The Top Five LEAST Awful Disney Sequels
January 15, 2012
NCh: Last year... (realizes that last year was only a week ago) ...last week, I labored through every single Disney direct-to-video sequel and brought you a list of the ones I considered the top ten worst, ‘cause people love lists, they love Disney and they love the word “worst”. Imagine that. But this did lead to some people inquiring as to what I considered to be the “best” (images of the word “BEST” appears). Problem with the word “best” is that it implies “good” or “warrants existing”.
(Clips of the multiple Disney sequels)
NCh (VO): At best, some are less awful than others, but after the literally dozens of hours I spent slogging through this mess...
NCh: ...I thought I could give you a best list to counteract the worst list but honestly, I don’t think I can. But I can give you a relatively less awful list.
(More Disney sequel clips)
NCh (VO): In a way, this was a more difficult list to put together. Because while there were a couple that surprised me at how relatively not awful they were, the majority are, well, let’s just say that before Lasseter took over, it was a dark time.
NCh: So this week, we’re going to try to be... less mean and give you a... less awful list to balance out the last one. So, with that, I give you my top. (The word “TOP” appears in capitals again and will do so for the rest of the words in the title, just like in the previous list, but not as grand.) T... Five. (TEN “Five”) ...L-east Awful. (“LEAST AWFUL”) Disney Sequels. (“DISNEY SEQUELS”) Why only five? ‘Cause I-I can’t.
(Video montage consisting of Tarzan 2, Mulan 2, Bambi 2, Aladdin And The King Of Thieves, Cinderella 3, Pocahontas 2 and The Little Mermaid 2 appears with more joyful Channel Awesome stock music playing in the background. This will serve as the Interlude.)
NCh (VO): #5.
NCh: Gonna be honest, number five gave me a lot of trouble, and it really came down to a competition between a really shitty follow up to a good movie and a somewhat shitty follow up to a shitty movie. You see my dilemma.
(Clips of Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World)
NCh (VO): Pocahontas 2, I’d say is par for the course for historical accuracy. But while whitewashing history isn’t awesome, I can’t wait to see if a hundred years down the line, they have like an equally sanitized version of (a mock-up poster for said “movie” appears) the Anne Frank story. Like there are fun singing sidekicks, and a...
NCh: ...clean up musical number and some...
NCh (VO): ...made up, fictional Nazi bad guy that...
NCh: ...is into magic or something and uses his Nazi magic to find out Anne and then they...
NCh (VO): ...eventually in the third act, they get taken to Auschwitz...
NCh: ...but then at the end, Anne manages to free everyone in the concentration camp and they, like, bust out over the broken wall and they’re all like “Yay, we’re free!” and then made up bad guy gets defeated and everybody lives.
NCh (VO): But somehow the sillier tone of Pocahontas 2 compared to one makes it a little more forgivable. (Brief clip of The Lion King) And Pocahontas is a less solid movie than The Lion King, so in a way, I feel like the sequel is a little bit of an improvement.
NCh (VO): The Lion King 2 had a much harder act to follow. And it really is so much worse than people give it credit for. And out of all 30-some of them, I’d say it makes the least sense as a sequel.
NCh: But even with all of that, it’s still relatively less awful than most of them.
NCh (VO): It follows in the Hunchback 2 syndrome of being a lot less epic. Only, like, 20 animals or so could be searched to show up for the new cub lifting. Hell, maybe they’re still re-populating after Scar’s drought. This one's supposedly loosely based on Romeo and Juliet, as the original is loosely based on Hamlet.
NCh: But like so many of these, it’s a touch... fan-ficy?
Simba: I banished you from the Pridelands!
NCh (VO): (as Simba) Don’t you remember in the last movie when I banished you? (normal) Wait, who are these people? OK, so apparently there’s these group of lions that were supporters of Scar and got banished to a termite mound when Simba came back. Remember that? No? OK. (Brief clip of...) Return Of Jafar, while it’s cheaper and lazier and uglier, it was at least set up and followed the logic of the first movie. This just comes from nothing.
Kovu: He wasn’t my father, but he was still...
NCh (VO): Then who is your dad? (Clips of Scar in the first movie) I didn’t see any other male lions around when Scar was in charge. Who are these dozen or so lionesses? Why didn’t Scar sower any cubs? Is it because he’s gay or sterile or gay? Or is it ‘cause he’s gay?
Scar: Ohhh, I shall practice my curtsy.
NCh: Problem with a lot of these is that it brings back “all of your favorite characters!” and doesn’t have anything for them to do.
Timon: But who’s gonna teach him the really important stuff?
Rafiki: (chuckles) It is a girl.
Timon and Pumbaa: GIRL?!
NCh as Timon: Look, a ham sandwich.
NCh as Rafiki: He he he it’s turkey.
NCh as Timon: Oh.
NCh as Timon and Pumbaa: TURKEY?! Oy!
NCh (VO): Nala does nothing but espouse incorrect wisdom...
Nala: She’ll be fine.
(Cut to a “Four minutes later...” sign and we see Kiara and Kovu trying to save themselves from the crocodile ponds.)
NCh (VO): Rafiki has been relegated to little more than matchmaker, though I guess that kinda works, considering he’s the shaman life coach in both movies.
Rafiki (Singing): It just makes two, to make it true. Your heart will take you there.
NCh (VO): Rafiki, this is kinda weird. (Clip of the Genie in King of Thieves) Though none of these characters fail as hard as poor useless Genie in the Aladdin sequels, but we’ll get to those later.
NCh: It also features a retcon of the moral of the original movie as well.
Simba: But, they...
Kiara: Them? Us. Look at them, they are us.
NCh (VO): After all, they’re not those dirty fucking hyenas, am I right? As much as I dislike this one, though, it can claim something no other Disney movie can: we get to watch (Picture of...) Andy Dick die!
(The scene where Andy Dick’s character, Nuka is crushed to death by a log is played. The NChick rewinds this scene for her own pleasure.)
NCh (VO): Hmmm. I like that, yeah. Let’s watch that again. Yeah, that feels nice, I don’t know, I feel like I’m getting a back massage. Again. Yeah, I’m really taking this.
NCh: I guess what redeems this thing is that it’s a different story from the original and Kiara and Kovu are kind of compelling. It’s not the exact same movie only this time with the children of original mains like...
NCh (VO): ...Lady And The Tramp 2 or Little Mermaid 2...
NCh: It’s a different conflict from The Lion King. It is the same conflict however, as...
NCh (VO): #4.
NCh: Many people share a misconception that Robin Williams did not reprise his role as the Genie in the Aladdin sequels because of money or that it was beneath his popularity or something. And that’s technically not true, it was over a contract dispute.
#4. The Return Of Jafar (1994)
NCh (VO): (Clips of Genie in the first Aladdin film, followed by Return of Jafar) Williams got paid SAG scale, which is very, very little, to be the Genie in Aladdin in exchange for his role played down and him largely being uncredited in it. Disney, under the dictatorship of Jeffery Katzenburg, threw this out the window and the whole “Robin Williams is the Genie!” thing was very played up in the film’s marketing. As a result, Williams was not happy and for the sequel was replaced by voice actor Dan Castellaneta...
Genie (who sounds like Homer Simpson): Oh, she dances.
NCh (VO): ...in the very first of all of these direct-to-video beauties, The Return Of Jafar.
NCh: Now this TV pilo... sequel, I had originally intended to go on the bad list. Because...
NCh (VO): ...while a lot of people look fondly on it...
NCh: ...it’s really not that good.
NCh (VO): Instead of Robin Williams riffing and talented animators putting an image to his weird words, it’s a dozen people writing what they think Robin Williams would have said. It’s not really poor, maligned Dan Castellaneta’s fault, the man has come to prominence in other comedic roles you might have heard of (images of Dan Castellaneta with a pink doughnut and Homer Simpson appear), but, Castellaneta is playing Robin Williams playing the Genie. And on top of the fact that the Genie has almost nothing to do plot wise, well, it’s not the worst problem, really. Wow, the animation looks really cruddy, the orchestration has, like, five people in it and the Genie is played by Homer Simpson and the music is awful.
Genie (singing): I’ve traveled east and west and now I’m back again!
NCh (VO): Y’know what we need? We need Gilbert Gottfried to have a musical number.
Iago (singing): From here on in, I’m looking out for me!
NCh: No, it doesn’t need a Gilbert Gottfried musical number, it needs two!
Iago (singing): Love really is revolting! It’s even worse than when you’re molting!
NCh (VO): Out of all of these, Return Of Jafar is the most TV-ish pacing wise and excepting the Beauty and the Beast sequels and Atlantis 2, it looks the worst. The Genie's not funny, Jafar’s got a big goofy downgrade...
Jafar (singing): Men cower, at the power, in my pinky. My thumb is number one...
NCh: So why does this one go on the less bad list instead of the bad list? Well, let's just say this might be the only time Gilbert Gottfried was described as a saving grace.
Iago: (Dramatically) Getting dark. Hold me. (Aladdin tries to grab him) Ah! HEY, I MEANT GENTLE LIKE!
NCh (VO): With the exception of Anastasia, the step-sister, Iago’s the only bad guy character that had an arc and development in the sequels. All while keeping his basic nastiness intact.
Iago: I’M TRYING TO FREE THE CHUMP GENIE, SO HE CAN SAVE YOUR CHUMP BOYFRIEND!
NCh (VO): Really, the whole plot of the movie, on paper, as an outline, is fine. With a little bit of epicifying, it could have easily warranted a theatrical release. It’s certainly better than (Posters for...) Return To Neverland or Jungle Book 2. Though I doubt that it would have happened because, it’s not Aladdin’s story, it’s Iago’s. And I totally buy it.
Iago: You’d be surprised what you can live through.
NCh (VO): (Mocking Aladdin) Radical!
NCh: Though I do definitely question the decision to have Gilbert sing.
(Photos the Walt Disney Company logo and Gilbert Gottfried appear, which will represent NChick and Phelous as Disney and Gottfried.)
NCh (As Disney): Gilbert, we’re gonna need you to sing.
Phelous (As Gottfried): WHAT?!
NCh (As Disney): Uh, twice.
Phelous (As Gottfried): UM, OK!
NCh (VO): #3.
NCh: In the early 2000’s, Disney made two movies about a pre-Colombian youth harming another and being turned into an animal and in the process...
(Scene from The Emperor’s New Groove.)
NCh (VO): ...learning to be less selfish and help others, and...
NCh: ...the two movies remain within two years of each other.
(Clip of Yzma after she and Kronk turn Kuzco into a llama.)
NCh (VO): One of them turned out a lot better than I think anybody thought it would.
Yzma: This isn’t poison! This is extract of... LLAMA!
NCh (VO): So as it sometimes is with sequels that follow fare that wasn’t all that great in the first place, Brother Bear 2 didn’t have that hard of an act to follow.
NCh: As we discussed in the last episode, Disney sequels are usually either main character from last one has children who learn the same lesson their parents learned in the first movie, the midquel or someone from the original gets a love interest. Brother Bear 2 falls into the latter category, but it is, by far, the best of that type.
NCh (VO): (Clips of Hunchback 2) It has the most in common with Hunchback 2. But where Hunchback 2 is half-baked, amateurish and lame, seriously “the bell is beautiful on the inside”? Get it?
Quasimodo: She’s even more beautiful on the inside.
NCh (VO): This one ties the love story into the narrative much more fluently. Firstly, there’s no flay flaming bad guy making kissy faces at himself in the mirror.
Sarousch: I could kiss me.
NCh (VO): Second, the plot that brings the two of them together actually has to do with their relationship. Mainly, that she has to destroy this totem-thing that bound them as children in order to get married to somebody else.
Nita: But he’s a bear!
Nita: Y’know? A bear?
NCh (VO): Apparently, this is an accepted thing in their village. So the plot revolves around them going to this specific place to destroy the thing and falling back in love in the process. (As Nita) I heard you were a bear, I just didn’t know you were, y’know, a bear! (normal) Joaquin Phoenix is the only person not to reprise his role as Kenai, in this, he’s replaced with... Patrick Dempsey... ‘kay. And his love interest is played by unofficial Disney pop star Mandy Moore. Even the original kid from Brother Bear 1 is back, though the most annoying and problematic part of the movie since the plot about the love interest and he doesn’t have much to do but whine and...
Nita: I’ll take you to him.
Koda: No, I said go away!
NCh (VO): ...get in the way.
(Scene where Koda is hanging over a clip is shown.)
NCh (VO): (in an eerie, whispery sing-song voice) No one would have to know...
NCh: It may not be all that compelling, but I would say that out of all of them, really, it’s the least flawed.
(Cut to a scene where Kenai is stuck in a Beaver’s nest and Rutt and Tuke are making raspberry noises.)
NCh: Least flawed.
NCh (VO): #2.
NCh: Disney markets the two Aladdin sequels like it’s a trilogy, but it’s probably best to look at them like a one-hour TV pilot, a 65-episode TV series, and a TV movie to serve as the series finale.
#2. Aladdin And The King Of Thieves (1996)
(Clips of Mozenrath from the TV show are displayed, followed by footage from King of Thieves)
NCh (VO): Aladdin And The King Of Thieves was originally going to have Mozenrath from the series as the antagonist, and we were going to find out that he and Aladdin were brothers the whole time, but for reasons, they went with the long lost dad angle instead, intending to cash in on Sean Connery who backed out due to other obligations, so Aladdin’s dad is played by John Rhys Davies, which I think ended up being for the best because John Rhys Davies is less distracting than Connery might have been.
NCh: But oh, Genie, you and your pop culture references. Anti-reference joke brigade, prepare to feel a wrath far greater than anything a real internet reviewer could come up with.
Genie (impersonating Rainman): Oh, uh oh, definitely an oracle, tells the future, uh oh.
NCh (VO): Remember how the Genie had nothing to do in the last movie? Well, now he really has nothing to do but reference other movies, especially Disney movies.
(Cut to scene where the Genie transforms in the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. This is followed by a montage of scenes where other Disney references appear like Tinkerbell, Pluto, Cinderella, Snow White, Pocahontas, Fantasia and Steamboat Willie.)
NCh (VO): Oh thank God, Robin Williams is back, oh, yeah, please make sure you get absolutely every other Disney movie ever referenced in there. No, no, I think there are more. Still, y-you haven’t gotten them all, no, I-I can take as many as you can, Robin, keep ‘em coming, keep ‘em coming.
Genie: (as Pumbaa) HAKUNA MATATA! (normal) Woah. Was having an out-of-movie experience.
NCh (VO): Uh, you’ve already had, like, 20! Oh, OK, moving on, Forrest Gump.
Genie (as Forrest): Mom always said: magic is is magic does.
NCh (VO): Rainman, next thing you know, Robin Williams will be referencing Robin Williams, (cue scene where Genie is dressed up as Mrs. Doubtfire.) Uh, oh, there it is. Ha, it’s funny ‘cause I’ve heard of it.
NCh: That said, Robin Williams is a much better Robin Williams than Dan Castellaneta.
Genie: It’s a joke. I do that.
NCh (VO): It begins with Aladdin and Jasmine’s wedding getting crashed by the forty thieves, unknowingly led by Aladdin’s father.
Jasmine (after punching one of the thieves): That was for ruining my wedding!
(Cut to a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean where Elizabeth knocks out a bad guy.)
Elizabeth: Try wearing a corset!
NCh (VO): (as Elizabeth) Oh, well, now I’m doing it too, damn it! (normal) The plot is mostly pretty solid and the emotional stakes are pretty high, with Aladdin trying to reintegrate his thieving dad into his life, ultimately failing. Well, it is engaging, even if the animation’s on the low end of good and the ending is pretty satisfying. Dad just can’t be apart of Aladdin’s life. But, hey, he’s off to have more adventures, and Iago’s going with him! Why didn’t they have a TV show out of that, I’d watch the hell out of that. But unlike The Return Of Jafar, this one is totally and completely Aladdin’s story.
Razoul: Well, I’ll guess I’ll have to settle for the Prince of Thieves.
(Cut to Kevin Costner's Robin Hood from the film, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.)
Honorable Mentions Edit
NCh: Before we get to number 1, a couple of honorable mentions.
(Clips from The Rescuers Down Under)
NCh (VO): First off, The Rescuers Down Under. Why even bring that one up?
NCh: To date, it’s the only Disney sequel that’s considered part of their main animated canon and it’s not direct-to-video.
NCh (VO): Also, it doesn’t belong on our least awful list, it’s not even a little awful, it’s awesome, screw all y’all.
(Clips from Mulan II)
NCh (VO): Mulan 2 is pretty damn awful and it barely escaped making it onto the bad list. (A question appears asking, “History’s forgotten feminist revolution in feudal China?”)
Mulan: Your majesty, an arranged marriage?
NCh (VO): (mocking Mulan) An arranged marriage? The thing I was knowingly and willingly ready to do for my family in the last movie and I’m now apparently totally against? (normal) Wait, what was the last movie about again? Well, at least the animation's not utterly terrible.
Mushu (not voiced by Eddie Murphy): No, I just got some exfoliate and cream in my eye- of course I’m crying, girl, whatchu think?!
NCh (VO): Oh, white guy pretending to be Eddie Murphy. Die.
(A scene with Mushu talking is played while a picture of the actor who voiced him in the sequel, Mark Moseley pops up)
Mushu: Yo, where’s my masseuse? Saving China gives me knots like you wouldn’t believe!
(Clips from The Lion King 1 1/2)
NCh (VO): There is a lot of tone fail in The Lion King 2, but at least it doesn’t shit all over the tone of the original like (The) Lion King 1 1/2 did. And I really don’t like that one at all, but it wasn’t bad enough in its own right, it just really shit all over the original.
(Clips from Pocahontas II again)
NCh (VO): Pocahontas 2 was a hard one because while it is awful, in a way, it’s more interesting than the original. Or at least Pocahontas, the most boring Disney princess ever, is a little more interesting and it was kind of fun to see Ratcliffe use Pocahontas’ righteous hippie entitlement against her.
Pocahontas: A helpless animal!
NCh (VO): (as Pocahontas) Bears should be free! (A brief clip of the "Colors of the Wind" scene from the original film plays) Free for me to take their cubs away to prove a point!
NCh: But while these are all awful, or at least a little awful, there was one that genuinely surprised me. So hear me out, this is MY:
NCh (VO): #1.
NCh: Let’s look at some of the unnecessary story threads that Disney has presented us with so far:
NCh (VO): (The Hunchback Of Notre Dame 2) Quasimodo gets a girlfriend. (Bambi 2) Bambi hangs out with his dad. (The Lion King 1 1/2) Timon and Pumbaa fuck up a good movie. (Beauty And The Beast: The Enchanted Christmas) Belle and the Beast defeat an evil gay organ played by Tim Curry and save Christmas. All while her father was out in the wilderness searching for her, presumably. (The Fox And The Hound 2) The Fox and the Hound join a band. (Atlantis: Milo’s Return) I have no fucking clue.
NCh: And perhaps the most unnecessary of all:
NCh (VO): (Cinderella 3: A Twist In Time) Cinderella’s evil stepmother gets a hold of the fairy godmother’s wand, goes back in time and undoes Cinderella’s happy ending.
NCh: This is the plot to Cinderella 3. (Holds up her finger to indicate that this movie is her number 1 pick.)
#1. Cinderella 3: A Twist In Time (2007)
NCh (VO): Cinderella has the morality fable nutritional value equivalent of Fruit Loops. It is the revenge fantasy where you show up to your high school reunion in a limo and 40 pounds lighter wearing furs. All under the guidance of innocence and martyrdom. And is totally inapplicable in real life.
NCh: So in order to accept Cinderella 3, the biggest retcon in Disney history, you have to also accept that Cinderella 1 is neither substantive nor interesting. Which I do, readily.
(Scene from the original Cinderella film)
NCh (VO): And while Cinderella is a beautiful movie, its value outside of being a never ending money geyser for the Disney company ends there.
NCh: And Cinderella 3 might have the worst opening of all of them, and I mean all of them.
Cinderella (singing): What a perfectly perfect life, it’s a fairytale come true. I’m a princess and a wife, all because I fit a shoe...
Prince (voiced by Donny Osmond): Would my perfectly perfect wife put on her perfectly fitting shoes?
Cinderella: You found my shoes.
NCh (VO): Alright, Donny Osmond. It doesn’t take long for the opening song to start feeling like a parody. Hell, within five minutes, the stepmother's stolen the fairy godmother’s wand, turns her into stone and undoes the last year of marital bliss. Putting Anastasia in Cinderella’s place as the bride to be. And then, I don’t know, something happens. If you can make it through the first five minutes of the awful song and the “way too fast then suddenly what the hell”, we find the most solid out of all the Disney sequels.
NCh: I’m not kidding. Cinderella 3: A Twist In Time sucks the least.
King: You think there’s only one woman in the whole kingdom who wears a size four and a half?
Prince: It’s all I have to go on here.
NCh (VO): It’s by far the most self-aware out of all of them.
Prince: But the talking mice say she’s the wrong girl!
King: Son?! Talking bluebirds?!
Prince: No, the bluebirds weren’t talking.
NCh (VO): There’s also this tendency in the Cinderella sequels to depict Anastasia sympathetically. Hell, it starts like Cinderella in reverse.
Anastasia (singing): Somewhere, there must be someone who’ll love me...
NCh (VO): With Cinderella and the Prince, it has to retcon personality traits into existence where there were none before. But hell, where the first one’s all relying on dreams and wishes your heart made and fairy godmothers and not doing a damn thing, this one forces both Cinderella and the still quite boring Prince to actually work for their happy ending. And although the Prince does save her at one point, in the actual climax, she has to save herself. Action Cinderella! I like that.
NCh: Cinderella 3 is the best combination of solid, entertaining and it doesn’t look like complete ass.
(Clip of Big Sean's "Dance (A$$) Remix" feat. Nicki Minaj music video)
Big Sean: ...Ass, ass, ass, ass, ass, ass...
NCh: And if you have any grievance with the original Cinderella, Cinderella 3 might fix it.
(Clip of Danity Kane's "Damaged" music video)
Danity Kane: So how you gonna fix it, fix it...
NCh: It’s funny ‘cause it’s a thing I’ve heard of!
(Clip of M. Bison from Street Fighter)
Bison: OF COURSE!
(Clip from A Few Good Men)
Colonel Nathan: YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!
NCh: And now that Robin Williams has used up the entire world’s quotient to reference jokes, maybe we won’t make anymore for a little while.
(Clip from Taxi Driver)
Travis Bickle: You talkin’ to me?
(Clip from The Sixth Sense)
Cole Sear: I see dead people.
NCh: I know it didn’t make sense. What are you gonna do about it? Watch the cred...
(The End Credits role and at the bottom, NChick gives us a few more details about Disney’s Anne Frank movie saying, “And the funny mouse sidekick is played by Jason Alexander! And the evil Nazi’s sidekick has a funny polka dotted underwear joke!”)