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Some movies belong to a genre, others define a genre.
For example, if someone ever asked you “What’s Film Noir?” you could do no better than to plonk them in front of The Maltese Falcon and say “That.”
That movie perfectly encapsulates everything that we associate with the genre; the moody black and white photography, the moral ambiguity, cynical gumshoes, treacherous dames, shifty foreigners and all the fedoras in the world. We might argue over whether it’s the best Film Noir, but it’s definitely the most Film Noir.
Which brings me nicely, like the old blogging pro I am, to Return to the Sea, which I feel confident in calling The Maltese Falcon of Disney Sequels.
I haven’t seen all the DTV sequels but I’ve seen enough.
I’ve seen enough like George C Scott saw enough in Hardcore.
But, fair is fair, they have occasionally been able to surprise me. Some of the very best, I’ll even concede, are slightly better than the very worst of the official canon. But Return to the Sea will not surprise you. If you picture the platonic ideal of “Disney Sequel”, this is it. This is exactly what you imagined. A palpable lack of effort leaches into every cel of this misbegotten thing. Mulan 2, whatever its crimes against its heroine, has a loopy, unpredictable “what is it going to do next?!” chutzpah that I have to admit I kind of enjoyed. But Return to the Sea provides the kind of soul crushing tedium that can only be provided by watching a movie you’ve already seen but worse in every respect.
Scalpels at the ready folks. Let’s make some sushi.