I was once a mouse of honour.
Once I had a code.
My very first post on this blog, half a goddamn decade ago, set out some rules that I swore I’d follow come hell or high water:
No live action movies.
No Pixar movies.
No direct to video Disney sequels.
So here we are. Come and witness as my last scrap of virtue is torn away. Today, I review a direct to video Disney sequel, the cinematic equivalent of hiring a prostitute to dress up like your high school sweetheart, something beautiful and pure rendered tawdry and mercenary.
Oh come, come, Mouse, I hear you cry. Are they really as bad as all that? Well…
Okay, real talk time. None of the direct to video sequels made for the canon movies are as good as or better than the movies they are based on. Not one. By definition, really. I mean. If Disney Toons had somehow made a sequel to The Little Mermaid that was even better, they wouldn’t have released it straight to video, right? They’d have given it a full theatrical release and made it an official entry in the canon like The Rescuers Down Under or Winnie the Pooh (is Winnie the Pooh still in the canon? Disney?)
“Um…yes? I dunno. Look, the canon is just a marketing gimmick, who even cares?”
“Oh yeah, sure, I understand, I just dedicated FIVE YEARS OF MY LIFE to this, no biggie.”
But, y’know. I’m fair. I’m a fair mouse. Everyone says so. Believe me. And while all of the Disney cheapquels are objectively worse than the movies they were based on, that doesn’t mean that they were entirely without merit. In fact, let’s play the game that’s taking the globe by storm, Mouse Says Nice Things About Disney Sequels For As Long As He Can!
Return of Jafar: Obviously (OBVIOUSLY) not as good as Aladdin but it actually did some interesting stuff plot wise by giving Iago a character arc and actually leaving a real, lasting change to the status quo by having him become a hero. Maybe not a great movie but a very decent pilot for a better than decent TV show.
King of Thieves: Robin Williams back as the genie, some much needed delving into Aladdin’s backstory and a fairly satisfying conclusion to the story of the Agrabah gang.
Lion King 1 ½: As a sequel it busts the original’s continuity straight to hyena infested hell buuuuut…great cast, really nice animation, some genuinely funny gags and Diggah Tunnah is honestly a good enough song that it could have been in the original movie (and a good song in a Disney sequel is a rare, precious thing indeed).
Bambi 2: Patrick Stewart as the Prince of the Forest. It’s truly sad when a Disney Sequel is making better use of Patrick Stewart than the actual canon movies.
Cinderella 3: A Stitch in Time: Faced with the task of making a second sequel to Cinderella and with the imminent closure of their studio, Disney Australia went all in on a batshit insane time travel caper. They went out fighting. They went out weird. And we salute them.
And as for today’s movie…
Okay, look. We need to take a minute to talk about the plight of a certain persecuted minority. A proud people who have suffered indignity after indignity in the face of a hostile and uncaring majority.
I refer, of course, to Pocahontas fans. And I am sorry that I must add to their legacy of suffering, because the truth is this:
I prefer Pocahontas 2 to the original.
“Never thought we’d be mobbin’ for Pocahontas of all gol-durn things.”
No, I’m not joking.
No, I’m not just trolling you.
No, I’m not being contrarian.
No, I haven’t suffered some kind of head injury.
Here’s the thing, if you love Pocahontas you probably love it for the music and the animation and I’m obviously not going to pretend that Pocahontas 2 holds a single solitary candle to the original in either of those categories. But in terms of story…
Okay. It’s not perfect. It’s not even particularly good. But. This is the story of a young Native American woman who most leave her home, travel across the sea and navigate the intrigue of a strange and hostile foreign court with the survival of her entire tribe hanging in the balance. And that, to me, is automatically more compelling than the warmed-over Romeo and Juliet plot of the original.
Let’s take a look.