In honor of the upcoming release of “Finding Dory,” “The Incredibles 2” and “Cars 3,” here is a blast from the past as I present you with the five best and worst of Disney’s (and Pixar’s) animated sequels.
1. “The Lion King”
You can consider “The Lion King 1 ½,” although it is actually a prequel to the original “Lion King” story. What puts this sequel in with the best is “The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride.” This film follows Simba’s daughter, Kiara, and her love for Kovu, a lion raised with Scar’s followers. This “Romeo and Juliet” take on the story compliments the original Hamlet-like “Lion King” story. Let me just say, Shakespeare will forever be around.
2. “Toy Story”
“Toy Story 2” and “Toy Story 3” are worthy candidates for this list, as they both were just as good, if not better, than the original film. Both films brought back the original actors and continued on with an amazing storyline. There are no complaints about these sequels; Disney knew exactly what they were doing.
Here is another Disney film with multiple sequels, including “Return of Jafar” and “Aladdin and the King of Thieves.” For me, the “King of Thieves” is the best, with Aladdin and Jasmine’s wedding and the sudden arrival of Aladdin’s father. However, both sequels are action packed and worth viewing.
4. “Monsters Inc”
The original “Monsters Inc.” film was incredibly funny and cute and came out at a time when most of us were around ten. The fact that filmmakers decided to wait for these ten-year-old kids to get to college before releasing a prequel based on Mike and Sully’s encounters in college is just unbelievable planning. Way to go Disney!
5. “The Little Mermaid”
The sequel that earns a spot on this list is “The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea” where Ariel and Eric’s human daughter, Melody, wishes to be a mermaid like her mother. However, there is a prequel, “The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning,” which isn’t quite as good, but it does explain Ariel’s mother’s absence.
Cinderella had two sequels: “Cinderella II: Dreams Come True” and “Cinderella III: A Twist in Time.” Both sequels were entertaining but were made more into a television cartoon than an actual film. For such a classic Disney princess story, I felt she deserved a much better sequel, or perhaps she would’ve been better left alone.
2. “Peter Pan”
“Return to Neverland,” the sequel to this film, is one of the least known sequels to a Disney movie. The story focuses on Jane, Wendy Darling’s daughter, who doesn’t believe the stories her mother tells her about Peter Pan. The film was more sad, as viewers watched a character all grown up that they didn’t really want to: Wendy Darling. Plus, it’s weird and creepy that her daughter is now with Peter.
Let me just start out by saying “Mulan II” doesn’t star Eddie Murphy as Mushu. I think that’s enough for most people to walk away. But on top of that, the film starts with an engagement. Mulan is supposed to be this tough, fighting machine, not the ordinary princess. What are you doing, Disney?
4. “The Fox and the Hound”
The “Fox and the Hound 2” just couldn’t possibly hold a candle to the original. I mean, who doesn’t cry every time Tod is driven away from Copper? The second film may star Patrick Swayze and Reba McEntire, but it still isn’t one of the best.
5. “Beauty and the Beast”
“Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas” is definitely not a terrible sequel. However, some classics need to be left alone. This film does go back and give the story of Mrs. Potts, Lumiere and Cogsworth, but a Christmas-themed film? There were definitely aspects that needed to be improved, which is why it joins the others on the list.
Of course, filmmakers are always taking a risk when making a sequel. I think it speaks volumes that Disney has such a diverse take on these films. Check out these Disney sequels and prequels and decide for yourself whether or not Disney got it right.