like too much of the Genie and his pop culture jokes, because I do admit that he over-used the jokes a lot. Anyway, in my opinion this could have really worked in the theatres.
2. The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride
This one has a few flaws. Why would there be a bunch of lionesses following Scar… a leader who was STARVING THEM TO DEATH? Also some of the songs aren’t that great and the animation’s hit and miss. The reason I’m putting it here is because I did really enjoy the flick despite those flaws. The story is enjoyable, and Simba’s daughter Kiara trying to understand what it means to “be a lion” and the meaning of “the circle of life” on a deeper level is interesting. Especially since Kiara’s learning it from Simba, a King who hasn’t full grasped the meaning of “the circle of life” himself. The romance between Kiara and Kovu is pretty good and the rest of the characters are good. And to be honest, The Lion King… is a bit overrated. But even if you adore The Lion King, I think you’ll still like The Lion King 2. It’s a really good follow-up and even a pretty good stand alone film.
1. Cinderella III: A Twist in Time
Just skip Cinderella II (it’s not worth it) and watch Cinderella III. This film’s aware of what made the original great, and adds an interesting angle to the original story: what if the magic that made Cindy’s dreams come true was used against her? It explores that Cinderella didn’t just have magic to get her happy ending; the Prince DID truly fall in love with her, and no magic spell can separate them. It has a great set-up and the story flows nicely in a good pace. The characters Cindy, the Prince and Anastasia get updated (which is a high plus to the original). Cindy’s challenge in the original was about keeping her hopes and dreams intact, but this time she’s much more proactive to get what she wants. I actually do like the Prince a lot in the story (he doesn’t even get a line in the original… does he even have a name?). He plays an important role in the story, and he actually gets some of the best laughs. Anastasia, one of the step sisters, becomes more sympathetic and becomes good in the end; all she ever wanted was to have a happily ever after, but her mother taught her the wrong kind of happiness her entire life. All those characters and their arcs are really effective and done perfectly well. Sometimes the artwork in the film can look pretty impressive and the animation sometimes is used as great symbolism. The only flaw I can think of is the music, but it’s not painful or horrible. It’s not that good and not that memorable. I honestly don’t want to say anything else. Just watch the movie and see it for yourself. It really follows up to the original and presents a great angle on the whole traditional fairytale.
So there you have it. If you haven’t seen some of these, give them a chance and try to judge it in its own right. If you don’t like them after watching and entirely disagree with me on any of the choices, then that’s entirely fine too. By the way, if you wanna, check out James Rolfe’s video, it’s right here.