By Jeremy Carden
There is a reason these films are direct-to-video…
Yesterday I was watching Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World for the first time since I was a child. It was completely by accident because I was scrolling around Netflix and it popped up on the menu. Since I haven’t watched it in so long, I decided to give it a shot for old time’s sake. Though after the first 15 minutes, I started to regret clicking the “play” button.
About two weeks ago, I watched the first Pocahontas movie at a friend’s house and after watching this sequel I was flabbergasted. It was nowhere near as good as the original! I feel that the reason so many of these sequels flop involve two important factors; voice actors and the songs.
When you replace the voice actors that viewers became accustomed to in the first movie(s) it is an automatic turnoff for many fans.
One of the things that set Disney movies apart from other movies is the incredible soundtrack to the films. Even if a Disney movie is not that great (which is rarely the case with Disney films) if the songs are incredible then that is all that matters.
Now I just watched Pocahontas II yesterday but I cannot recite a lyric from any of the songs and I can’t tell you the title of one of the songs. Thinking back to all of the Disney sequels I’ve seen in my day the only song I can recall is “He is Not One of Us” from Lion King II.
Usually in the movies an emotional scene is amplified by the background music or a song that captures the moment. However, when it seems like the song was written 5 minutes before the recording of the movie the lyrics just go in one ear and right out of the other.
Another thing about sequel films is that the main focus is usually on a secondary character from the first movie in most cases. After watching Pocahontas II, I decided to give Mulan II a chance…
That turned out to be another mistake because just like the previous sequel I watched, the music was lackluster and the story was not very good when compared to the original. The plot itself seemed to be more about Mushu than Mulan. I know he had a story in the original to reclaim his spot as a Family Guardian and it was well done because it intertwined with Mulan’s mission. Though it was more selfish than her mission was but in the end it all worked out for the best because well it’s a Disney movie!
I thought that Disney sequels were the worst thing that the company ever did to make an extra dime off of a film. However, I was wrong because Disney released something even more horrible than a sequel; a prequel.
So many great movies like The Lion King and Beauty & The Beast were ruined by the addition of prequels and sequels that just make things very confusing. I will admit that some timeline gaps are filled in like Tarzan and Bambi because at one point in the movie they are young but then during a song they are magically transported into adulthood.
I think one of the main weaknesses of Disney sequels is that most of them do not even feel like movies. When I’m watching them I don’t feel like I’m watching a Disney movie. Honestly I think I’m watching a Saturday morning Disney cartoon. Of course it is an extended cartoon or episode which would probably be split into 3 or more parts if it were in a Disney series or something like that.
One example I can give is the second Aladdin movie called “The Return of Jafar.” The animation was horrible compared to the original movie and it reminded me of the Aladdin cartoon series as opposed to the movie itself.
I will say that the third movie about Aladdin finding his father “The King of Thieves” was actually a pretty good film. The storyline was good and it was a nice way of introducing Aladdin’s only known living relative. It was one of the few movies I could see making it to the big screen. The only thing it needed was a few songs to help strengthen it along with better quality in terms of animation and it would have been a good addition to the trilogy.
Overall, I cannot make heads or tails out of Disney’s intention for making these movies. I mean they could be making them for the sake of the fans that were dying to know what Aladdin and Jasmine did after their “Happily Ever After” or what would have happened if Cinderella’s slipper went on another woman’s foot and the list goes on.
Another reason could be as I mentioned before just milking these characters for more money but then again at the end of the day Disney is a company just like another. It is not the only one to extend a franchise far longer than it should in order to make more money thorough merchandise. However, in the process that magic and spark that kept fans intrigued at the beginning gets lost as time goes on.
Some franchises that I feel fit that description include; Pokemon, The Simpsons, direct-to-video Scooby-Doo movies and The Land Before Time just to name a few from my childhood.
What do you think? Does Disney make these additional films for a quick buck or are they just as timeless as the originals?