Plot: Patch, one of the 99 puppies from the previous movie, is sick and tired of being overlooked due to him having so many brothers and sisters. As the family and dogs move, Patch is accidentally left behind and he takes this as his opportunity to run away.
Along the way, he meets his idol, the actor dog behind the TV action character, Thunderbolt. He has recently discovered that his character is going to be killed off the show, so he recruits Patch to help him do real-life heroic deeds to get his job back.
Meanwhile, Cruella, fresh out of prison, is trying to follow her parole conditions of not being near furs or dogs by visiting an art show. She sees the art of Lars, who particularly does works of art showing black spots on a white background, something right up Cruella’s alley. However, Lars is having difficulty creating more of those same works for her, so she recruits her old henchmen to kidnap the dalmatian puppies for inspiration for Lars.
Breakdown: Okay, let’s get this out of the way; I really have no emotional attachment to the original 101 Dalmatians movie nor its live action sequels nor this animated sequel.
101 Dalmatians was a movie that was just kinda there to me as a kid. It’s a movie about two dalmatians, Pongo and Perdy, giving birth to a litter of puppies. A woman fittingly named Cruella de Vil wants to skin the puppies to make a fur coat. She kidnaps the 15 puppy litter and buys/kidnaps 84 other dalmatian puppies. The movie’s one big chase scene after that’s been established and of course the puppies are fine in the end with the excess 84 puppies being adopted by Pongo and Perdy’s owners.
Nothing really that notable or memorable barring a song and a few scenes if you ask me. I still start singing ‘Cruella de Vil’ randomly on occasion. Also, taking the concept as a whole, it really seems like a huge milking of people who have a love of everything cute puppy. Hey, if one puppy’s cute, why not 99?
As for this sequel, I don’t remember if I’ve ever seen it before, but its pretty generic. Patch, one of the 101 Dalmatian puppies, feels like he’s overlooked since he has so many brothers and sisters. He gets left behind on accident while the family moves away (Because Pongo’s apparently an idiot father who thinks “anyone who’s not here, speak up” is a legit way of figuring out if anyone’s missing) Seeing this as a the final straw, Patch embraces the newfound freedom and runs off. He meets his idol, the acting dog Thunderbolt, who befriends him.
The story can be condensed in a nutshell easily. After Patch meets Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt finds out that his character in his show will be killed off soon, which spirals him into a panic. He gets the idea that he should get his job back by performing heroic acts for the cameras and papers in real life. He meets up with Patch and they do not-so-heroic deeds that reflect his actions in the TV show.
His overlooked sidekick, Lightning, takes this opportunity to steal the limelight for the show.
Meanwhile, Cruella has gotten out of prison early and has a restraining order against her. She’s barred from buying furs as a restriction on her parole and she decides to get her dalmatian fill by obsessing over a local artist’s work as it’s all black and white spots. She doesn’t get enough of his work however, and calls her cronies back from prison, who somehow got a worse prison sentence than her, to kidnap the puppies for her to get inspiration for more artwork….Seems kinda moot to kidnap the puppies to make art that she intends to use to keep her from kidnapping puppies, but we needed a story.
Obviously only Patch and Thunderbolt can save the day here. Patch finds out Thunderbolt’s a fake, he rescues the puppies on his own by emulating more Thunderbolt episodes with minor help from Thunderbolt, Cruella gets arrested, Pongo and Perdy are reunited with their puppies and we get an abrupt ending.
Not much really happens, but here’s my notes anyway.
– Do these puppies ever age? I mean, taking the live action sequels and the time skip in this movie, the puppies must be at least a year or two old now. They haven’t grown in the least. I know 101 Dalmatians is all about PUPPIES! *YAY! But still.
– The art style is quite similar to the original. However there is a distinct air of TV series style…Apparently this was indeed a spin-off to a Disney channel animated series. I honestly don’t remember there even being a 101 Dalmatians animated series, in the least, but okay. Thunderbolt apparently seems to be a character in that series too. After looking up shots from the show, the art is way worse in the TV series.
– Perdy: “Finally; no more counting!” I think you guys have this whole thing backwards. Having 99 puppies living in a small house makes them relatively easy to keep track of. Having them living on a huge ranch with what seems like no fences with two houses/one house one garage makes it imperative to count them now.
– I realize now that this movie seems like a mix between the plots of Lady and the Tramp 2: Scamp’s Adventure and The Fox and the Hound 2…
– It’s a little sad that they never realized on their own that Patch was missing. They needed to see him on the front of a newspaper to even realize he was gone. It’s even weirder when you really think about it. They know Patch so well that they instantly recognize him in a picture despite having 99 puppies who mostly look the same. (You could say that the black on his eye is a giveaway, but lots of dalmatian puppies have that.) Yet they never realized he was missing.
– Why do Pongo and Perdy know that Cruella’s going to go after the puppies again? For all they know, she’s still in jail.
– Don’t understand why Patch is unforgivably mad at Thunderbolt yet is still obsessed with the TV show. He’s even still trying to emulate Thunderbolt. Guess the message here is that emulating TV shows, even the incredibly dangerous stunts, is A-Okay!
– Also, as he’s trying to save the other puppies, Patch leaves Thunderbolt there with the crazy woman who likes to skin dogs. Our hero!
– Oh and they took a scene directly from The Lion King. Remember when Simba as a cub ‘roars’ at the hyenas, they corner and laugh at him for his pitiful roar then he tries to roar a second time, this time it’s huge and powerful, and they see Mufasa roaring instead? Same. Exact. Scene. Only instead of Simba cub – Patch, Hyenas – Cruella and her henchmen, and Mufasa – Thunderbolt. Also roar – bark.
Bottomline: All in all, this is a fairly okay family flick, but it’s predictable, has little story to it, though I will admit moreso than the first movie, and its just really an ‘oh look, cute puppies!’ novelty.
The music’s better than many other Disney Sequels, though we don’t get any follow up to Cruella de Vil nor do we get any real memorable songs. The voice acting’s okay; we have Barry Bostwick playing Thunderbolt, Jason Alexander playing Lightning and Martin Short as the artist guy, Lars. The kid playing Patch doesn’t seem to be very energetic even when he goes all fanboy.
If you were a fan of the first, you’ll probably like this movie. I just can’t seem to connect with these movies and this is coming from an animal lover; particularly a dog person.
Recommended Audience: Skinning puppies may have been mentioned once or twice. If just mentioning that seriously bothers you, 7+, if not E for everyone.