The Disney sequel movies tend to have a bit of a bad reputation. A lot of them had a much smaller budget and were straight to VHS releases, so naturally the quality is pretty poor. But there are some sequel movies that I absolutely adore and will defend to the death. So here’s my top eight Disney sequels. Why eight? Because these are the only ones that I like. That’s why.
1. Beauty and the Beast
There were two mid-quel movies for Beauty and the Beast; The Enchanted Christmas and Belles Magical World.
The Enchanted Christmas is pretty much my go to Christmas movie. The setup is that Belle tries to bring Christmas to the castle whilst a massive organ named Forte (played by Tim Curry) attempts to brainwash the Beast so that the curse is never broken. As much as I love it, this mid-quel has a lot of problems. Particularly its introduction of new characters who are never seen again. It is a pretty well thought out story though and has the same feel as the original movie, despite the cheaper animation.
Belles Magical World was set up to be a Disney TV series, like Aladdin or the Little Mermaid, it didn’t quite pan out though and three (or four depending which version you have) stories were crammed into one movie. The stories are very obviously meant to be episodes and attempt to achieve a lot of development in a short amount of time. Each of the episodes come with obnoxious preachy songs about the moral of the story which are so irritating that I have to skip past them whenever they show up. At least The Enchanted Christmas has a decent soundtrack. But by far, the best part of this DVD was the live action section;
2. Lion King
Okay. I’ll admit it. Like many girls my age, I had a bit of a crush on Kovu the lion. But can you blame me?
And you know whats awesome? His voice actor was pretty attractive too.
But back to the review. While Lion King was an animated version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Lion King II: Simba’s Pride was an adaption of Romeo and Juliet. One of my favourite parts of this film is the soundtrack. I can’t stand ‘Upendi’ but ‘My Lullaby’ and ‘Not One of Us’ are just so brilliantly sinister. If you haven’t seen this movie you should check them out;
There was also a third film in this series; Lion King 1 ½. This film is essentially Timon and Pumba watching the first film and telling their version of the events. This shouldn’t work as a plot, but it does and I love it. While Lion King was based on Hamlet this film is based on the play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” which features the events of Hamlet through the eyes of two minor characters.
The film is great character development for two well loved minor characters. Timon and Pumba stumble around in their attempts to find a home, accidentally falling into the plot of Lion King. And as far as I’m concerned, this movie is perfect.
There’s a bit too much focus on the love stories in Mulan 2 for my liking but there are some great moments of girl-power throughout the film. My favourite moment comes early on when Mulan is training on her own and all of the village girls show up, wanting to be taught how to fight.
The story follows Mulan and Shang accompanying three princesses to their arranged marriage. During this time, Mulan convinces the princesses to follow their hearts instead of their duties. The princesses then fall for the gang of three who are conveniently perfect matches for the girls. The plot can be a bit preachy about the “my duty is to my heart” story line. But there are some brilliant moments, I’m still traumatised from Shangs supposed death and Mulan going to marry the obnoxious little prince. So despite the heavy emphasis on the love story, Mulan 2 is definitely worth a watch.
4. Jungle Book
The jungle book sequel follows Mowgli adapting to human life but he soon finds it difficult to cope and returns to the wild. I never liked the ending of the first Jungle Book, where Mowgli didn’t want to join the human villagers until he sees the pretty girl. The sequel makes up for it though. Shanti is a pretty awesome character and she works well as a childish voice of reason. She knows the rules better than most of the children and is pretty intent on following it, but she soon gets swept up in Mowglis madness.
5. Lilo and stitch
Stitch! The Movie was a great lead into the TV series (which I used to watch religiously). It introduces how the main characters intend to deal with the other experiments who were released all over the island. I’ve always loved the Lilo and Stitch series because of how they portray different styles of families. Lilos older sister Nani is the matriarch of the household and for a while it’s just the two of them. After the events of the first film, the family expands to include Nani’s boyfriend David, Stitch, Uncle Jumba and Aunt Pleakley (Gender fluid aliens. Go Disney.) In this film, the family expands even more as stitch is determined that all of the other experiments constitute his cousins and therefore our dynamic duo are determined to find the one place that each of the experiments belong. It’s a lovely form of quest which spawned a brilliant TV show.
Stitch has a Glitch is more of a midquel, set between the two previous movies. It’s essentially a rehash of the first movie, a default in stitches programming means that he revert to his original destructive nature. This film isn’t quite as engaging, but the family dynamic is as strong as ever with some emotion references to Lilo wanting to follow in her mother’s footsteps.
6. The Little Mermaid
I do love Return to the Sea, but it is essentially the first film in reverse. Ariels daughter Melody has always been on land and wishes that she could become a mermaid. Melody was never told about her mother’s past after a conflict with Ursulas sister and it seems like a lot of the conflict in this film could have been avoided if they had just explained to the half-mermaid child why she loves the ocean so much. A bit of fore-thought could have saved a lot of drama but I suppose that wouldn’t have been a particularly interesting film…
I never really liked the prequel Ariels Beginning though. It goes back to Ariels childhood and shows her mother being killed by sailors and King Triton subsequently banning music in the kingdom due to his own depression. Ariel, the little rebel that she is, discovers an underground music club headed by Sebastian and makes it her mission to bring music back to the kingdom. Not a particularly interesting plot, but it does give the music presentation of the first film (Daughters of Triton) a lot more significant. It does however make Ariel seem pretty fickle for missing something which she campaigned so hard for.
7. Hunchback of Notre Dame
This sequel isn’t all that well constructed. It’s basically giving Quasimodo the love interest that he didn’t get in the first movie. However, there is one fact of the movie that I absolutely love.
Remember how Esmeralda and Djali mocked Phoebus when he informed her that his name means ‘sun-god’? Well, the pair had a son. And somehow, Phoebus must have persuaded Esmeralda to let him name the poor kid. Because Zephr is the name of one of the Greek gods of the wind. And imagining that conversation just makes me laugh.
Another confession for you all; I hate Disneys Cinderella. I do however, love the sequels.
Cinderella II: Dreams Come True is essentially the same as Belles Magical world, where three short stories are squished into one film. My favourite story by far is the step-sister Anastasia falling in love with the baker.
They’re a perfect couple, but unfortunately, there was another sequel; Cinderella III: A Stitch in Time. In which they conveniently forgot that the second film existed. Lady Tremaine gets possession of the Fairy Godmothers wand and basically it’s the climax from Swan Princess. Anastasia appears to have forgotten about her boyfriend and is instead willing to disguise herself as Cinderella to marry the prince. So as much as I love the second film, this set of sequels goes to the bottom of the list for forgetting about their happily ever afters.
So that’s my list of the best Disney sequels. Let me know what you think. Do you love or hate the Disney sequels? Have I missed any that you think should be on the list? Let me know.