Dissecting the Disquels Finale – The Ultimate Disquel Rankings List!

To cap off Dissecting the Disquels, I have decided to make a finalized rankings list of all of the movies in the set. Now, you might think that, since all of the movies have been reviewed with number ratings, that the list should be easy enough to sort out, but that really isn’t the case. Considering I’ve been sitting on these reviews for years, as many as seven years for a few of them, I found myself seeing some of the entries in a different light for a variety of reasons, and that made their places on the list either higher or lower as a result.

Here’s what I was focused on.

Overall Quality – this is basically the initial number rating I gave to the movie.

Memorability – How much I remember the movie now and how memorable I found it upon watching it.

Entertainment Value – How much fun I had watching it.

Original Respect/Disrespect – How much it disrespected the original movie OR if it displayed particular notes of respect for the original. I’ll be gauging this via positive or negative ratings.

Rewatch Desire – Not really rewatchability, as in if you’d get any benefit from watching it again, but moreso whether I WANT to rewatch it.

With those factors in mind, let’s finally rank all of the Disquels!

Going from best to worst;

1 – The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride (Part One | Part Two)

I don’t think there’s anything more I can say about this movie that I haven’t already said. It is, by far, the best Disquel and a fitting followup to one of my favorite movies ever, The Lion King. It doesn’t surpass its predecessor, but it is still a very good movie on its own with great characters, an amazing soundtrack and an awesome villain. This is what all of the Disquels should have aspired to be, but, alas, that obviously didn’t happen.

Overall Quality – 8.5/10

Memorability – 9/10

Entertainment Value – 9/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +6 While it does do the original justice and doesn’t really disrespect anything directly, the massive chasm between the original movie and the sequel’s plot is way too noticeable. There’s just too much left unexplained……

…..THE OTHER LION WAS GOLD AND MALE, GUYS. GOLD AND MALE. Where did he go!?

Disney:

Rewatch Desire – 9.5/10

2 – The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning (The Little Mermaid 3)

I decided Ariel’s Beginning would get second place because, while it is very much neck and neck with my third place choice, I just felt like Ariel’s Beginning had more substance and reason to exist. It allowed us to better understand why Triton was the way he was about humans, and it introduced us to Ariel’s mom for…a few minutes.

Plus, it’s a very entertaining movie that never really annoyed me at any point, and I still love Benjamin. It suffers from having a very weak villain and a deja vu plot, but it still stands up well enough on its own.

Overall Quality – 8/10

Memorability – 7/10

Entertainment Value – 8/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +7 Their biggest sin here was, despite having a movie celebrating music and how important it is to both undersea life/mermaids and, well, the movie series as a whole, the original soundtrack is very much lacking and that’s greatly disappointing. Plus, while Ariel’s mom was in the movie, it was very, very briefly.

Rewatch Desire – 7.5/10

3 – Cinderella III: A Twist in Time

The big surprise of the whole set of Disquels was definitely Cinderella III. The original movie didn’t call for a two let alone a three, and two was awful, so how good could a third be? Quite good, bafflingly enough. It has a very appealing style to it, it’s entertaining, charming and funny, it gave Cinderella some agency and it fleshed out the relationship between her and the prince more than the original or the second movie ever did.

This movie doesn’t have much of a reason to exist, is all, and it doesn’t change the status quo at the end, which is understandable because it’s a time travel movie. It shifted focus to Anastasia, which continues to be a confusing choice to me, but works well enough. She’s a good person now, having gone through a legit redemption arc this time, but doesn’t get her own love interest in the end, which is both welcome because that’s cliché and a bit confusing because where’s the damn baker from the second movie? He was a normal dude, looking normal and doing a normal job, and he really Disney-loved her. He would’ve been perfect for her to end up with. It would’ve been easy to work him in. Make him the royal baker or something. Come on.

Overall Quality – 8/10

Memorability – 7/10

Entertainment Value – 7.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – 0 I’m keeping this one neutral because, technically, this movie is doing the ultimate disrespect to the first movie by basically erasing it from ever happening. However, like I said, I liked what they replaced it with, so…..People will probably argue this one, but I’m keeping this where it is.

Rewatch Desire – 7.5/10

4 – Bambi II

This is another movie that can sorta justify its existence, but didn’t really need to be made. Bambi II tells the story of Bambi’s life after his mother died but before he grew into a buck, being raised by the Great Prince of the Forest, which is an interesting enough premise. Being a midquel, it suffers from midquel predictability in that we know everyone will survive and nothing too impacting will happen, and it doesn’t, but it’s an enjoyable cute little movie that I liked so much that, in the review, I said it would’ve taken second place in my list of Disquel rankings. It’s not a must-see movie or anything, but I’d recommend any Bambi fan give it a watch.

Overall Quality – 7/10

Memorability – 6.5/10

Entertainment Value – 7/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +4 It didn’t really do anything to mar the original, and it provided us with a look into a stronger bond between Bambi and the Great Prince. Kinda makes the original’s ending even more impacting.

Rewatch Desire – 7/10

5Lilo and Stitch 2: Stitch has a Glitch

Lilo and Stitch was the last Disney classic to get the Disquel treatment, and it somehow managed to get the most Disquels with three movies – Lilo and Stitch 2, Stitch! The Movie and Leroy and Stitch. Lilo and Stitch 2: Stitch has a Glitch, was the lowest rated out of all of them, but looking back I feel like I have maintained more of an appreciation for this movie slightly above the others. I just think the actual premise, Stitch going crazy due to a glitch, could’ve been done better. They don’t go far enough with him going ‘bad’ and the conflict was poorly handled since Jumba and Pleakley literally could have cleared everything up in a sentence but chose not to.

However, we do get more about Lilo’s mom, we get some really heartwarming moments, there’s some nice music, and out of all of Lilo and Stitch’s Disquels, this is the one I’d most want to watch again.

Overall Quality – 6.5/10

Memorability – 7/10

Entertainment Value – 6.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +1 Mostly neutral here. They do some things to respect the original movie and nothing to really disrespect it outside of maybe Lilo being a bit too harsh with Stitch when she’s always been understanding of him and should have known something was wrong instead of just believing he had gone bad again.

Rewatch Desire6/10

6 – Leroy and Stitch

The finale of the Lilo and Stitch universe….barring the anime versions…Leroy and Stitch is about Dr. Hamsterviel using a new experiment made by Jumba, named Leroy, who is basically another more powerful Stitch, to destroy all 625 of Stitch’s cousins. This is a very fitting finale to the entire franchise. It has a great epic battle, it properly reforms 625 and has him team up with Lilo, and it ties up quite a few loose ends. However, when I really thought back on it, I realized I didn’t really remember much of the movie beyond the ending battle and the resolution with the concert. Also, I didn’t feel as much of a desire to rewatch it as I did with Lilo and Stitch 2. It was a close call here, and it’s a good movie, but Leroy and Stitch just squeaks out a little lower.

Overall Quality – 7.5/10

Memorability – 5/10

Entertainment Value – 6.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +6 They remembered every single experiment outlined in the show and gave names to those who never appeared. They also resolved several storylines and fixed some issues, but I don’t agree with some of the resolutions such as the endings with Mertle and Gantu. Those seemed rushed and undeserving. Also, while I understand why they couldn’t do this, and this is barely a decimal against them, they never did show all 626 experiments after building a TV show based on the premise of reforming every single experiment. Disney had their idiotic 65 episode rule at this point, so they basically went into the series knowing they’d never cover anywhere near that many experiments, but they still dangled that carrot in front of us.

Rewatch Desire5/10

7Return to Neverland (Peter Pan 2)

As I mentioned in my review, Peter Pan wasn’t a beloved Disney classic to me. I just didn’t get into it much, and I always kinda hated Tinkerbell. This entry is one of those movies where it’s just…’fine.’ It’s a fine movie. I didn’t gain much from it. I didn’t lose much from it. It’s fine. I definitely give this movie props for having the balls to have its setting be World War Freakin’ II and having the main plotline with the main character, Jane, daughter of Wendy, be her sacrificing her childhood because of World War Freakin’ II and trying to recapture it with Peter, but other than that it’s a lot of ‘fine.’

Also, I still can’t stop rolling my eyes at the fact that they replaced the alligator with an octopus who makes a popping noise all the time. That was just dumb.

Overall Quality – 7/10

Memorability – 5/10

Entertainment Value – 6/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +4 They do very much respect the original movie by showing how much of an impact Peter had on Wendy’s life and how much he still means to her, and I don’t think they do anything to really disrespect the original much. I just wish Peter and Wendy had more interaction besides that brief moment in the end. Also, we never get any information on where Wendy’s brothers are.

Rewatch Desire – 5/10

8 – Stitch! The Movie

I rated this movie higher than Lilo and Stitch 2, but when I was finding a place for it on this list I realized I only barely remember anything about this movie. I remember Stitch feeling like he doesn’t belong….again, and Sparky existing, but that’s about it. Stitch! The Movie is certainly a good intro to Lilo and Stitch the Series, but, looking back on it, I’m not sure I have as much respect for it as a Disquel because, if the series didn’t exist, this movie would just be leading into a giant hole. Likewise, Leroy and Stitch is entirely reliant on the TV series too. If you didn’t watch the series beforehand, you’d be a little lost as to what’s going on in the movie. I’m just imagining someone watching all of the Lilo and Stitch Disquels without realizing there’s a TV show and being horrendously confused.

That being said, the movie isn’t bad by any means, but it lost quite a few spots in the rankings as time went on.

Overall Quality – 7/10

Memorability – 4/10

Entertainment Value – 6/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +3 While they did sort of retcon the original a little by having Stitch lost on his place in the world when that was a pretty good chunk of the first movie, it’s made up for by keeping the original spirit alive in introducing us to Stitch’s cousins.

Rewatch Desire – 5/10

9 – Kronk’s New Groove (The Emperor’s New Groove 2)

There was a whole lot of potential with this Disquel. The Emperor’s New Groove is a fantastic, memorable and very funny movie. A spin-off with Kronk could have worked very well. However, this movie tries to go in so many directions that it ends up going nowhere. It tries so, so hard to be the first movie, but it also tries to be its own thing, and it also tries to follow Disquel formulas while maintaining the ENG style. It’s just too much. And lest we forget that this is one of those three-segmented ‘movies’ that is part of the ‘pretending this ‘movie’ is a ‘movie’ when it’s actually three episodes of a pitched TV show acting as a pilot’ collection. There was some fun to be had here. It’s self-aware, it has a good sense of humor and the story is slightly workable, but it’s cliché as all hell.

Overall Quality – 6.5/10

Memorability – 5/10

Entertainment Value – 6/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – 0 I feel like I should leave this neutral. It almost goes overboard with how much it references the original and tries to replicate it, but on the other hand it’s also trying to repackage the first movie and resell you something else (A Kronk TV series that was never made, although ENG did get a Disquel TV series that was centered on Kuzco again) and that’s pretty disrespectful.

Rewatch Desire – 5/10

10Lady and the Tramp 2: Scamp’s Adventure

I found that, over time, I actually enjoyed this movie more than I first thought. I’ve seen this movie several times at this point, and…I’d watch it again in a heartbeat. Which is weird, because there’s not that much to this movie. It’s a very simple and predictable plot, but…for some reason that works with me? This movie’s problems mostly lie in its Disquelisms (Kid of original main character basically does the first movie in reverse) being very predictable, having an annoying lead character and having a forgettable antagonist who just doesn’t work.

So why do I find myself enjoying the movie whenever I put it on and having a desire to watch it again in the future?….It’s enjoyable and relaxing. The soundtrack’s good with some of the most memorable and well-made lyrical songs of the Disquels. I still sing ‘A World Without Fences’ to myself on occasion….I dunno, I just like it, which is especially weird considering, as I mentioned in the review, I have no attachment to the original movie.

Overall Quality – 5.5/10

Memorability – 6/10

Entertainment Value – 6.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – 0 Keeping this neutral because I honestly don’t remember enough about the original movie to say anything either way. They do introduce a new character who was supposedly very important to Tramp’s life and whom he ‘betrayed’ when Tramp left to live with Lady, but he never appeared in the original movie. It’s a very Zira-esque situation. But I’m not sure that counts as disrespect. Moreso laziness.

Rewatch Desire – 6/10

11 – The Lion King 1 ½

How did TLK2 rank so high but TLK 1 ½ doesn’t even get top ten? Well, because, again, looking back on it, this movie didn’t stick with me much. I remember most of it, but nothing stood out as being particularly impacting or funny. And it’s a damn shame that a TLK Disquel is so far down because, as I’ve mentioned, TLK is one of my favorite movies. A midquel with Timon and Pumbaa could have worked so much better than this. They skimped on the stuff with Simba, which is what most people wanted to see, Timon and Pumbaa’s first meeting was lame, and I will never forgive them for that stupid fart joke during the presentation ceremony. That still makes me angry. It’s relatively fine, and could’ve been a lot worse – I did give it a pretty decent overall score – but after mulling it over I can’t find it within myself to put it any higher than eleven.

Overall Quality – 7/10

Memorability – 6/10

Entertainment Value – 6.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -5 I can’t not dock it off for the presentation fart thing. I’m sorry. I thought I’d just get over that, and when I reached this point that wouldn’t even be a blip on my radar, but nope…it’s just too stupid and disrespectful to one of the most memorable and awesome moments in Disney movies. I also REALLY didn’t care for the montage of them trying to sabotage Nala and Simba’s budding romance during ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight?’ However, credit where credit is due, they do otherwise respect the original quite well and even make some pretty decent jokes about key scenes in the movie.

Rewatch Desire – 4/10

12Aladdin and the King of Thieves (Aladdin 3)

Yeah, I was surprised I put this so far down the list too considering I gave it a 7.5. I was just re-reading my review of it and I suddenly had the realization that I never wanted to watch the movie again. I mentioned I had watched it once before the review rewatch, and….yeah, that’s enough. It has pretty decent quality as a Disquel, some good action, and it FINALLY closes out the series proper by marrying Aladdin and Jasmine and showing us what happened to Aladdin’s father, but there’s nothing to really draw me into wanting to watch it again.

I can’t remember any of the songs now, except a short part of ‘There’s a Party in Agrabah,’ the comedy just isn’t there, despite finally getting Robin Williams back as Genie, and that’s because they, for some reason, rely very, very heavily on Disney references, and any drama about Aladdin’s dad is pretty blah once you’ve seen the movie once. I do recommend any Aladdin fan see this movie at least once because it’s definitely worth that price of admission, but beyond that…eh.

Overall Quality – 7.5/10

Memorability – 5/10

Entertainment Value – 6/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – +1 Pretty benign here. They do respect the original by finally holding Aladdin and Jasmine’s wedding (though, again, I’d SWEAR they were married at the end of the first movie. It plays off so much like they’re married.) and they don’t really do anything to disrespect the original movie outside of Genie not having a purpose or being funny. I almost feel like Robin Williams was given no room to improvise like he was in the first movie. There are so many Disney references that it just has to be Disney shoving the script down his throat.

Rewatch Desire – 2/10

13The Return of Jafar (Aladdin 2)

One of the very first Disquels and one that many people seem to hold dear to their heart, myself included a little, The Return of Jafar is alright but just not that strong story-wise. You’d think the return of Jafar, one of the most threatening Disney villains, would warrant a bit more excitement but…pbbt. Most of the movie is made up of redeeming Iago, which is fine but not really all that much of a hook, if you ask me. The fact that Jafar was also technically beaten by Iago is a little on the corny side. It was nice to give him a good scene like that, but it’s just kinda lame.

Couple with that a very corny but just alright-ish mostly soundtrack and animation that is only up to TV standards, plus a Robin William-less Genie and it’s just a bit of a mess. I might feel like watching this movie again in the future, but it’s much less memorable and entertaining than I remembered it being back when I was a kid.

Overall Quality – 5.5/10

Memorability – 4/10

Entertainment Value – 4/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -2 Jafar’s a bit of an idiot in this movie, far removed from what he was originally. His main drive is to become a free genie, but he realizes that free genies have much less power than bound ones, soooo….The tone and style are also much schmaltzier than the original. It never commits any big sins against the original, but it also doesn’t really give any good sendups to it either.

Rewatch Desire – 3.5/10

14The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea

When I think of Disquelisms, I always think of TLM2. It is such an unabashed example of the Disquel tropes, it’s actually quite sad. Main character the original main character’s kid? Check. The original movie in reverse? Check. The villain basically being a discount version of the original’s villain? Check. Throw some nonsensical plot threads, some of the worst comic relief sidekicks I’ve ever seen (that are also complete rip-offs of Timon and Pumbaa) and a mediocre to near cringey soundtrack into the mix and this movie just………..

FLOUNDERED! 😀

The only real redeeming factors are that Melody’s an alright character, she had better motivations than Ariel did in the first movie, Ariel herself actually has character development in this movie, and the production values are pretty good for a Disquel. I have a tiny bit of nostalgic fondness for this movie, but I’m not sure I’d ever watch it again. There’s just nothing there to really warrant it.

Overall Quality – 5/10

Memorability – 5/10

Entertainment Value – 4/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – 0 Keeping this one neutral because, outside of introducing Ursula’s never mentioned before sister, they don’t do anything one way or another. I can’t say copy-pasting the original movie and reversing it is really respect and not laziness.

Rewatch Desire – 3/10

15Pocahontas 2: Journey to a New World

Ahhhh….Pocahontas 2….This one of those situations where I can’t say much more beyond ‘They shouldn’t have even tried.’ This was a lose-lose situation out the gate. People were complaining about how historically inaccurate the original movie was to the true story and how kinda creepy it was to pair up real adult man John Smith with real 12 year old child girl Pocahontas and how disrespectful it was to basically make Native Americans magic and bunch of other stuff, so they tried to make a sequel closer to the original story and more grounded….and it just culminated in people yelling ‘WHO CARES ABOUT HISTORICAL ACCURACY?! MY OTP WAS DESTROYED!! :’(’

The movie, on its own, is quite fine, and, as someone who doesn’t give a duck in a bucket about Pocahontas and John Smith’s relationship, I’m also fine with her going off into the sunset with John Rolfe (who did marry her in real life.) People act like John Rolfe was super boring, but, got news for ya, so is John Smith. As for the movie itself….it’s fine. There’s just not a lot to sink your teeth into and it’s not all that memorable. It does have some funny moments, though, and it tied up several loose ends. It’s very much a lot of ‘fine.’

Overall Quality – 6.5/10

Memorability – 3/10

Entertainment Value – 4/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – ???? I just bailed on this one because I’m not touching it. One side would argue that it commits the most deplorable of wrongs to the original by splitting up Pocahontas and John Smith in lieu of her being with Rolfe, but another would say it actually does more respect to the original historical story by a mile, and continues on with the themes they were trying to get across in the end of the first movie by having Pocahontas attempt to strengthen relations between the Native Americans and the English settlers. Make your own judgment call here.

Rewatch Desire – 3/10

16 – 101 Dalmatians 2: Patch’s London Adventure

This movie was fun and a relaxing watch, but it really wasn’t memorable at all. Nothing all that interesting happened, Patch isn’t that memorable of a main character, and the plot is predictable. Plus, it’s a little depressing that it’s perfectly understandable for Patch to feel like just another face in a sea of puppies, but to have the climax basically being that his family never does realize he’s missing on their own and they have to find out by seeing his picture in the paper…it’s really just sad. I can’t imagine how hard it is to try and spread yourself so thin that you have to assure 99 puppies that they’re loved equally, but still. In the end, though, there’s nothing terribly wrong with the movie – it’s just that there’s nothing terribly right with it either.

Overall Quality – 5.5/10

Memorability – 3/10

Entertainment Value – 4.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – 0 Might as well stay on the neutral path here. Is there even anything from the original to really lend respect to? Not to say the original’s  a bad film, but it’s mostly lacking substance in story and characters. It’s still a cute movie about puppies, so there ya go.

Rewatch Desire – 3/10

17 – Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas

This one I didn’t rate that bad. However, as Christmas approaches I tend to think of movies/specials etc. that I’d like to watch over the holiday season, and as I was looking over my review of this movie I didn’t even think about considering this one. I also didn’t really remember much of it, either. I remembered Tim Curry as Forte, but as for the actual story, I was pretty much at a loss. Christmas was involved, I think. Looking back, I did enjoy myself a little watching this movie, and despite remembering none of the songs now, apparently they were decent, so I’ll give it points for that, but the movie no longer registers in my mind past, present or future.

Overall Quality – 6.5/10

Memorability – 2/10

Entertainment Value – 4.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -1 Doesn’t do anything terribly wrong, that I remember, but it introduces two servant characters who never appeared in the original movie, despite being a midquel, and the criticism of Belle shifting from only liking the Beast when he makes steps to improve himself on his own to seeing him as a project is warranted. Granted, Beast was still trying to improve himself anyway.

Rewatch Desire – 2/10

18 – The Jungle Book 2

I criticized this movie quite a bit for being boring, and, yeah, I still feel that way. I remember more about this movie than I do Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, but not by much. And I think one of the reasons I remember it more is because, for a short while, I was fairly into the two original songs they made for the soundtrack. The art and animation are pretty darn good, and so is the voice acting, but the writing is cliché, the characters’ decisions are very questionable, even though I realize that they’re children, and not much happens over the entire movie. They brought back Shere Khan to dick around for an hour before making his move and then he just ends up getting thwarted rather easily. Not to mention the little bit I’ll get to in the respect section.

Overall Quality – 4/10

Memorability – 3/10

Entertainment Value – 4/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -6 The ending of this movie completely reverses the message of the first movie. Mowgli was a human child who needed to live a human life. It was safer, it provided more avenues for life fulfillment and happiness, and it was what he ultimately chose. It was a bittersweet reality somewhat akin to The Fox and the Hound. But this movie was like ‘Aw, dat sad. Let me fix it.’ So now the jungle is perfectly safe for children to traverse just because they defeated one tiger, and Mowgli, Shanti, Baloo and Bagheera can live together in harmony. No need to swallow any harsh truths here, folks. I get that some people probably liked this ending, and Disney is all about making unrealistically happy endings, but still. They made one ending that was pretty perfect – stick to it. Show Baloo and Bagheera checking up on Mowgli every now and then or something, but don’t reverse everything…

Rewatch Desire – 2/10

19Tarzan and Jane

Unlike several Disquels that pretended they were legitimate sequels when they were just backdooring a pilot for a TV series, whether or not it got made, this movie changes that up by….repackaging the last few episodes of a TV series that did get made and created some bookends for the stories so it could pretend to be a new movie….Now, I didn’t give this ‘movie’ too much flak despite being…not good, because it did have a few genuinely funny or entertaining moments. However, I can’t help but think of the people who are Tarzan fans who watched the TV series and would be massively disappointed to grab this movie thinking it’s new material when 97% of it isn’t….It’s really sneaky advertising, it’s unfair to the fans, and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Hence why, despite the slightly higher ratings, I actually put this one below The Jungle Book 2.

Overall Quality – I gave this movie two ratings; one based on if you’ve seen the series, which was 1/10 and one for if you haven’t, which was 4/10. I was going to split the difference, but I think I’ll just leave it as two ratings.

Memorability – 4/10

Entertainment Value – 4/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – 0 I can’t really think of anything they did in either direction. Maybe the fact that Jane and her father can seemingly speak to animals now, without a lick of explanation as to why and how this is possible (Tarzan can do it because he was raised by them) but that’s probably just something they glazed over in the show itself so they could include all of the animals in the show without it being difficult with Jane and her father.

Rewatch Desire2/10

20Brother Bear 2

Everyone gets a girlfriend. That is this entire movie. Everyone gets a girlfriend. Brother Bear never had a romantic plotline, so they made up for that in spades here. But it was a story centered on brotherhood. It doesn’t need a romantic plotline. It wasn’t ‘missing’ one so much as it didn’t need one, and it would’ve been detriment to the story to try and include one.

As a result, Brother Bear 2 ends up being less about brotherhood (Sitka never shows up, neither does Denahi, and Kenai’s relationship with Koda is now coated in a lot of jealousy and Kenai neglecting Koda.) As I said, it could’ve been worse, and it’s harmless on its own, but this was a purely unnecessary movie that doesn’t do much of anything either. There’s no big lesson learned or anything, it’s the same ‘*gasp* I realized I loved my childhood friend all along!’ plotline you’ve seen a hundred times. Nita’s also not that interesting in the slightest – she doesn’t even make much sense. I’m still not really angry with this movie, despite being a fan of the original, and it does have a few moments that are genuinely good, but its existence is a little insulting just on the basis of ‘GIV EVRY1 A GURLFREND!1’ and I can’t see myself ever watching it again.

Overall Quality – 4/10

Memorability – 3/10

Entertainment Value – 3/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -3 They half-disrespected the themes of the original movie. Brotherhood is still a theme, but it takes a backseat to the romance aspect. And much of the brotherhood stuff, even with Rutt and Tuke, is slathered in jealousy and neglect. While I did say that I understood omitting Denahi from appearing because his voice actor passed away, it’s disrespectful to not, ya know, mention him or anything. And there’s no excuse for not including Sitka at all.

Rewatch Desire – 2/10

21Tarzan 2

Goddamn, this movie is boring. And it’s making the situation worse for itself by being a midquel, meaning we know none of this matters anyway. It’s not even exploring anything interesting during the middle of the original movie. It’s literally just what Tarzan was doing during the ‘Son of Man’ segment….and we saw that. So they had to make up some dumb plotline where the ultimate lesson was…be yourself….*sigh* The only redeeming thing in this movie is the song ‘Who Am I’ because it’s pretty catchy and well-made. Also, they did get Phil Collins back for this, which is cool. Otherwise, there is not a single reason to watch this movie.

Overall Quality – 3/10

Memorability – 2/10

Entertainment Value – 1/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – 0 It doesn’t do anything, so it can’t do much in this aspect. It does maintain Tarzan and Kala’s sweet relationship and brings back Phil Collins and some of his music, though that might be because he was a big pull in the original movie, but the storyline and placement of this movie makes no sense when you think about it and kinda messes up the story flow of the first movie.

Rewatch Desire – 0.5/10

22Cinderella II: Dreams Come True

Hey, do you want to see a solid hour of Cinderella planning parties? No? Well, apparently, Disney thinks you do. Cinderella 2 is another movie in the ‘pretending this ‘movie’ is a ‘movie’ when it’s actually three episodes of a pitched TV show acting as a pilot’ collection, and it was the first Disquel I ever reviewed. It is very boring. It is very stupid. Much of it doesn’t even make sense.

I have no clue why they thought a Cinderella TV show would work in the first place. It’s clear they didn’t think much of it working either because, as I mentioned, Cinderella does nothing but plan parties the whole time. The final segment where a somewhat reformed Anastasia is trying to find love with the baker dude is the only somewhat memorable-ish and decent-ish thing about the movie, and that was retconned. We don’t even see Anastasia actually get reformed in this movie, which might be a decent tale, as we see in Cinderella III. We’re just suddenly supposed to sympathize with her because Cinderella got her happily ever after and she didn’t. Boo hoo.

Overall Quality – 2/10

Memorability – 2/10

Entertainment Value – 2/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -2 The movie does mostly nothing of note in the first place, but it reforms an antagonist from the original movie with no reason given as to how or why (At least with Iago in Aladdin 2 they showed him connecting with the characters and slowly lightening up.) but that’s not too bad because reforming Anastasia can actually work. It’s not like they were irredeemable people, besides Bitch – they were just egotistical jerks. I also got the slightest bit insulted in the first segment where Cinderella was actually complaining about her cushy new life as a princess after being magically rescued from an abusive household….

Rewatch Desire – 1.5/10

23Atlantis: Milo’s Return

Entry #37462B-46 of the ‘pretending this ‘movie’ is a ‘movie’ when it’s actually three episodes of a pitched TV show acting as a pilot’ collection….I really liked the original Atlantis: The Lost Empire. I think it’s a slept-on classic. Not the best in the world, but still doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. It also didn’t warrant a sequel at all. It was a very contained story. But here we are with a sequel that was planning on spawning a sequel TV series that never happened.

This movie’s not completely terrible, but it’s also not good. I have no desire to ever watch it again, and I barely remember anything about it.

Overall Quality – 3/10

Memorability – 2/10

Entertainment Value – 3/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -7 I will give it props for keeping basically everyone in character, but this movie did the original dirty when Kida decided it would be oh so intelligent to raise Atlantis to surface level and merge her culture with that of the surface world….all to have material for a TV series that never happened.

They sugarcoat it by pretending everything will be all well and good and everyone will live together in peace, but bullshit. Pure, unadulterated bullshit. They knew that at the end of the first movie, which is why the crew lied about Atlantis when they returned home. Hell, they knew what a terrible idea this was in THIS movie because the only reason there was any conflict on land was because the power of the Atlantean artifacts was causing all sorts of problems on the surface world. Kida risked the safety and well-being of her entire culture, one her late father entrusted to her, one that barely avoided destruction via a surface-dweller mere months prior….because the writers needed a convenient method of making stories for a TV show….that never even happened. Bite me.

Rewatch Desire – 1/10

24Mulan 2

Second verse, same as the first! Now with an asshole dragon! Yup, another movie where they thought ‘Hmm, the original movie didn’t have much romance. Let’s fix that by making the sequel obnoxiously about romance.’ This is such an unnecessary pile of crap. They made Mulan boring and inert, they gave the boys three perfectly suited for each of them princess love interests, they basically made Mulan and Shang’s relationship look bad and like it would probably never last, and they made Mushu into a selfish dumbass who hurts Mulan and tries to break her and Shang up all because he wants to keep being pampered by the other ancestors (who are waiting on him hand and foot for no reason. Also, despite being an asshole the whole movie, he ends up still getting pampered by the other ancestors…) There’s no antagonist, there’s barely a conflict and the barely conflict is fixed via stupidity and tired as hell cliche. As someone who absolutely loved the original Mulan, this movie can rot in a garbage can.

Overall Quality – 2.5/10

Memorability – 3/10

Entertainment Value – 2/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -9 About the only thing this movie respects about the original is the ‘be true to your heart’ thing. Otherwise, Mulan’s a boring sack of dull. Not to mention that Mulan’s pretty focused on love here and even has a couple ‘squeeing’ moments. She battles once very briefly against no-name bandits, but who cares? Also, she needs to be saved by Shang from a marriage she doesn’t want.

Any message against sexism is pretty much null and void because the boys still want girls who suit their every desire and wait on them, and that’s what they get. They do push a message of not forcing people to marry, but I’ve seen some people complain that that message is disrespectful to Chinese culture in regards to arranged marriages because it’s western culture trying to force their views on them, and I get that.

Shang’s being a prick, Mushu’s being a bigger prick and it rewards him for it. Feh. There is one good dramatic moment during Shang’s death fakeout, which actually felt reminiscent of the original movie, but that’s about it.

Rewatch Desire – 0/10

25 – Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Magical World

If you thought trying to make Cinderella into a TV show was a stupid idea that would never work, wait until you hear that Disney was trying to make a TV series as a midquel for Beauty and the Beast. It’s been a long time since I watched this movie, and I still can’t believe that was a plan. Squeeze out seasons worth of material in one or two months, at absolutely most, of a gap in the middle of the original movie. Yikes. The stories and songs here are basically as uninteresting and unmemorable as Cinderella 2, now with less animation quality. As a midquel, we know how everything turns out anyway, especially in the plots that involve strife between Belle and Beast. This movie and pilot idea couldn’t be more pointless.

Overall Quality – 1/10

Memorability – 2/10

Entertainment Value – 1/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – – 3 Beast is just a crazy person in this movie. His attitude is much worse and flip-floppy than in the original movie. Belle is similarly worsened as she becomes slightly childish in her fights with him. The biggest offense this movie commits is really just having the gall to claim all of this happened in a little tiny time frame in the original movie – and all because they don’t have any ideas for Belle and Bea—Adam after the transformation back to normal. They legitimately could have gone for the child-of-previous-main-characters shtick and it would’ve worked a lot better than either movie, to be honest (as long as they did it well, of course.)

Rewatch Desire – 0/10

26 – The Fox and the Hound 2

Thinking about this movie gives me a headache. If there’s one thing I can say for a decent chunk of the Disquels it’s that you can easily identify them as being sequels to the original movie. This movie is so bland and boring and listless and forgettable and so far divorced from what the original movie was that if I explained the full plot to you without mentioning either character’s name (or saying ‘fox’ and ‘hound’) that you’d never believe this plot was a sequ—excuse me, midquel to The Fox and the Hound.

And yes, as if the terrible story and several degrees of separation from the original’s tone, message and pretty much everything weren’t enough, this is a midquel so it’s super pointless to watch this, not to mention depressing. Like, yeah, kids, enjoy watching this cute little friendship withstand a hardship just to eventually realize that they’ll be forced apart by the norms of nature and society as adults! The only good thing I could ever say about this movie is that the music was okay, but as of this moment I can’t even remember any of the music either. It is more than deserving of the runner-up…or runner-down spot on this list.

Overall Quality – 1.5/10

Memorability – 1/10

Entertainment Value – 1.5/10

Original Respect/Disrespect – -9 As if everything I already said wasn’t bad enough, they also tried to imply that Widow Tweed and Amos were going to be romantically linked, which, uh, no. No….And no.

Rewatch Desire – 0/10

27 – The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2

And the winner of the bottom spot of this ranking list is none other than The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2 – or as I like to call it ‘Pain in Movie Form.’ There is nothing this movie did right. Nothing. Not as a movie, not as a Disquel, not as a use for thousands of VHS tapes….Nothing. The art and animation is terrible. The music makes my insides self-immolate. The story is stupid, doesn’t make sense, and the overall message is ridiculously simple and one that was already gone over in the first movie. And it’s one of those stupid ‘someone didn’t get a love interest in the last movie. Gotta give them one now’ plots.

The new girl, whose name I don’t even remember, is literally just a constructed love interest for Quasi because he didn’t get Esmeralda in the end. She’s so boring and one note that it’s actually impressive. I don’t even want to acknowledge that the joke of ‘villain’ even exists. It’s hard to follow Frollo as it is, but they didn’t even try. No no, it was more like they were told to try even less than they intended on trying. Why this movie dares to exist is a mystery I still have yet to solve, and it is more than deserving of the bottom spot on this list.

Overall Quality – 1/10

Memorability – 2/10

Entertainment Value – .5/10 Just for the little kids.

Original Respect/Disrespect

Rewatch Desire0/10

And that finally, completely finishes off Dissecting the Disquels. It’s been a long and bumpy road with some nice detours along the way, but all g–….things must come to an end.

But fear not. Despite the Disquel movies being done, we still have work to do. There’s still Disquels TV shows to explore and……We’ll have to tackle….the live-action reboots. I am scared.


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Dissecting the Disquels: The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride (Part Two – Step-By-Step Analysis)

Rating: 8.5/10

Plot: Simba has become a great king in the Pride Lands, and now he’s welcoming his first child, Kiara, into the world. While Simba has become a bit of an overprotective stick-in-the-mud and greatly values tradition and the kingdom above all else, looking forward to the day when his daughter supersedes him and becomes queen, Kiara is uncertain about her future and just wants to be herself.

When she grows up, she falls in love with a lion from the Outlands named Kovu, who has been trained his whole life to get close to Kiara in order to get in good with the royal family and kill Simba. His mother is Zira, leader of the Outlander lionesses who have previously pledged loyalty to Scar and have been banished to the desolate wasteland outside of the Pride Lands because of it. But when Kovu starts legitimately falling in love with Kiara, their loyalty to both of their lands and their families will be tested. Can love end the feuding once and for all?

Breakdown:

Read Part 1 (In-Depth Analysis) Here.

Part two, baby! Before we start on this section, let’s talk about some of the foundations of the movie’s story.

First and foremost, the Lion King movies all have a tradition of sorts in that they all base themselves off of Shakespeare plays. The original Lion King was based on Hamlet, TLK 1 ½ was based on Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and TLK2 is based off of Romeo and Juliet.

Obviously, there’s quite a bit in Romeo and Juliet that simply wasn’t adapted here, especially the suicide bit – that goes a bit too far for Disney’s standards.

Secondly, at face value, this movie seemingly tries to explore racism and/or classism in its narrative. As I’ll discuss further later, if this is a part of the narrative and isn’t just something implied though unfortunate choices of wording or situations, then they don’t do a very good job at all touching upon it. I feel like, after analyzing more, the racism/classism angle is more of a stretch than I initially thought, but it’s something to consider.

Finally, TLK2 is something kinda special in that it does remain canon to this day. In the newest iteration of the franchise, the Disney Junior show, The Lion Guard, all of the characters in this movie are part of the story, to my knowledge. We’ll return to The Lion Guard in the future, but it does show something that Disney actually acknowledges one of the Disquels as actually being canon. Granted, from what I read, TLG messes with a lot in regards to known Lion King lore, but, again, we’ll get to that down the line.

Now for the breakdown of the full story of The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride. Enjoy!

—————————————-

Since the beginning of this movie is picking up right where the last movie left off, our story starts out extremely similarly to the first movie, damn near beat-by-beat, only this time Mufasa is shown watching over the presentation ceremony. Also, it seems like they do the presentation ceremony wrong or backwards? Or both. The way the ceremony went for Simba was he had fruit goop put on his head, dust thrown in his face, and then he was brought out to be shown to the animals of the Pride Lands. Here, Kiara is presented, then she has fruit goop put on her head and then it’s done.

Maybe it’s different for princesses. Actually, now that I think about it, the cub at the end of TLK didn’t have goop on his head….it was still a different lion, but goopless. Maybe when you do the goop doesn’t matter?

Goop’s a fun word. Goop goop goop.

Timon and Pumbaa actually seem to mirror the general feeling of this little twist.

Rafiki: “Hehehhe, it is a girl.”

Timon: “Girl….”

Timon and Pumbaa: “GIRL!? Oy…” Also, Timon and Pumbaa are a little sexist here – let’s just admit that. Maybe not fullblown sexist, but a little. Just a smidge.

Skip ahead to Kiara being a little older cub. Overprotective Simba is trying to reel in the adventurous Kiara before she heads off into the wilderness to play. He gives her all sorts of rules for being out by herself, which makes Kiara roll her eyes, but she knows her dad loves her. After agreeing to everything he reminded her about, she heads off.

We get a pretty cute moment between Nala and Simba, and it is really apparent how much Nala has matured over the years. Adult Nala was never really immature, but this Nala has taken to motherhood like a duck to water. She’s always very evenly toned and understanding, yet she still remains playful with Simba, even giving Simba the old trademark pin to the ground. She’s also protective of her daughter, but she’s more trusting and understanding of Kiara’s desires and her personality.

She points out that Kiara is similar to Simba, which Simba points out is a bad thing because they got into so much trouble as kids, but Nala still says she’ll be fine.

Proving Nala’s point, like young Simba, Kiara also likes to practice hunting (though, technically Simba was only practicing pouncing, since lionesses are the hunters.) and she’s enamored with the scary place outside of the Pride Lands borders – in this case the Outlands.

And like Zazu followed Simba and Nala when they went off alone, Timon and Pumbaa are assigned to watch Kiara. However, unlike Zazu, Timon and Pumbaa tail her in ‘secret’ because Simba is so paranoid that he wants to have someone keep an eye on his daughter without letting her know she’s being watched. I have to imagine this is more because of Nala, because Simba tells them to do this while whispering immediately after Nala walked away.

Of course, they suck at it and alert her almost immediately to their presence. It does create a pretty funny sequence afterwards where they nearly drown and crush her, though…..That doesn’t sound nearly as bad in context, trust me.

Which brings me to the weird change in dynamic Timon and Pumbaa now have with Simba. It seems like they’re less his surrogate parents and more his most trusted advisors (considering Zazu’s in this movie for all of 56 seconds.) They’re scared to death of what Simba might do to them if they let anything bad happen to Kiara, and I can’t decide if that’s pathetic or depressing.

They are fine in this movie – their shtick really hasn’t changed at all – but it’s just kinda weird how their role in Simba’s life has changed so much.

We get more insight into Kiara as she feels like literally no one listens to her. She feels like people just see her as just a princess when that’s only half of who she is. When Pumbaa asks who the other half is, she has no real answer. And well she shouldn’t at this point, because she’s still a little kid. Really the only thing she truly knows about herself is that she doesn’t want to be just a princess and she’s none too keen on being a queen because she feels like the position impedes on her freedom and happiness.

As Timon and Pumbaa argue like an old married couple, Kiara sneaks off to the Outlands. I don’t really understand why she does, though. It’s a bunch of dead trees, dirt and gross water. I get that Kiara’s probably a little intrigued because it’s a forbidden area, but it’s really quite boring compared to the vast beauty of the Pride Lands.

As Kiara explores the Outlands, she bumps into the lion cub, Kovu, who tries to intimidate her. However, Kiara kinda bounces back and forth to ‘evade’ him. Kovu doesn’t understand what’s she’s even doing, and Kiara tells him that her father warned her to never talk to an Outsider.

Kovu strikes back by asking if Kiara always does what her daddy says, which she vehemently denies, but Kovu doesn’t believe her. He brags that, as an Outsider, he doesn’t need anybody. He does everything on his own and takes care of himself, leaving Kiara in awe.

But enough of the meet cute – Alligator attack!

The duo are attacked by a slue of alligators, in a scene that might be reflective a little of the elephant graveyard scene in the first movie. I do like how it’s more about Kovu and Kiara working together to get out of this jam than it was when Simba was just protecting Nala. It’s a very well-done and exciting scene. I mean, any adult watching this would be able to deduce that these cubs won’t die. Not only are they cubs, they’re the main characters, but it still manages to be intense.

Back on safe ground, Kiara and Kovu more genuinely meet and bond.

And damn, Kiara’s laying it on thick.

Kiara: *eye flutter* *getting all up in his personal space* “I’m Kiara.”…..Kiara, aren’t you like the equivalent of a first grader? Maybe tone down the sultry voice.

Kiara tries to play Tag with Kovu, but realizes he’s probably never played in a normal non-violent capacity and then tries to play fight with him.

Because I guess their parents believe they’re fighting for real, they swoop in from the shadows roaring their furry faces off, which also reminds me of the elephant graveyard scene, but not so much because they don’t pretend like either of their growls/roars are coming from their parents.

Here’s where we get pretty much the only background exposition – Zira and her lioness posse were banished to the Outlands for reasons.

There.

Hope you’re satisfied.

Zira, I can completely understand. She’s bonkers, hates Simba and probably did something bad to earn being banished. I just find it hard to believe that Scar had this many lionesses who were so dedicated to his, let’s be honest, shitty leadership. I get that he has an allure to him, (I’m aware of the fanart….I wish I wasn’t.) but that idea is a bit more insulting. There are just too many of them to conveniently be missing from the first movie at once. Maybe Zira was the only one really enamored with him and she just managed to rally others into being brainwashed against Simba. I mean, she does seem pretty good at it.

This is also where we really see how deep and acidic this conflict is between the two factions. Even Nala is copping an attitude, and Timon and Pumbaa are sneering at and yelling at Zira to “get outta our Pride Lands.” For God’s sake, Simba even growls at Kovu when he learns that he was hand-picked by Scar to follow in his pawprints. Dude, he’s a little kid trembling in your shadow. Chill.

Simba reminds Zira of the penalty for re-entering the Pride Lands….which…is what? Death? Zira seems to imply it might be death considering she just hands Kovu over to him to seemingly kill. Simba tells her to take Kovu and get out because they’re done here, but in a menacing tone, while staring directly at Kiara, she says “Oh no Simba. We have barely begun.” In this one scene, she pretty much cements herself as being, by far, the best Disquel villain. Granted, it’s not like there’s much competition, but still.

In this one encounter, she sarcastically taunts Simba, plays the victim, tries to sacrifice her son while also challenging Simba at the same time and then threatens the princess. And, by the way, her voice acting is deliciously marvelous. It’s just mwah. She does act a tad like Scar, especially in the theatrics, but she’s certainly enough of her own character to differentiate herself from him.

Each side grabs their respective cub and walks off, with Kiara and Kovu giving each other a meek ‘bye.’ before losing sight of each other. Aw.

Simba breaks away from the group, him and Nala exchanging knowing glances, and Simba starts to lecture Kiara. He asserts that he simply doesn’t want to lose her and reminds her that he won’t always be around to protect her. He tries to also remind her that she’ll be queen one day, but she bursts out that she doesn’t want to be queen because it’s no fun.

Simba says it’s simply in her blood, as he is, they are all part of each other in the great circle of life. Kiara still isn’t buying it, but Simba playfully pushes her off the rock she’s sitting on and he gives that old trademark Simba smile. It’s nice to get those brief glimpses into young Simba every now and then.

They cuddle, and in starts song number one – ‘We Are One.’ You can find a full analysis on my views on this song in part one.

The basic gist is that Simba convinces Kiara that being responsible, being queen and accepting her place in the circle of life is just the way things are. It’s in her blood. She’s not old enough to understand yet, but one day she will be. Kiara solemnly accepts this for now.

Back in the Outlands, we see how desolate their land really is. Lions are pawing at bones, fighting over sticks and, if what I make out in the far back is right, eating termites and ants. We meet Vitani, Kovu’s sister, and Nuka, their older brother. Vitani is a smart and responsible girl, loyal follower of her mother, and Nuka is a bit of a bubblehead, but he’s mostly geared towards jealousy of Kovu for him being Scar’s heir instead of him. He desperately wants his mother’s attention above all else, but is usually overlooked.

Zira chews Nuka out for not watching Kovu, but Kovu defends him by saying it was his idea. Zira threatening reminds him that Simba is the enemy – the one who killed Scar, the one who banished them to the Outlands – and he should never associate with him or the Pride Landers. Kovu tries to explain himself by saying Kiara didn’t seem so bad, and he thought they might be friends. Zira scoffs at the idea until she starts believing he was cooking up an idea of getting close to Kiara so he could get close to Simba – be a bit of an insider agent and take them down. Zira praises her son for such a brilliant idea and marvels at how much he’s taking after Scar, much to Nuka’s disgust.

Zira takes Kovu back to their den to put him to bed, jazzed about the future opportunities this new plan presents to them. Kovu will kill Simba, avenge Scar, and reclaim the throne in Scar’s name. In comes the most awesome villain song of the Disquels (which isn’t saying much, honestly) and one of my favorite villain songs in general, ‘My Lullaby.’ The analysis of which you can find in part one, but damn, I love that song.

Cut to Rafiki, who acts as our time skip interlude. He makes drawings on the wall of Kiara and Kovu, explaining to Mufasa about his growing hopes for Kiara as future queen, but also his increasing concerns about Kovu growing into a threat under Zira’s guidance. Mufasa tells him through symbolism that he wants Kiara and Kovu to be together to unite the Pride Lands and the Outlands and end the tension between the two. Rafiki thinks he’s a crazy person, but after getting a gust of wind blown in his face, he relents and agrees with his plan.

So….from what I gather, Rafiki’s role in this movie is basically Friar Lawrence, only….he’s pretty much pointless. Rafiki’s only meant to speed along a process that is clearly already going to happen. The most he does is, later, when Kiara and Kovu are enjoying their time together and falling further in love, a slight rift in their relationship develops because of Kovu’s conflict with his secret duty, so he wraps them up in a happy peppy love song to make them love each other….more? Maybe to make Kovu more determined to stay with her and end the charade? I don’t dislike Rafiki here, he’s perfectly fine, I just don’t think they knew what to do with him that much.

In The Lion King, Rafiki acted as a guide for Simba to figure out who he truly was. He lead him to literally reflecting on himself and contacting the spirit of his father, which eventually prompted him to go back home and face his past and Scar. While it’s likely Simba probably would have gone home anyway, he was having an inner crisis about the situation and needed both the guidance of Rafiki and Mufasa to finally have the courage to go back. Also, Rafiki told Nala, Timon and Pumbaa that he went home, but that’s minor.

In TLK2, his role isn’t anywhere near that vital. Kovu and Kiara are already flirting with each other as cubs – they’re bound to fall in love as adults no matter the circumstances, which they did. It’s not like he did anything to streamline or allow their reunion. It’s not like he talked to Simba about giving Kovu a chance – he just sang a love-themed dance song. Again, I’m not saying I dislike his role here – he’s still a fun and unique character, especially when he was having his ‘conversation’ with Mufasa – but I wish he had been given more importance is all.

Time skip ahead a few years, and now Kovu and Kiara are adults. Kovu is sufficiently brainwashed by Zira. He’s set on his mission to trick Kiara, get close to her and subsequently get close to Simba so he can kill him.

Kiara, however, has become a beautiful young princess ready to go on her first solo hunt as a rite of passage, despite Simba’s reluctance. He promises to let her do it on her own, but sends Timon and Pumbaa out directly behind her anyway. Kiara is very excited to finally head out by herself, but finds that hunting is much harder than she anticipated. She keeps scaring away her prey by making noise. Already frustrated by fumbling her hunting mission so many times, she becomes enraged when she finds Timon and Pumbaa shadowing her under Simba’s orders, breaking his promise.

Gotta say, he was definitely starting to overstep his bounds here. If he wants to send babysitters after Kiara when she’s a little cub, fine. But sending them out when she’s performing a rite of passage as an adult is just insulting.

Kiara gets so angry that she runs off declaring that she’ll hunt on her own away from the Pride Lands. She runs off and manages to escape Timon and Pumbaa.

Meanwhile, a now-grown Vitani and Nuka head to the old hideout of Scar and the hyenas. The hyenas supposedly fled the area some time after Scar died for some reason. I would say maybe they were forced out, but they technically killed Scar and figured out he was a conniving asshole in the end, so I dunno where they went. They’re there to set some sticks on fire via the……*lip smack* I’m not exactly sure what’s happening here, to be honest. She sets some sticks on a hole in the ground, what looks like steam shoots out and then the sticks are ablaze.

I did learn of something called fumaroles, which are cracks or holes in the ground where shallow pockets of magma meet the groundwater and make steam and toxic gases, but that wouldn’t set the sticks on fire. Can someone more schooled on volcanoes/magma please explain how she just did that? Because I feel I’m might be missing something very basic.

It’s even weirder because, afterward, Nuka sticks his face over the top of the hole (scholar he is) and the steam shoots up, but his head isn’t set on fire (despite him yelling ‘AH, FIRE!!!’) it’s just kinda singed.

Anyway, they need the fire to start their plan to have Kovu infiltrate the Pride Lands and assassinate Simba. They set the land around her hunting area on fire to trap her in so they can send out Kovu to swoop in and save her.

Kiara does indeed get completely trapped by flames, in a pretty damn intense scene, but manages to give herself a somewhat safe spot for a minute by fleeing to the top of a tall rock. She ends up passing out anyway due to the heat and smoke. The last thing she sees is Kovu standing over her. He throws her on his back and rushes her out of the area. They accidentally tumble down a cliffside, so he then has to rescue her from drowning.

When he gets her to shore, she becomes upset because he brought her back to the Pride Lands. He’s understandably, confused as to why she’s pissed that he saved her life, but Kiara asserts that she didn’t need help – she had everything under control.

She tries to leave, but Kovu charmingly reminds her of who he is by referencing an exchange they had when they met. Kiara’s happy to see him, but it’s shortlived because Simba and Nala show up, and Simba’s none too happy. Kiara yells at him for breaking his promise, but he doesn’t care because he now feels fully justified in doing so since she nearly got killed. And he’s angry about it too like it’s her fault the fire started? He bans her from hunting forever because logic.

Rafiki shows up to tell Simba that Kovu saved Kiara’s life, even though, again, that’s information that didn’t need to given by Rafiki and would’ve been given by either Kovu or Kiara (or even Zazu – he was a witness) soon enough.

Kovu puts on his act and pretends that he’s a good lion who has left the Outsiders. He’s now a rogue who wishes to join the pride in Pride Rock, but Simba vehemently refuses. Kovu challenges that position because all he’s done, to Simba’s knowledge, is save Kiara’s life, but Simba seems to be persecuting him for a crime he didn’t commit.

Simba has to concede a bit here, because despite becoming a bit of an asshole in his older age he does still have some reasonableness in him, but it conflicts him greatly. He paces back and forth, frustrated that this is even an option being presented to him. However, with the words of Nala and even Zazu, reminding him that all debts must be repaid under royal decree – one his father created – Simba decides to allow Kovu to stay but basically on a probationary period. He’ll reserve actual judgment on whether he can stay after getting to know him more.

Zazu: “Hmph, riffraff.”…Erf….Okay, I can’t keep quiet about this anymore. I mentioned earlier the stuff about racism/classism that seems to be popping up throughout the movie, and it’s comments like these that really drive the point home.

Riffraff may seem like a silly insult in a modern vernacular, but he’s basically calling Kovu lower class trash right now. It’s uncomfortable how superior Zazu keeps acting to the Outsiders. Despite many characters in the Pride Lands having similar views, he’s the one who keeps being snide about it. You can maybe excuse it for the older lioness Outsiders since they may have done something to earn this ire, but this is Kovu – a young lion who has seemingly done absolutely nothing but exist and save the princess’s life.

It’s even more uncomfortable when you take into consideration that Simba and Zazu are basically falling into the typical stereotype of royalty – believing the lower class is literally below them even though it’s pretty much their fault that they’re in that position. Here, Simba literally is the direct reason why Kovu is ‘riffraff.’ He can’t control who his mother is, and he wasn’t a part of what she may have done.

And before anyone says it, yes, even here, Simba is kinda justified because Kovu IS planning something and he’s NOT on the up and up, but outside of him being born under unfortunate circumstances (Considering both Zira’s influence and being chosen by Scar.) Simba has no reason to be so vehemently against this. Simba’s making assumptions based on Kovu’s lineage and where he lives, and that’s not right. Everyone should be given a chance and judged on their individual character not on factors beyond their control.

Also,

I couldn’t not make that reference.

They all head back home, but Kovu is not allowed in the den – he has to sleep outside.

After everyone else heads in, Kiara goes to Kovu to thank him for saving her, but he scoffs at her skills as a hunter and tells her she’d never survive on her own. Kiara similarly scoffs and mockingly asks if he’d teach her, he mockingly says he would and then she seriously accepts his offer.

Later that night, Simba has a rather odd nightmare. Scenes like this usually feel like they’d otherwise be deleted, but they kept this one for some reason. Simba’s remembering his father’s death. Mufasa’s crying out for Simba as he’s latched onto the side of the cliff. Simba tries to reach him, but Scar grabs Simba’s paw and prevents him from saving Mufasa. Scar tells Simba to trust him. As Mufasa falls down to the stampede below, Simba glares up at Scar who suddenly turns into Kovu. Kovu throws Simba off the cliff, causing him to follow his father in death.

This is a really interesting nightmare because it does provide us with more insight into why Simba is so wary of trusting others. He trusted Scar, his own uncle, and look where that got him. It got his father killed and lead the Pride Lands into several years of suffering, nearly wiping them all out.

It doesn’t change the fact that Simba’s going a bit too far with it, but it does allow you to see his side a little better.

The dream is also prophetic because, yeah, Kovu is being sent there to get him to ‘trust (him)’ so he can betray Simba and kill him. Also, later, he will have a scar on his left eye.

However, he’s not seeing the flip side of the situation, which is the fact that the only way he defeated Scar and took his rightful place as king back was by trusting and working side by side with his family and friends. His traumas and fears are overshadowing that aspect. It makes his plight more understandable, but not fully.

He’s still placing a lot of misplaced fear and anger on someone for poor reasons. Even with the Scar stuff in play, Kovu was named his successor probably immediately after he was born. He hadn’t developed any sort of personality by that point, nor did he have any control over the situation.

This is one of those times where I kinda wish they had been able to work it so that Kovu was Scar’s son. Then Simba’s fears might be a little more founded. It’d still be kinda stupid, of course – people aren’t defined by their parents, especially if they didn’t raise them – but considering Simba takes such, forgive the pun, pride in being Mufasa’s son, it only makes sense that he’d have a great respect for bloodlines and believe that they do greatly influence someone as a person.

It would also make the conflict between the Outlands and the Pride Lands stronger too because they’d see Scar as being the true ruler of the Pride Lands, and Kovu, being his son, would be considered the true king now on a more legitimate level. Remember, Scar was technically royalty. He was still a prince – meaning Kovu would have had royal blood in him to strengthen this idea even further.

But I guess that’s just something to sit on anyway. Unless they removed the romance angle or became an anime, they’d never be able to work Kovu as Scar’s son.

The next morning, we get a really cool shot where a very gentle rendition of ‘We Are One’ starts playing as Simba stretches in the sunrise. There’s a part where Simba shakes off and it’s accompanied by a cymbal swell, and I just thought that was a cool detail.

Another cool detail was how the music changes to menacing in tone when Kovu is spotted prepping to ambush Simba while Simba goes to the watering hole for a drink. Not sure why he’s choosing now to attack. His guard is still very much up. He hasn’t really gotten that close to Kiara yet. He’d be way better off playing the long game. If the plan was just to wait in the shadows and attack when he was taking a drink, they’d just sneak around and do that. There’s no point using Kovu to get close to Kiara.

Anyway, Kiara pops up from nowhere and greets Kovu for her hunting lesson.

Cut to Kovu playing the prey while Kiara tries to sneak attack him, but fails miserably because she’s making a variety of noises the entire time. It’s weird how the sequence immediately preceding this scene is one where she sneaks up on Kovu flawlessly, especially when he was prepping for an attack.

Kovu tells her that she’s breathing too hard and needs to relax so she can more accurately become in tune with her environment and reduce noise as much as possible. To demonstrate what he means, Kovu decides to attack something hidden nearby, but it’s a panicked Timon begging for his life.

Timon explains that he and Pumbaa are trying to enjoy a treasure trove of bugs, but they’re being gobbled up by a flock of birds who won’t go away no matter how much they try to scare them.

Pumbaa wonders if Kovu could help them out (and Timon takes the credit for the idea because he’s a jackass) and he and Kiara start roaring to get all the birds out.

They all start running around roaring and having fun, which baffles Kovu because he still doesn’t understand playing or fun, which is even sadder than it was before. This poor kid has been robbed of a childhood.

They’re stopped dead in their tracks when they come upon a herd of rhinos who are buddies with the birds. They’re none too happy that their bird friends have been harassed, so they chase the group in retaliation.

They manage to hide in a very small cave, still yuckin’ it up and having a great time. Timon even ruffles Kovu’s hair and gives him his seal of approval, which was nice of him. When Timon and Pumbaa pluck themselves out of the hiding space, Kiara and Kovu accidentally smooch. OooooOOOOOoooohhhhh!

Later that night, Kovu and Kiara go stargazing and pick out some clouds that look like various shapes, but Kovu can’t help himself but see scenes of violence in some of them.

Kovu admits that he’s never stargazed before, which surprises Kiara since she and Simba used to do it often. He took that opportunity to explain how the great kings of the past are among the stars. Kovu wonders if Scar is up there, which obviously makes things a little awkward.

He solemnly tells Kiara that, despite Scar not being his father, he was still a part of him….I still don’t quite get that, though. Did he actually know Scar? Like…did he ever meet him? How can someone who is not related to you be a part of you if you never knew them? Scar simply pointing his paw at Zira’s new baby and saying ‘He’s my heir’ doesn’t automatically make someone connected to someone else.

Maybe he feels like Scar was a part of him because he was constantly told stories about him and everyone kept hailing him as Scar’s successor? I guess, under those circumstances, you probably couldn’t help but develop a weird sense of attachment to someone that way.

Kiara tells Kovu that her father once said that Scar had a darkness in him that he couldn’t escape. Mmm……I mean, I guess. If you take the books as being canon again, then Scar has been a little asshole since day one. He became endlessly upset once Mufasa was named primary heir to the throne when they were (the equivalent to) teenage lions. He tried to have Mufasa killed shortly after he was named future king, so he’s been a psychopath for a long time. Add to that years of stewing in jealousy and then Simba taking his place as next in line for the throne again and you have a pot full of evil stew. He’s pretty much just straight-up evil. He never tried to be good legitimately, as far as I know.

Fun fact: In the books, Scar’s original name was Taka, which has two meanings in Swahili – Waste and want. Both of these definitions fit Scar to a tee because he is fueled by jealousy (Wanting something he can’t have) and his life was basically a waste because he had such great knowledge and sophistication that he could have made him a great and lasting ally on the side of good, but he wasted it all to be evil and that lead to his death.

Apparently, The Lion Guard gave him an entirely new backstory to actually establish a canon backstory for him, but I prefer Taka being his original name than Askari. That name doesn’t fit him at all. Granted, if you look at it from a larger perspective, Mufasa and Scar’s parents come off as assholes if they give one son a name that means ‘king’ and the other a name that means ‘waste’ and ‘want.’ Askari, for the record, can mean ‘police’ ‘soldier’ and ‘guard’ and it was derived from their ancestor, who was a great king of the Pride Lands. Scar himself would later become leader of the lion guard, but I’m getting way off-topic, and The Lion Guard is a review for another day, so let’s move on.

Kovu wonders if there’s a darkness in him too, and Kiara cuddles with him to comfort him. Awww.

Anyway, Simba’s watching this from afar….….creepy. He’s talking to the spirit of Mufasa (not literally) about his conflict in accepting Kovu since he’s an Outsider and Scar’s heir.

In comes Nala with her longest scene clocking in at thirty seconds. I wish I was kidding. I know there’s just not a lot for Nala to do, but it’s disappointing that such a beloved character is given such short bursts of screentime.

Nala tries to explain to Simba that he’s so preoccupied trying to uphold his father’s legacy and do what’s expected of him that it’s clouding his judgment on Kovu, who might not want to walk the path set before him. The only way he’ll find the answer is by getting to know Kovu.

Cut back to Kovu and Kiara, and Kovu starts pulling away from Kiara because he feels guilty. He’s just about to tell Kiara about the plan to assassinate Simba, but decides not to and starts walking away. Rafiki busts in to stop him from leaving and leads them to Upendi. I guess I’ll give Rafiki some credit here because Kovu was starting to leave for…somewhere. Either he was about to just leave for the den, which leaves things open for their relationship to start back up again, he was about to bail on the mission and head back home or he was about to bail on the mission and run away somewhere. I always believed the first option, which makes the most sense. Still, there was no indication that their budding romance would end here if it wasn’t for Rafiki interfering.

Rafiki leads them to ‘Upendi’ which is basically a weird Tunnel of Love ride. Rafiki’s using a musical number to lock in their love, (Upendi means love) and because this is a musical, it works very well. (See part one for more information on my views of the song itself.)

After all the fun and luvey-duvey-wuvey-ness (Though….what time is it? Because it looks like the sun is about to rise and they were stargazing before the song, yet they’re going to bed?), they happily head back to the den. Simba decides to finally let Kovu inside the den to sleep, but as they’re walking in we see Vitani watching them. Vitani is silently urging Kovu to attack Simba now that he’s in with Kiara and Simba has his back turned to him. However, Kovu is too enamored with this new life he’s making in the Pride Lands that he doesn’t even think to do it. Frustrated, Vitani goes off immediately to report to Zira, who is not happy to say the least.

Zira realizes that Kovu has been swayed by Simba and Kiara and that he’s likely not going to go through with the plan. However, Zira is not going to allow Kovu to betray them nor is she going to let her plan fail because of him. She has a plan B….

The next morning, Kovu starts panicking because he realizes that he absolutely needs to tell Kiara about the plot now both because he probably realizes he can’t meander around for too long without something happening and because he feels he can’t keep lying to her and have a relationship with her. He practices to himself about what he’d say to her, but doesn’t have a lot of faith that it will work. Either way, he goes off to try.

Kovu: “Kiara, I need to talk to you!”

Simba: “Kiara, I don’t want you talking with him!…..I want to talk with him.”

Simba…it’s great that you’re warming up to the lad, but uh….kinda rude there. I know we couldn’t have Kovu actually confess and reveal the plot right now, it’d mess the rest of the story up, but really Simba? You can’t wait five minutes before you go off and have your little bonding moment?

Kiara is tickled pink that her father is warming up to Kovu. And aw, Simba’s little wink to her as they walk off. He is so adorkable sometimes.

As Simba and Kovu walk together through the ashes of the fire that occurred a few days prior, Simba relays the real story of Scar to Kovu, who is shocked. He now sees what a terrible person Scar really was.

Kovu: “He really was a killer.”

Simba: “….Fire is a killer. Sometimes, what’s left behind can grow better than the generation before…..if given the chance.”

I always really liked this exchange. Fire causes a lot of death and destruction. Simba knows this all too well because of the fire that raged in Pride Rock when he returned and fought Scar. And the fire started the instant Scar reached a crescendo in his intimidation of Simba, nearly causing his death. Also, the attack that resulted in Simba kicking him off the cliff and into the area where the hyenas were started by Scar jumping through the flames in an almost demonic manner. Once Scar died, the fire was nearly instantaneously put out, and everything was able to slowly regrow back into the lush and beautiful landscape that the Pride Lands originally were.

Zira (though technically Vitani and Nuka) used fire and burned all of this land just to start up a plot to kill Simba. However, Simba reveals a little seedling under the ash when he says the second part of the line, indicating that no matter how bad things look, the ones left behind can still flourish and make something beautiful again.

He’s obviously talking about giving Kovu a chance here, but I think he may also be foreshadowing the resolution later on. Remember, Simba is technically the generation after Scar. He’s been working very hard to ensure that everything’s ‘better’ than it was before, but he’s also been too blinded by fear and anger to be able to work anything out with any of the Outsiders. Zira may be a lost cause, but who’s to say anyone else there is – especially the children? And now, as we’ll see later, the next generation, Kiara and Kovu’s, help Simba’s generation see the light and eventually break down those barriers.

….I mean….the way they do it is silly, but…we’ll get to that later.

Ya know, I never really thought about it, but Kovu never had a father figure. With him, you’re so preoccupied with his connection to Scar that you never take the fact that he didn’t have a father at all into consideration. And with Zira’s nature, it’s understandable that he’s never had an actual heart to heart with a parental figure like this. It’s sweet….but bound to be ruined when the shit hits the fan.

Speaking of which….

Zira and the other Outsiders emerge from the haze. Gotta say, they made them look insanely intimidating during this sequence. Maybe a bit too much like zombies, but holy crap.

Zira congratulates Kovu on a job well done, which is such a terrible thing to do to him. In most other situations like this, Zira probably would have just done the predictable thing and called Kovu out for being a traitor while deciding to take matters into her own hands, but oh no. She decides to play pretend and act like Kovu was part of this ambush, deceiving Simba this whole time so she could simultaneously corner Simba, kill him and effectively squash any chance Kovu has of finding acceptance and happiness in the Pride Lands if Simba does get away. All to punish Kovu for balking on them. What an evil woman.

Zira commands the lionesses (And Nuka) to attack Simba. Kovu tries to get them off of Simba, but he’s flung into a rock and knocked out. Simba manages to knock the lionesses off, but he falls down a cliffside. He continues running, but he’s lead to a massive dam made of logs. He scrambles up the dam, with a now less unconscious Kovu watching from the top of the cliff. He immediately scurries down to help.

Nuka rushes in to kill Simba instead, taking his opportunity to impress his mother and have his moment of glory. He does nearly manage to pull Simba down, but he falls and is crushed by falling logs when Simba gets back on solid ground.

Yup, they killed Nuka. Crushed to death, which one of the worst ways they’ve had someone killed in Disney features. He didn’t even die immediately. Kovu rushes down to try and dig him out, but is swatted away by Zira who furiously digs to him. She’s devastated when she finds him near death. He weakly tells her,

Nuka: “I’m sorry, mother….I tried.”

In a deleted part of this scene, his final words were originally “Well…I finally got your attention didn’t I?” I like the changed version better because the original line makes it seem like Nuka’s kinda putting Zira on a guilt trip.

This scene, despite Nuka being a jackass, stayed with me through the years because it is such a dramatic and emotionally impacting scene. Zira, who has been nothing but an evil bitch and has never shown Nuka any caring, is visibly devastated by this. She rushes in to dig him out, not even caring at all that Simba got away, is shocked to find the state Nuka’s in, her voice cracks while trying to talk to him, and she even cradles his head and comforts him as he finally passes.

For a handful of seconds, you find yourself really sympathizing with both Nuka and Zira, which is something you never really got to do with Scar.

And let me point out that Nuka’s death is not quick, and it’s pretty morbid when you really pay attention. Not only did he not die immediately, which is what usually happens in Disney movies, but he was so badly pinned by the logs that they couldn’t extract his body and give him a proper funeral (however that’s done in the TLK world. They had a memorial service for Mufasa and Simba, but we never see if they did anything with Mufasa’s body.) They just had to have a short memorial service right there at the dam. Geez.

As much as I don’t care for Andy Dick, he also did a really good job acting during this scene too. He really sold it.

Back in the Pride Lands, Simba hobbles home. Zazu rushes to get help, and Simba is only able to convey that Kovu was part of an ambush on him before he passes out. Timon and Pumbaa help him back home, and as much shit as I give Timon it is very adorable that he carries Simba’s tail on the way back. However, Kiara is in shock and disbelief that Kovu would be a part of an attack on her father.

Meanwhile, back at Nuka’s funeral, Zira blames the entire fiasco on Kovu because, had he just killed Simba when he had the chance, none of this would have happened. She viciously slaps him in the face, leaving a very familiar scar across his left eye. Dun dun dunnnnnn…..however, even as a kid, I realized how bunk this was. Either she grazed him just enough to skim his fur off but not leave a wound or he has a permanent scar from a wound that didn’t bleed. In the closeup, you can see an indent in his skin, so I’m forced to believe the latter.

Again, questionable canonicity, but Scar and Kovu basically got their scars for the same reason, just on a flipside in regards to intent. Taka was scarred by a bison whom he had tried to trick into killing Mufasa, but his plan backfired on him. Kovu was scarred by Zira because she felt he had betrayed them, resulting in Nuka’s death. See? They both got scarred for ‘betraying’ their families/brothers.

….I know I probably look too much into some of this stuff, but I find it interesting.

Zira and Kovu get into a big argument about him betraying their pride and Scar, but he finally stands up to her. Zira will have none of it, though, and directly blames Kovu for Nuka’s death, even straight out saying “You’ve killed your own brother!” Damn.

Kovu runs off, but Zira refuses to pursue him. Instead, she rallies the Outsiders for one final attack now that Simba’s too weak to fend them off.

Back in Pride Rock, Kovu shocks everyone by showing up after he was seemingly a part of the attack on Simba. Everyone’s whispering about him, even pointing out the scar on his face.

Also, apparently Simba’s better now. He went from being half unconscious on the ground to acting perfectly fine when talking to Kovu. He never had so much as a visible scratch on him, but if you’re going to make the play that he’s now so wounded and weak that he’s prime for the assassinatin’ then at least…do…something with him. Dirty him up, scruff up his fur, weaken his voice, have him supported by Nala or something as he tries to maintain his balance. You’d never know he was just in a battle with dozens of lionesses and nearly died.

Kovu asserts that he had nothing to do with the attack and begs for forgiveness. Kiara pleads with her father, but he’s had enough. He doesn’t believe a word of what Kovu is saying and officially exiles him from the Pride Lands.

In comes ‘One of Us’ (See part one for my full analysis on this song.) Dammmnnnnn I love this song so much, it’s not funny. Admittedly, I might be overly attached to it because it was also put in a lot of Zuko fanvids back in the day, but it’s just such an awesome song.

The song shows all of the animals in the Pride Lands shunning Kovu as he hastily makes his way out after being exiled. It’s a very powerful and sad song because we know Kovu is innocent, but here he is being punished for a crime he didn’t commit…again. However, I can’t really blame Simba too much this time.

Sure, he can explain this away. Afterall, Kovu introduced himself as a rogue so it’s plausible that Zira would screw him over as revenge for turning his back on the Outsiders, but, all things considered, and given how much it took for Simba to even give him a chance, it’s understandable that Simba wouldn’t listen to him and choose to exile him.

In a cool shot, they throwback to the original movie and show Kovu looking into his reflection in the water and it turns to an image of Scar (which I guess means he must have met him before, so that doesn’t make things any less confusing.) In The Lion King, Rafiki showed Simba that Mufasa’s spirit lived in him by showing him his reflection in the water and it turning to an image of Mufasa. So here, Kovu sees Scar, but instead of being comforted and empowered like Simba was, Kovu is frightened of ‘his fate’ as Scar’s heir.

Kiara is fully pissed, though. She believes Simba should have at least heard Kovu out, but Simba’s just done. He even tells Kiara that she’s not to go anywhere without an escort from now on, which, again, while being a little understandable (he’s probably worried she might be the next target) she didn’t do anything and shouldn’t be punished for no reason. However, he makes it even worse by telling her she won’t leave Pride Rock period so he can keep an eye on her, which is way too far.

Simba: “I know he’s following in Scar’s pawprints….and I must follow in my father’s.”

Kiara: “You will never be Mufasa!”

Oh shit! Like, really, Kiara. Damn. Twist that knife, why don’t ya?

Although, points off because Kiara never knew Mufasa, so she doesn’t really have any ammo to shoot off that hot take.

Also, he kinda is like Mufasa in a lot of ways, both good and bad. It’s heavily implied that Mufasa exiled the hyenas (because they were too destructive) to a place where they had little food and water too. I think Mufasa had more diplomacy and a more even head about things, though. Those things come with experience and time.

Also also, fun fact, the hyenas were originally meant to be under Zira’s command in this movie instead of a bunch of other lionesses, but the lionesses make more sense. There’s no reason why the hyenas would be helping a bunch of Scar groupies. Remember, Scar betrayed the hyenas. Oh and there’s that little thing about them eating Scar alive in vengeance of him screwing them over.

The lionesses are a great deal more threatening, considering they seem more like true threats and soldiers than minions with teeth, but it’s just kinda hard to swallow that there were this many Scar fangirls out there, considering how shitty things were when he was king.

Moving on, Kiara escapes the den out of the back and goes off to find Kovu to no avail. She sees her reflection in the water and is shocked to see half of her reflection isn’t appearing. Which must mean she’s half vampire.

Sorry, I meant to say she’s missing her other half IE Kovu. Now, I do like this imagery and it does tie in well to the ‘We Are One’ theme the movie has going through it. And I am a bit of a schmuck when it comes to the idea of soulmates, but I am fully aware of how iffy the concept is, especially when it comes to imagery like this. Kiara is literally not a whole person unless she’s with Kovu now? That does sound romantic, but Kiara has enough issues as a character without implying that she’s less of a person without Kovu.

It is pretty cool that she’s revisiting previous locations from early on in the movie, though. The first place she visits is the rock that she was sitting on when she was a cub staring in awe at the Outlands. Also, it’s the place she nearly drowned in, but it barely covers her paws now. Next, she goes to the little cramped cave where she and Kovu first kissed, but doesn’t find him.

That night, we get our next song, ‘Love Will Find a Way.’ Kiara’s wandering around sullen looking for Kovu and, as movies typically do with heartbroken characters, she keeps stumbling upon a bunch of happy animal couples.

Now, as much as I do love this song (see part one for a full analysis);

Kiara: “I may not be brave or strong or smart….” I really hate that line so much. Stop highlighting how problematic her character is, and stop acting like the only thing she has going for her is Kovu’s love and her love of him.

More revisiting when Kiara spots the clouds that look like the shapes she and Kovu saw together. She also seems to think Kovu’s small enough to be the cause of the rustling in a tiny bush when it was really a frog. Yup, you may not be smart indeed, Kiara.

She finds herself in the burned out area of the Pride Lands (or maybe it’s more in a border area) and, when I first watched this, I was so confused on where she actually was because the colors and everything make this place look like it’s white sand dunes. The only indication that this is the same burned area is that there is one burned tree to her left.

Kovu appears behind her and they happily reunite, the song ending with Kovu also revisiting an earlier scene by pushing away some of the ash and showing a seedling, showing that he and Kiara have indeed grown better than the generation before.

They play around for a while, chasing a pair of butterflies, (Kovu’s actually the one who instigates the playing here, showing that sweet character development.) This is another sendup to earlier where cub!Kiara was chasing a butterfly, which is extremely cute. They eventually nuzzle near some water and find that their reflections merge together. Kovu points out that they are one, which gives Kiara a bit of an epiphany.

Kovu suggests running away together and…well;

Kovu: “And we can start a pride all our own.” You’re both really horny lions, ya know that?

I’m not looking too deeply into that line either. He’s got his ass up and waving it back and forth while saying that line in a sultry fashion.

Kiara, however, surprisingly, doesn’t want to run away. She knows they have a duty to end the strife between the Pride Lands and the Outlands because they’re their respective families and they can’t turn their back on their people. Kovu’s reluctant, but agrees with her.

Meanwhile, back in the rainy Pride Lands, buckle up buttercup because Zira’s had enough of plots and conspiring – she wants royal blood and she wants it now. It’s time for all-out war. You really gotta give her more credit as a villain here. She’s not cornered, she doesn’t have no other choice but to attack this way like many other villains of her caliber – she is just so pissed at Simba and the Pride Landers in general that she’s saying ‘screw it’ and calling for war in order to finally kill him.

This is also another reason why having Zira leading a bunch of lionesses is better than the hyenas because, again, we already know the lionesses of Pride Rock can beat them in a mass war with little issue. An army of well-trained lionesses is a much better match (Zira even mentioned earlier that they all have specific battle training.)

They do something kinda clever so you can tell the Pride Land lionesses from the Outlanders as they’re fighting. The Outlander lionesses wade through mud on the way over, so they’re covered in mud from the neck down.

It’s very foreboding that they show all of the animals fleeing the area in terror before the war even starts, but the only animals that remain are a bunch of vultures flying overhead – indicating death.

But of course Timon and Pumbaa ruin it a little by waving their asses at them and going ‘Na nana nana naaaaa!’

Zira: “It’s over Simba! I have dreamed of nothing else for years!”

Timon: “Boy, does she need a hobby.” *snort* Alright, that one was kinda funny.

Simba: “Last chance, Zira. Go home.”

Zira: “I am home!”

Love that line. Throwing his words right back in this face while also making it into a threat.

Zira: “Go for the eyes! Break his jaw! Hit him low! Get them! Do what you must!” Goddamn, Zira is vicious.

Actually, this whole battle is shockingly vicious for a Disney movie. They’re really not holding back here. It’s very intense. I mean, obviously, there’s no blood, but it’s about as violent as they’ve gotten.

Timon and Pumbaa flee the battle after one of the lionesses roars at them. When they’re cornered, we get a veiled fart joke because Timon pretends to use Pumbaa’s tail as a gun, implying he’ll make him fart at the lionesses if they come any further. It does work, and makes them run away in terror. I think this is just far enough for me to not be annoyed at another fart joke considering they didn’t actually make him fart. This entire battle would have been marred if they made him actually fart as a weapon.

Kiara and Kovu are rushing to the battleground. They run over the dam, which is currently starting to break apart due to the rain.

Simba’s being overrun, so Zira decides its her time to get in the ring. The instant she takes a swing at Simba, every other lion stops what they’re doing to watch this go down. They circle each other for a bit and are about to formally start the one-on-one when Kiara and Kovu interrupt.

And here’s where I have to basically halt the whole movie for a bit because I have a lot to say about the resolution to this battle.

Kiara tells Simba that they have to stop, and then we get this exchange.

Kiara: “A wise king once told me, “We are one.” I didn’t understand him then…Now I do.”

Simba: “But…they–”

Kiara: “Them? Us! Look at them. They ARE us. What differences do you see?”

First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Sassy McSmartass here to tell you that there are actually visible differences between lionesses of the Pride Lands and those of the Outlands. The Pride Land lionesses are, for lack of a better term, fuller, have more rounded edges to them and have a slightly lighter/brighter color palette. The Outlanders have more washed out/grayish-tan colorings, darker circles around the eyes, are skinnier and have more jagged edges to them. They also typically look scruffier.

The differences in the male lions are way more obvious – Orange vs. Black manes, gold vs. brown fur. Scar, Kovu and Nuka are said to be based on the now extinct Barbary lions, which had black hair and were notoriously more violent than their cousins due to their higher levels of testosterone. (Barbary lions are from a lion subspecies called P.I. Leo or Panthera Leo Leo, whereas the main branch is Panthera Leo.)

Second of all, if this movie really is trying for some undertones of a message against racism/classism then…this isn’t really a good way to get that across. I get that this is technically saying that we’re all humans…or…I guess in this case, lions, but if you take her words at face value, it’s almost like she’s saying because they look similar that they’re the same, which is uh…kinda tone deaf.

Looking the same shouldn’t be a factor at all. That’s kinda the opposite of what you should be going for here.

Maybe, instead, Kiara could have said something akin to them all being lions and being equal, but then you kinda have to factor in the idea that…yeah, all LIONS are equal. But all of the power in the Pride Lands is explicitly on the lions’ shoulders. They’re the royalty of the Savannah. No other animal has any sort of power besides what is allotted by the food chain.

….And, ya know what, just to cover all of my bases, let’s talk about a sexism angle too. Because the Pride Lands very obviously work king by king. There needs to be a king to lead, even if there’s a queen. Mufasa ruled with Sarabi, but what did Sarabi get to do? Mufasa died, and Simba left, but Sarabi didn’t rule – Scar did. And when she was with Scar, she got smacked around and treated like a servant. Simba’s ruling with Nala, but what does she do?

Kiara is the first ever, as far as I can see, Pride Land princess who will become queen, but since she’s with Kovu and he’ll be king, does that mean her power won’t mean as much?

Now you may be saying “Twix, you’ve been reading a lot into stuff throughout this review, but don’t you think you’re going a bit overboard here?”

And to that I say “Yes, yes….yes, very much.” Thing is, the stuff that they’re seemingly talking about in regards to any -ism is something I feel I have to address because it’s very clear they’re trying to say something. If you don’t look into this at all, it’s a fine message about everyone being ‘one’ we’re all the same, we’re all equal, stop being idiots and fighting for no reason. Understand each other. Get along. Your differences are just surface level and are never the deciding factor in you as people. Unite, don’t separate. And that’s a very good message, but the way they dealt with this down to the details is just….sloppy. Like all of this -ismness was residual from a scrapped script, but they still kept it slightly because they liked the message.

In regards to any -ism they’re addressing, it’s, at best, confusing and, at worst, tone deaf and overly simplistic if you follow along with every step of the story.

Which brings me to my final point about this.

Kiara….that’s not what’s happening here.

Now’s an apt time to remind everyone that this movie is heavily based on Romeo and Juliet. But, before I go on, I am…..How should I put this?….Uhmm…

I’m an uncultured twit.

I barely know anything about Shakespearean works besides 1) What I’ve seen out and about in TV and movies, and 2) What I research when I need to do so – such as with this blog post specifically. So, if I miss something in the themes and meanings of Romeo and Juliet, feel free to correct my uncultured ass.

Anyhoo, in Romeo and Juliet, the audience is purposely left in the dark as to what caused the rift between the Montagues and the Capulets. The audience can’t analyze their feud or take sides because they don’t know the circumstances of it. It’s kinda implied that they themselves don’t remember what caused it. All they know is that they hate each other and that’s just the way it is. Kinda sheds a light on how stupid their feud really is and how tragic Romeo and Juliet’s situation was.

However, as I mentioned, this movie does not follow Romeo and Juliet all that closely – and one of those changed aspects is in the fact that the families have a clear reason for their rift.

I mentioned how we don’t know exactly what went down between TLK1 and 2 to lead to Zira and her compatriots being banished to the Outlands, but we can deduce at least what must’ve happened if you believe Simba is at least partially reasonable and not a dick who just jumped off Pride Rock immediately after his roar to tell Zira, her cubs and her friends to get the hell out of dodge just for having I ❤ Scar t-shirts on.

Even if the Kopa theory isn’t valid, and it probably isn’t, especially not in a post-Lion Guard world, I can bet anything that Zira either attempted to assassinate Simba/Nala or conspired to do so, with the help of her friends, earning them all a banishment. This is a woman so desperate to kill Simba that she groomed her son from cub to adult specifically for the purpose of killing Simba. There’s no way she doesn’t have a track record of attempting to or conspiring to kill Simba.

And after they were banished, the hatred of the Outsiders only got worse and worse, considering the bad conditions of their land. I wouldn’t be surprised if more assassination attempts were made in the meantime too.

But let’s just say I’m wrong about all that. They were just banished because Simba’s unreasonable or at least overreacted to a group of bitches who wished he was dead but didn’t do anything about it.

They now HAVE attempted to murder the king – and nearly succeeded! And they technically nearly got Kiara killed in that fire, too – not to mention all the lands that were destroyed and animals that were killed in that blaze, probably. Meanwhile, all Simba and the Pride Landers have done is ‘welcome’ Kovu to live with them and tell the clearly dangerous Outsiders to stay the hell out.

Is war the answer to anything? Of course not. But if someone’s attacking you, you have every right to defend yourself, especially if you’re the first line of defense for a land filled with other creatures who rely on you for protection.

Imagine if someone was attacking you with a knife and you fought back and someone got between the two of you and scolded YOU for fighting.

Now onto the second half of the resolution.

Zira: “Vitani, NOW!”

Vitani: “No, mother….Kiara’s right. Enough.” She doesn’t even know Kiara. She’s never exchanged dialogue with her. And the last time she talked about her was during the battle in which she told Nala in a very mocking tone;

Vitani: “Where’s your pretty daughter, Nala?”

Why is Vitani, Zira’s right-hand lioness and daughter, so easily swayed by this? I mean, maybe the stuff about Scar can easily be assuaged, she may or may not barely remember him, but she also blames them for Nuka’s death. Maybe a little line like “Nuka would still be alive if it weren’t for our hatred and vengeance.” would’ve helped a little here, delivered by either Kovu or Vitani.

Anyway, Kovu’s standing his ground against Zira, and now Vitani is standing up to her too, so Zira proclaims that they’re both going to die for it. She commands the other lionesses to attack, but they join the Pride Landers and refuse to fight too. I understand this one a little better because the other lionesses don’t decide to leave until they hear Zira telling her own children that she’ll kill them to achieve her ends, which is way more swaying. I, too, prefer to side with the people who don’t kill their children.

Simba tells Zira to stand down and let it go, but she refuses. Now completely alone, she decides to go ham and attack Simba herself. Kiara, however, intercepts the attack and they end up tumbling down the cliffside together. The dam upriver bursts, filling the canyon below with rushing waters filled with karma.

Kiara manages to get her footing, but Zira is hanging on for dear life. To her credit, Kiara tries to help her, even after Zira tries to claw at her paw, but Zira’s too stubborn to accept help, so she falls into the river and drowns. It’s rather poignant too, if you think about it. I mean, Nuka’s body has to be in that water now….

Kiara: “Daddy….I tried.” There’s something about this line that makes me think it’s meant to be a throwback to Nuka’s death, but for the life of me I can’t see the significance besides similar wording.

After Zira’s death, Simba admits he was wrong and welcomes Kovu as well as all of the Outland lionesses back to the pride.

Later, we get a Lion King wedding as Kovu and Kiara are wed on Pride Rock, surrounded by a bunch of the lionesses. Also, it’s insanely hard to tell if Vitani’s here. I THINK she’s the one sitting next to Kiara, but I can’t see her hair tuft, so it’s hard to tell. I can’t imagine she wouldn’t attend her brother’s wedding, but I honestly can’t discern her from the others.

After some cute as hell cuddles, they ascend Pride Rock and roar in celebration while all the animals down below cheer.

Mufasa’s spirit tells Simba “Well done, my son.” No pat on the back for Kiara, too? Or Kovu? They’re kinda the reason this all happened. Oh you’re not gonna say anything else? Could only get James Earl Jones in the studio for two lines? Okay.

With Mufasa’s spirit proclaiming “We are one.” the movie ends.

——————————–

And that was The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride, the last Disquel to review for this series, what I truly believe to be the best Disquel and one of my favorite movies.

I’m not going to lie and say the movie doesn’t have its faults. I’ve written way too much about it to not go over as many as I thought were worth discussing, obviously, to say it doesn’t. Even when I was a kid I was bothered by the weird consistency issues between the two movies, which is quite a bit of the reason why this review so far has been insanely long. When you’ve watched a movie as many times as I have, and it means as much to you as this one does to me and you overthink things to a concerning level like I do, it’s hard not to get it all out when you finally have the chance.

However, I do think this movie has plenty of quality to weather its faults without affecting the outcome that much. I still enjoy this movie as much now as I did when I was a kid, and I think it’s a very deserving sequel to the original Lion King. I just wish more of the interim between movies had been fleshed out and Kiara were a more interesting character. Everything else is more or less awesome, particularly the plot with Kovu and Zira as a villain.

I keep imagining how incredible this movie might have been if they aimed for a theatrical release. Slightly longer runtime, even better animation, more elbow room for everything – It could have been even better. But I thank my lucky stars that The Lion King was one of the first to get the Disquel treatment because GEEEEEZZZ it’s mostly downhill from here. It’s amazing how we went from this to stuff like Hunchback 2, Fox and the Hound 2 and Mulan 2….

The voice acting is top notch, even if Neve Campbell as Kiara was kinda weak. Like I mentioned, I adored the performance of the late Suzanne Pleshette as Zira. She absolutely killed it. I also think Jason Marsden did a great job as Kovu. They also managed to get everyone else back from the original movie, barring two people.

Scar’s brief cameo was covered by Jim Cummings, who voiced him briefly in ‘Be Prepared’ in the original movie (he does a damn good job emulating Jeremy Irons) and Sarabi didn’t return at all because her voice actress, Madge Sinclair, died in 1995, just a year after the first Lion King movie. There is speculation that she is there in dialogue-free shots in the background, especially when Kiara goes on her first hunt, but I think that’s a stretch. I feel more comfortable saying Sarabi passed away with Madge.

The music is hands down the best you’ll find in the Disquels. People still reference and play several of the songs to this day.

The animation, while not being nearly to the original’s standards, is still extremely good for direct-to-VHS. It definitely could have gotten a theatrical release with no problem. Really, the only art and animation issues are when the characters are seen from far away, because they lose many features and become blobby. No real issues beyond that, though.

I highly recommend anyone see this movie. Even if you’re not a big Lion King fan, it’s still a good movie with emotional moments, intense action, an awesome villain and a sweet romance.

As for Dissecting the Disquels, sunset may be here, but I still have a couple things left to do before we move on to the Disquel spin-off TV series and even, yes, we’re going there, the Disney live-action reboots (I’ve been reading/watching a lot about their latest victim, Mulan, recently…..Someone hold me….) so stay tuned!

Recommended Audience: Disney+ gives it a G, but there are some darker themes here like a lot of mentions of murder, two counts of accidental death, child abuse, violence. Maybe 6 or 7+?

UPDATE 9/29/20: So quick update on TLK, they literally just announced a day after I posted this that they’ll be making a sequel to the live-action Lion King movie……but it won’t be a live-action version of TLK2 – instead, it will focus on Mufasa’s origins and be a prequel, while also somehow expanding on the main story even though he’s dead for most of the main movie? What? Don’t get me wrong, I’m relieved as all hell they won’t be doing a live-action TLK2, they’re ruining enough as it is, but I’m also getting dreadful feelings because now they’re making unnecessary prequels, which has so much Disquel vibes it’s not even funny. What the hell are they doing?


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Dissecting the Disquels: The Lion King 2 – Simba’s Pride (Part 1: The In-Depth Analysis)

Rating: 8.5/10

Plot: Simba has become a great king in the Pride Lands, and now he’s welcoming his first child, Kiara, into the world. While Simba has become a bit of an overprotective stick-in-the-mud and greatly values tradition and the kingdom above all else, looking forward to the day when his daughter supersedes him and becomes queen, Kiara is uncertain about her future and just wants to be herself.

When she grows up, she falls in love with a lion from the Outlands named Kovu, who has been trained his whole life to get close to Kiara in order to get in good with the royal family and kill Simba. His mother is Zira, leader of the Outlander lionesses who have previously pledged loyalty to Scar and have been banished to the desolate wasteland outside of the Pride Lands because of it. But when Kovu starts legitimately falling in love with Kiara, their loyalty to both of their lands and their families will be tested. Can love end the feuding once and for all?

Breakdown: Here we go, it’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally at the last movie to cover for Dissecting the Disquels – The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride.

I saved this one for last because it means a lot to me. I watched it right when it first came out, and it was a Disquel based on one of my all-time favorite movies. I watched it so many times when I was a kid that I was, not kidding, reciting entire scenes in my head line by line when I would pause the video and anticipate what was coming up next while rewatching for this review. Not to mention that it’s one of the few Disquels that actually manages to hold its quality somewhat close-ish to the original product. Obviously, since most of these movies were all direct-to-VHS/DVD, they can’t really get within the ballpark of the quality of the movies they were based on, but some of them gave it the ol’ college try with what they had, and this one is no exception.

I had a lot to say about this movie, and it’s for a positive reason for a change! That’s why, to celebrate the end of Dissecting the Disquels, for the first time ever, I’ve actually decided to make this a two part review – one that goes in-depth into the main facets of the movie and another that’s in my step-by-step style where I go through the entire movie scene by scene.

To put it into perspective, this is technically a rewrite. My other draft had 14 pages worth of material and I wasn’t anywhere near done. I had spent so much time analyzing and talking about other stuff, that when I got to the step-by-step part, I knew it’d be way too much for one post, so I split it into two.

Is it overkill? Probably. But I am crazy. You people signed up for this. Now you must pay.

What could I possibly blather on about for *checks final total page tally* 34 pages? Let’s find out in part one of my final Dissecting the Disquel entry – The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride.

Prologue

Mmmmbackground! The Lion King 2 is, I believe, the first ever Disquel I watched (I honestly don’t remember if it was this or Aladdin 2), which makes sense because it’s one of the first to ever be made. I absolutely adored The Lion King (It’s still one of my favorite movies) I watched the original so many times that my VHS tape wore out. Seeing a sequel come out really got me excited. I even nearly bought a Kovu doll I saw in a store, but I didn’t have enough money. 😦

As the years went on and I watched more Disquels, I was increasingly disappointed that none of them really reached the level TLK2 was on – far from it in many cases. Eventually, I just stopped watching them and became one of millions who rolled my eyes whenever they would crop up. However, TLK2 kept reminding me that the Disquels can be good, and I think, in some ways, keeping that in mind allowed me to more easily go through this entire review series more easily. If TLK2 can be good, then there has to be some good nuggets to find within the mess, and yeah I found those nuggets, even if I had to trudge through a lot of crap and there were only, like, three of four of them.

Rewatching the movie again for this review gave me a lot of nostalgia, but that’s not to say I had my nostalgia goggles on that tightly. Maybe I popped a lens out. We’ll see.

Simba’s Son/Daughter?

One of the first things you’ll notice about this film, especially if you’re a fan of the original movie, is that the opening sequence has a key difference that raises quite a few questions. Namely….who is this kid? This isn’t the same cub from the end of The Lion King. That lion was a male. It had gold fur, not tan – it was a male. Even if color didn’t indicate gender here, it still would not be Kiara because she’s tan and that cub was gold. In addition, the audio description for the first Lion King movie on Disney+ identifies the cub as a prince, and the audio book version, which was released before and re-released after the sequel was made, indicates that it’s Simba’s son.

Granted, it’s not like they had set up for a sequel when the first one was made, and I appreciate them wanting a female lead, but that doesn’t change the fact that it makes a massive continuity error, even with entries made after the sequel came to be.

Or does it?

….Yes.

Well, kinda. Maybe.

The Kopa Theory

This theory surmises that the cub at the end of the first Lion King movie was actually Kopa, the son of Simba from the Lion King book series – The Lion King: Six New Adventures. When this theory first arose, it was very questionable whether Kopa was actually canon in the movie series, even if his existence does answer several questions.

If Kopa does exist in the movie series, then the theory comes into place. The reason Zira and the other Outlander lionesses were banished was really because they plotted and succeeded in murdering Kopa. Perhaps this plan was an effort to ensure Simba would have no successor. It’s much easier to kill a cub than it is to kill the king of the Pride Lands. This would also account for why Simba is so crazy overprotective of Kiara to the point where he won’t let her go anywhere without an escort. (Although, admittedly, you’d think Nala would have similar reservations if this were true.)

However, at the end of the day, it’s mostly just fanon because neither Kopa nor anything indicating such an event is even hinted at in the sequel. It’s just a fan explanation that makes a lot of sense.

The writers and animators who worked on TLK2 reportedly had no idea that Kopa even existed, and that’s actually understandable. The books’ origins are really confusing. They were based on the movies, but they also weren’t made by Disney (only approved by Disney). However, the books were also written before the movie had even finished production. The author, Alex Simmons, even stated that he had no idea if Nala and Simba would have a cub at the end of the movie. So….I dunno if Alex Simmons had just seen a bunch of trailers for the movie and made books based on them or something? How do you not work at Disney, have enough information on an in-production movie to make books based on it but also get approval from Disney to sell what is basically Lion King fanfiction before the movie even exists? It’s really confusing.

Kovu’s Origins

Kovu’s family tree is a bit of a mystery. There aren’t any male lions in the Outlands besides Kovu and Nuka, both of which are Zira’s kids. Kovu is not Scar’s son, but Nuka looks down on him like he thinks he’s superior – as if he is Scar’s son. So that kinda brings a lot into question. Who is the father of Nuka, Vitani and Kovu? Do they even have the same father?

It should be mentioned that, originally, it was intended for Kovu to be Scar’s son, but then they remembered, whoops, Scar was Simba’s uncle and they intended on having Kovu and Kiara in a relationship. They didn’t want the tagline of the movie to change to The Lion King 2: All in the Family so they opted to have Kovu born of an unknown male lion.

This also makes Kovu’s age a bit off. If he was hand-picked by Scar, he had to have been born before Simba returned to Pride Rock, right? Doesn’t make much sense to choose an unborn child as your heir without knowing if it’s male. (I doubt Scar would select a female successor. He’s pretty sexist. He refuses to help find food for his starving people because it’s the lioness’s job to hunt, and he treats Sarabi like another servant when she’s still, technically, the queen.) And that means Nuka and Vitani definitely existed. So, again, where the hell were they?

Zira explains that Kovu was the last born before Simba exiled them, but then Simba acts as if he’s never seen Kovu before, which I guess is possible but it’s still weird.

Kovu and Kiara’s Relationship

Since this is a romance movie at its core, it obviously needs to have a strong main relationship to carry it, and Kovu and Kiara definitely pull it off. Not only do they have great chemistry and bounce off of each other very well, but they do complement each other. Kovu provides Kiara with a sense of adventure and actually listens to and respects her desires, and Kiara brings out the lighter side of Kovu and introduces him to true fun.

They also have many very cute scenes together from the instant they meet.

Them falling in love felt very natural, and they managed to pull it off extremely well while Kovu was still trying to keep up his charade. You can easily tell when he’s putting on the act to impress her and when he’s genuinely connecting with her. Admittedly, it is a tiny bit rushed, but that’s par for the course with Disney, especially considering the lowered run time.

Also, side note, but Simba and Nala are similarly adorable in this movie. They’ve become great parents, but they also have a very believable and sweet marriage. When Nala pinned him at the start of the movie, my heart fluttered with emotions from the first movie. They’re both amazing couples.

Disquelisms?

I’m not sure if it’s fair to analyze one of the first Disquels for Disquelisms, but let’s be fair here since you can find a couple.

First of all, this movie started the trend of having the children of the original movie’s main characters take the helm.

There’s a slight air of ‘the first movie in reverse/backwards’ happening here, even though, honestly, it’s not really that…..well….Okay it is. Well, except it’s not.

Simba is very Mufasa-esque in this movie. He’s a very proud king, he’s very stern, he doesn’t seem to withhold any of the Hakuna Matata-ness his surrogate fathers bestowed upon him. He’s very much into the old teachings of the previous kings and the circle of life etc. etc. etc.

Kiara, however, is a very free spirit. She doesn’t like being babysat by Timon and Pumbaa, like how Simba didn’t like being babysat by Zazu, and she just wants to do her own thing.

Also, Simba was jonesing to take his place as king, but Kiara has serious doubts about becoming queen.

There are also some things here and there throughout the movie that reflect the original, but I’ll discuss those in part two. They aren’t really stark enough to say they’re mirrors or redoing the original movie in reverse or anything. This is an entirely different story.

Speaking of redoing the original movie, though…

The Doppleganger Soundtrack?

Some people criticize the soundtrack for TLK2, claiming it’s filled with songs that are just the original movie’s songs with a different flair to them. I can see where this criticism is coming from, because a lot of the songs do fit certain roles that the original songs filled, but I think it’s unfair to write it off like that. I, personally, love the soundtrack for the movie and think that the tracks stand perfectly well on their own merits. But let’s address each song to see if there is any true validity to this claim.

He Lives in You

Our first song of the movie is ‘He Lives in You’ or what would be the equivalent to ‘Circle of Life.’ It’s the opening to the movie, it’s happening over the sunrise, and the animals are all coming together for the presentation ceremony. It’s the song that accompanies the introduction to our main character, a newborn cub and prince/ess of the Pride Lands. At face value, it seems like the criticism fits fine here, but this song is very purposeful on its own.

The ending scene of the first movie was nearly a beat-by-beat recreation of the first scene of the movie just with Simba and Nala taking the place of Mufasa and Sarabi, and that was done in order to create the symbolism of the circle of life. The movie started with Mufasa welcoming Simba into the world, Mufasa died, then the movie ends with Simba welcoming his own child into the world.

If we’re starting the sequel off immediately from the last movie, then it makes perfect sense that the opening song would have the same vibe as the original.

‘He Lives in You’ is probably the closest the movie gets to an actual song reincorporation because some of the lyrics from ‘Circle of Life’, namely ‘Ingonyama nengw’ enamabala’ (I really hope I was accurate on that…) and, well, ‘circle of life’, are also part of the chorus for ‘He Lives in You.’

‘He Lives in You’ heavily focuses on the running theme of the spirits of those that are gone living on in the characters, whether good or bad. Simba thrives on the memory of his father’s spirit and even seeks him for advice when trying to accept Kovu and his budding relationship with Kiara. When she makes her plea to him to stop the fighting, he looks up to the opening sky briefly as if Mufasa is looking down on him.

While it is much more subtle with Kiara, her grandfather’s spirit is also reflective in her. She chooses to go back home and help their families stop warring instead of running off and starting a family with Kovu because she knows that’s what’s right. She chooses responsibility over her own desires and proves that, whether or not she does actually become queen in the end, she has what it takes to be a great and fair queen.

On the opposite side of the coin, Zira is very obviously trying to carry on Scar’s legacy by getting revenge on Simba and taking back the Pride Lands. Nuka channels Scar, too, believe it not, but only in his pettiness and maliciousness. It’s never outright stated who Nuka’s father is, but he believes he’s more deserving of the role of Scar’s successor than Kovu is and uses the fact that Kovu is not Scar’s child to support this. Nuka is jealous of Kovu because he seemingly has a birthright by Scar personally selecting him to be next in line instead of him, who may or may not have the literal birthright to such a position. Scar was similarly jealous of Mufasa being chosen to be king, even though Scar was the younger sibling, because he simply believed himself to be the better lion.

The aspect of Scar’s spirit living on in Kovu is a heavy theme in the movie. He’s not only being specifically bred to become a new Scar, so to speak, but they even go so far as to actually scar his face in the same spot Scar had his. During the song ‘One of Us’ he sees Scar’s reflection in the water, which is a rather brilliant callback to Simba seeing Mufasa’s face in the water in the first movie.

Unlike Simba, who wants desperately to be like his father and live up to his legacy, Kovu wants to be anything but that. The only time in which he is aspiring to be New!Scar is when he’s brainwashed by Zira. In the end, Zira winds up being the most fitting spiritual successor to Scar, and like Scar, she ended up causing her own undoing because she couldn’t let go of her hatred and selfishness.

‘He Lives in You’ is a great song and a beautiful opener to the movie. It also stands as being a very deserving followup to ‘Circle of Life.’

We Are One

The next song is ‘We Are One’ which I think is suggested to mirror ‘Just Can’t Wait to be King,’ but winds up being the closer to ‘Circle of Life’ in regards to lyrics. Simba is trying to convince Kiara that being a princess and later taking her place as queen is her destiny. It’s in her blood. It’s part of the grand scheme of things. The song is really framed like, as the title implies, everything is connected and supports each other. Even the spirits of those who are gone help us through life, and their family is also there to guide and support her.

The reason this isn’t so much a mirror of ‘Just Can’t Wait to be King’ is that 90% of this song is Simba singing, not Kiara. ‘Just Can’t Wait to be King’ was Simba’s Disney-typical ‘I want’ song, but ‘We Are One’ is mostly channeling ‘Circle of Life.’

When Kiara finally gets her turn to sing, it basically turns into an entirely different song. The melody is much softer and somber, in contrast to the grand and prideful version Simba was singing, and it’s literally now an ‘I Want’ song since Kiara is so conflicted. Her only lines come out to,

“If there’s so much I must be, can I still just be me the way I am? Can I trust in my own heart, or am I just one part of some big plan?”

She wants to be able to be free and do what she wants, but everyone, especially her father, is pressuring her into a role she’s not even sure she wants since it’s so demanding and restricting.

Funnily, and sadly, enough, the next interlude to Simba really highlights that he’s simply not listening to his daughter’s desires and just wants her to accept her role because it juts right from her lines to talking about ‘We Are One’ again. He is basically also saying ‘You have your entire life ahead of you, and as you mature, you’ll learn to understand why things are the way they are and why you have to be this.’ but it’s clear at the end of the scene that, while Kiara is open to trying to understand, she still just doesn’t get it.

It’s a little interesting, because it’s the exact opposite of ‘Just Can’t Wait to be King,’ in a way. Simba believed being king would literally give him the power and freedom to do whatever he wanted, since he felt so restricted by his parents. Kiara feels the exact opposite, however, believing it will severely impede on her freedom even more.

If you think about it, even though both of them were being understandably immature about it, Kiara is taking the more realistic view on the situation. Being queen does come with an insane amount of responsibilities. Even though you have a lot of power, you must use it wisely, and you must take the needs of every animal in the Pride Lands into consideration when you make decisions. Simba was under the assumption that being king would be a non-stop party and give him the freedom to do whatever he wants, but such an attitude in real life would probably lead to a similar outcome as Scar.

Another interesting aspect of this song is that it reprises in the very ending of the movie instead of ‘He Lives in You.’ In the original movie, as I mentioned, ‘Circle of Life’ plays again at the end to loop the story back around. However, they chose ‘We Are One’ for the ending here. It does make more sense, however, because the Outlands and the Pride Lands were finally united and Kovu and Kiara were able to be wed. It does indeed show that they are all one, but it also proves that that doesn’t mean we’re destined for this that or the other thing.

While I like ‘Just Can’t Wait to be King’ better than this song, ‘We Are One’ certainly has more emotional impact, especially as an ‘I Want’ song. It has a bright air of hopefulness and togetherness while still reflecting Kiara’s inner conflict. It’s quite beautiful, but I just wish Kiara had more of a presence in it. It feels like she was meant to have her own version of this song, like musicals sometimes do – keeping the melody but changing the message to show connection but also contrast – but they opted not to at the last second.

Also, this line comes after the song is over, but the music is still running, so I’m counting it.

Simba: “As long as you live here, it’s who you are.” That line has a lot of layers to it. First of all, you’re pretty much encouraging her to run away. If she’s not here, it’s no longer who she is. No longer her problem.

Secondly, why does where she live suddenly come into the equation? So, it’s not part of her blood or destiny anymore if she just leaves the Pride Lands? Kinda makes the circle of life thing seem less grandiose.

I feel like that line was originally “As long as you live, it’s who you are.” but that doesn’t make sense either because spirits are canon in this series.

The little bluebird flying off at the end is also a little interesting. It was driven back to its nest by its mother earlier because she didn’t want her chick to try flying off yet, but by the end of the song it’s flying away into the sunset on its own. Kiara’s expression is happy, but also kinda sullen. The bluebird had to wait (about 53 seconds…) to fly off on its own, but once it was able to, it had the freedom to go wherever it wanted. Kiara, on the other hand, will be bound even when she reaches adulthood.

My Lullaby

My favorite villain song ever is ‘Be Prepared,’ so this movie really had to deliver on its villain song to kmake me really think this was a good followup to the first movie, and it definitely delivered in my book. ‘My Lullaby’ is Zira singing Kovu to sleep about how she’s going to shape him into the perfect successor to Scar, get her revenge on Simba for their exile and avenge Scar’s death. The lyrics actually get a bit darker than ‘Be Prepared,’ as she says stuff like “The sound of Simba’s dying gasp, his daughter squealing in my grasp, his lioness’s mournful cry – that’s my lullaby.”

Its only major misstep is one lyric where she says “And a lust for being bad.” I just thought that was cheesy. Not only is the wording lame, but if you believe you’re justified in what you’re doing, then you shouldn’t wish him to have a desire for being bad. In your world view, you’re the good guys….

Overall, though, it’s a really awesome and intense song. It segues nicely from a calm and gentle, well, lullaby, to a malicious villain song to bringing the oomph in the finale. It does pretty much mirror the purpose of ‘Be Prepared’ since it was literally Scar telling his hyenas to be be prepared for killing the king and overthrowing the kingdom, and this is Zira pretty much saying the exact same thing to her fellow lionesses. However, it’s by no means the same song nor is it anywhere close to being just Diet Be Prepared..

I like how they made such a twisted ‘lullaby’ because, remember, she is literally singing Kovu to sleep here. She is making his lullaby about killing Simba, torturing Kiara, watching Nala mourn Simba and listening to a ‘symphony of death’ while they usurp the entire royal family and invade the Pride Lands. It’s also interesting how Zira keeps saying he’ll be king or he’s a prince during the sequence. It adds more of a parallel between Kiara and Kovu – Kovu’s not just being preened as Scar’s successor; he must become the new king. It’s not his main focus, that would be killing Simba, but presumably, once he’s done that, he’ll take over as king.

Final note, but this song break is just gorgeous in the colors from start to finish. From Zira’s yellow eyes piercing through the darkness at the start to the lionesses jumping over the light to the blood red sky at the end, it’s really cool.

Upendi

The next song is ‘Upendi,’ and it’s seemingly taking the role of ‘Hakuna Matata,’ but mostly only in two realms – The title is a Swahili word (meaning ‘love’) and it’s largely a fun dancing song. However, whereas ‘Hakuna Matata’ was meant to help introduce Simba to Timon and Pumbaa’s way of life and get him to forget his worries and live a carefree lifestyle, ‘Upendi’ is pretty much just celebrating Kiara and Kovu’s budding romance. Rafiki is literally playing matchmaker to a pairing that was very very likely to happen (and pretty much was already happening) anyway. In addition, the lyrics are literally just talking about love and how great it is. It doesn’t have much substance to it or hidden symbolism – it’s just a simple song about love. In that regard, it’s, in my opinion, the weakest song in the set.

It’s a very fun song and easy to sing along with, but it’s not as strong as the other songs in the set. It just doesn’t have much of a purpose and nothing memorable happens in the animation either, except one cheesy segment where Kovu and Kiara parachute on pink leaves that take the shape of hearts.

One of Us

The first and only song that really doesn’t have a suggested mirror in the first movie is ‘One of Us,’ and it’s a spectacular song. After Simba nearly dies in an ambush set by Zira, Simba throws away any trust that was starting to build with Kovu and marks him once and for all as a traitor before banishing him for good. Thing is, Kovu wasn’t a traitor. He had decided earlier that he didn’t want to follow his mother’s lead anymore and was trying to build up the courage to confess to Kiara and Simba about what was going on, but Zira intervened and specifically called him out as a conspirator because she found out he was legitimately falling in with Kiara and Simba.

This song is literally the entire Pride Lands singing about how they were deceived and he was really evil the whole time, as they feared. They also sing the lyrics “Evil as plain as the scar on his face” which has dual meanings – the first being that his supposed evil was as obvious as the scar on his face, and the second being that he now looks like Scar.

It also really highlights how divided the prides really are, and how hypocritical Simba is being. The songs ‘We Are One’ and ‘One of Us’ directly contradict each other. How can we all be one yet there’s a separate ‘us’ that needs to be cordoned off from others?

Interesting note, on the VHS, they make the mistake in the closed captioning to attribute the line ‘He is not one of us’ sung by a woman at the very end to Kiara, and that confused me for years. There’s no way Kiara would be singing any of this song, let alone specifically saying that to Kovu. This is proven as such both before the song starts and after the song is over when she pleads with Simba to listen to what Kovu has to say, but he refuses.

One of the reasons this song hits so well isn’t just because it has great lyrics and instrumentals, but because you really feel bad for poor Kovu. He is a changed lion, but now he’s being shunned by both the Outsiders and the Pride Landers. In the time frame of just a few hours, he lost his original pride, his new pride, his brother, his girlfriend, his family and his home. It really stings when he finally ducks his head and walks off.

‘One of Us’ is a very powerful song, and I absolutely adore it. I listen to it fairly often on Spotify, and it’s my favorite song on the soundtrack. It has a soft opening but slowly builds up as Kovu gets increasingly upset and runs away from the Pride Lands. That final closeup shot of Simba’s face right as it quickly zooms way back to Kovu and the music swells is just awesome. When Kovu looks back one last time and finally starts slowly walking away, the song slows back down and becomes somber because now Kovu has accepted his banishment and both Kovu and Kiara are mourning the losses of each other. It’s very well-executed.

Love Will Find a Way

Finally, this being a movie largely about the romantic development between Kovu and Kiara, being an off-shoot of Romeo and Juliet, you obviously have to have a strong love song between the two leads. ‘Love Will Find A Way’ is obviously meant to fill the role of ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight?’ They’re even set up kinda similarly with it being a duet (which is common for love songs, anyway, but still) and the guy briefly singing about how he is/was afraid, which made him do something that was hurting their significant other. But, again, the two songs serve different purposes.

In the original movie, ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight?’ was meant to highlight how Simba and Nala, once best friends in childhood who were disgusted at the idea of becoming married when they grew up, are now developing romantic feelings for each other now that they’ve reunited in adulthood. They first rekindle their friendship by playing around in the water and then the grass, but then Nala licks Simba on the cheek and they both realize how much they mean to each other.

‘Love Will Find A Way’ builds upon a romance that was broken by external forces. Kiara and Kovu both know they love each other at this point – they’ve not only kissed and cuddled each other a few times already, but they’ve also expressed out loud that they love each other. However, Kovu’s banishment and Simba putting firm restrictions on Kiara’s comings and goings put a massive divide between the two of them.

This song has Kiara singing about how she longs for a perfect world with Kovu. They create their own little magical world when they’re together, but their families keep driving them apart. However, she knows love will find a way for her to reunite with Kovu and find happiness.

Kovu’s verse puts a spotlight on how he was afraid to tell her what was going on with Zira, which drove a bit of a wedge between them and somewhat contributed to his banishment, but he was foolish because he now realizes love will always find a way to conquer such things. And, again, a perfect world is brought up in his verse as he sings “There’s a perfect world shining in your eyes.”

When they’re finally singing together, they both express that they wish their respective families would be able to see how much they love each other and understand how they feel. But no matter if they do or not, they now have each other and they’ll get through anything together. This new beginning is also reflected when Kovu reveals a budding plant under the ash near the end of the song, as Simba had done earlier when talking to Kovu about how things can revive and flourish if you give them a chance.

I actually like this song little more than ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight?’ I know that probably seems like an iffy thing to say, but even though I truly love ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight?,’ I can’t help but get more invested in ‘Love will Find a Way.’

It’s true that both Simba and Nala sing their respective feelings during their song, too. Simba expresses that he’s scared to tell her the truth about what happened to Mufasa, worried that she’d turn her back on him. And Nala wonders what’s bothering Simba and why he’s acting so different from the Simba she knew back when they were cubs.

However, it’s a bit jumbled as a song in the actual movie. We move from Timon and Pumbaa singing it to Simba and Nala singing and then back to Timon and Pumbaa. They don’t do a bad job in the song, but they try to merge a budding romance song with a song about two buddies losing their third buddy, which kinda makes it lose a bit of it’s emotional impact. Timon and Pumbaa definitely needed their time to process the possibility of losing Simba – afterall, at this point, he’s basically their surrogate son – but it’s mostly there to add some comedic value to their otherwise very romantic song.

‘Love Will Find a Way’ is sung entirely by Kiara and Kovu at a very tense and emotional part of the movie. Her verse and his verse move into each other while only changing tone slightly. Kiara’s verse is lower pitched because she hasn’t found Kovu yet. Kovu’s is slightly higher because he’s coming to the realization that he needs to return to Kiara because he loves her, and their love will get them through this. When they both see each other, reunite and start singing together, the music swells and it’s amazing, and they play together and it’s sweet. You really feel a strong impact of them reuniting.

Simba and Nala also reunite after years of being apart, but it happens earlier and not during any song. In addition, that reunion was more like two best friends who haven’t seen each other in years, because that’s what’s going on, and the song is more about them viewing the other in a different and more romantic light.

In ‘Love Will Find a Way,’ the end of the song goes back to soft and tender as Kovu and Kiara just enjoy each other’s company and cuddle.

I’m not really saying one song is objectively better than the other. I know very little about the intricacies of music composition and theory to claim such a thing, but I just feel like ‘Love Will Find a Way’ clicks just a tiny bit better with me as a love song. I still adore ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight?,’ but I can’t deny my feelings on this matter.

Character Analyses

I’ve already touched upon Simba quite a bit, but let’s delve further into how his character has changed from the first movie to now.

Simba has greatly matured into both a good father and a strong king, but he’s still so haunted by his past that it makes gives him a hair trigger temper and makes him very over protective of Kiara. He’s wants desperately to follow in his father’s pawprints and respect the legacy that he left behind, but he goes overboard with it.

…..Granted, being fair, he is somewhat right to be as paranoid and protective as he is. Zira and the other Outsiders are very much intent on killing him and taking over the Pride Lands, but in regards to respecting what Kiara wants or even entertaining the idea that she might not want to be queen, he doesn’t listen at all, which I noted in the section on ‘We Are One.’

Funny thing is, the first movie basically built Simba’s character on this concept. It was his destiny to be king. He had to accept it or else Scar’s reign would cause the certain death of everyone in the Pride Lands. Mufasa’s spirit even re-instilled this in him when Simba was having his internal crisis.

Mufasa: “Remember who you are. You are my son, and the one true king.”

Likewise, as I said, when Simba was a cub, he was excited about becoming king someday. He just didn’t want to do it anymore because he felt such immense guilt over what happened to Mufasa, and he was scared what everyone would think of him.

I do think the entire concept of destiny is really stupid, especially from a storytelling standpoint. Sometimes, like in The Lion King, they can pull it off pretty well, but otherwise it’s such a problematic concept.

The reason it was pulled off well in The Lion King was because, despite the fact that it was Simba’s ‘destiny’ to take his place as king, he had to want to do it. He had to want to face his fears and fight for his family and pride. Rafiki literally beat this into Simba’s head.

Simba: *gets smacked by Rafiki’s staff* “OW! Geez, what was that for?!”

Rafiki: “It doesn’t matter! It’s in the past!”

Simba: “Yeah, but it still hurts.”

Rafiki: “Ah, yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it!” *takes another swing, but Simba dodges* “AH! You see?!”

Putting the past behind us is another theme of the sequel. Several characters say a line akin to “it’s time to put the past behind us.” Zira refused, so she couldn’t grow as a character and that lead to her downfall.

Simba basically forgot this lesson at the start of the movie and had to re-learn it. He had moved beyond his past enough to become king, but he clearly hadn’t moved past it enough to accept anyone who had any bonds to Scar.

With Kiara, she’s not afraid of becoming queen, she just doesn’t want the job. There’s nothing really at stake if she doesn’t take the role, as long as Simba and Nala get back to baby-makin’ anyway. And considering they’ll later have a canonical son, I think they’re doing fine in that department.

Simba is just not listening to her own desires because, eh, that’s the way things are and have to be. Destiny worked for me. It’ll work for you. You’re just a kid now. Adults know what’s up.

In a lot of ways, Simba here reminds me a lot of King Triton. He’s simultaneously very loving and over-protective of his daughter while also not seeming to give a crap about what she wants. However, in the prequel, we see that he has good reason to fear or hate humans and needs his daughter’s help to get him to learn to trust again. Likewise, here, we can deduce enough to realize he has at least a pretty good reason to distrust the Outsiders.

But Simba’s not really the main character here – Kovu and Kiara are. Technically, Kiara is supposed to be the main character….buuuutttt….

……This was way more Kovu’s movie than Kiara’s. I couldn’t help but notice it as a kid, and I definitely noticed on the rewatch – Kovu is the main character. It’s not even that much of a ‘shared’ main character role. He is the main character.

Kovu goes from a cocky yet kindhearted kid to a brainwashed soldier who slowly escapes his mother’s influence and the destiny set before him so he can follow his heart and find a new path. He defies his mother, leaves his family behind and even risks severe punishment to face Simba after the ambush because he truly loved Kiara and he wanted to be a better person with a good life. When he was banished, he didn’t return to his mother or seek revenge, he simply took his licks and went off alone.

When you think about it, it’s really Kovu’s story that is Simba’s story in reverse, or more to the point the opposite of his. Whereas Simba was building up to embrace his destiny and his one true role as king, Kovu did everything in his power to break free of the ‘destiny’ that was set upon him.

And what of Kiara? She starts off the story as a frustrated princess who wants to have freedom to a grown up frustrated princess who wants to have freedom who falls in love and her biggest conflict is fighting for her love, which…she doesn’t even technically do. When Kovu is banished, she just lashes out at her father and runs away behind his back to find Kovu.

Her biggest moments are convincing Kovu to return to the Pride Lands to stop the fighting, and then she talks her father down, which is alright as a character arc as she’s found her voice and she’s finally getting her father to listen to her for good reasons, but she as a character really hasn’t changed. She understands ‘we are one’ now, but that moment isn’t nearly as impacting as it should be.

She also saves her father and tries to save Zira (and ultimately fails) but that moment wasn’t nearly as important or grand as it could’ve been. Zira definitely wouldn’t have succeeded in killing Simba at the end, considering every other lioness would have backed him up and saved him once she pounced (and it’s not like she can achieve a one shot kill. Even Scar couldn’t do that.) and while it is noble and kind to try and save Zira, that just serves to prove that she’s a nice and forgiving person.

In the start of the movie, Kiara says “I’m not just princess, ya know? That’s only half of who I am.” And Pumbaa replies “Oh, uh, who’s the other half?” And she has no answer. At the end of the movie, you’d expect her to have an answer….but she really doesn’t.

Throughout the film, the aspect of having another half comes up a few times, especially when they get around to the song ‘Love Will Find A Way’ where they eventually show that Kovu and Kiara’s reflections in the water make one IE We are one. But that doesn’t answer the question of Kiara’s character….unless they’re blatantly saying that the other half of her is Kovu, which is rather eye-rolling. Yes, we typically call our significant others our ‘other’ or even ‘better’ halves, but that wasn’t the question being posited. Who is Kiara’s other half, as a person? Not someone else, in a soul mate way – who is she as a person on her own merits? What does she even really want? What does she want to become?

Again, I can easily answer this question for Kovu. He’s a character who desperately wants to do the right thing, but he also wants to make his mother happy and his people/Scar proud. After he reunites with Kiara, he wants to be a good person, live a good life with her and have fun. He realizes at that point that Scar was the evil one and he had been lied to his whole life, making him not want to return to the Outlands, but also not really hating his family for it.

He’s constantly at odds with his role and his desires, but despite his act of being a slick Scar Jr. he’s obviously very sympathetic and open to bettering himself and becoming a good person. Most importantly, we can see this even when Kiara is not around. His character is not fully driven by her. When he’s simply having a talk with Simba, you can see that he’s actively listening and it’s not his act that’s taking over. Simba is speaking to him, truly, even if he doesn’t realize it, and Kovu becomes enthralled with the idea of being given a second chance.

Kiara starts out not wanting to be queen, which isn’t much of a plot point as she gets older. She’s more about wanting independence and trust from her father at that point, but it’s heavily implied that she accepted her role as princess/future queen in the end. And in The Lion Guard, apparently, it ends with it being confirmed that she does become queen. However, is she accepting this role because she truly wants it now or because it’s her ‘destiny’ and now that she understands ‘we are one’ she appreciates the role more? Because I’ve already explained how little I care about destiny in regards to character arcs.

So she’s now not even a frustrated princess who wants freedom. She’s a happier princess who has accepted her role but it’s okay because she has her true love now. That’s not very compelling.

It’s weird when I can connect more with Vitani and even Nuka more than Kiara.

In a lot of ways, Vitani has a similar problem in that there’s not a whole lot to her character, but it’s not as big of an issue with her because she’s a side character. She’s somewhat like a child version of Zira for the most part. She’s violent and glorifies bad things. When she sees Kovu alone with Simba, she’s literally panting because she believes Kovu will kill Simba and is excitedly waiting for him to do the deed. When he doesn’t, she becomes angry and instantly alerts their mother.

She’s mostly just Zira’s right-hand lioness when she gets older, and she’s very good at what she does. The best we get in terms of signs of her being any different from Zira are that we can kinda see that she genuinely loves her brothers. She literally sings Kovu’s praises in ‘My Lullaby,’ she play fights with Kovu, and when Nuka dies she’s obviously deeply affected.

However, not enough happens to her to really say she had a character arc in the end, even though she does turn heel and become a good guy in that….somewhat questionable ending.

Nuka on the other hand, despite not changing, really, also has more character and becomes somewhat sympathetic.

In a bit of an ironic twist, Nuka IS a lot like Scar, only without the intelligence and style. Scar was also jealous of his brother for being granted a role he believed he was more deserving of, even possibly through birthright. Even though Nuka is angry about Kovu being chosen by Scar, which leads you to believe that’s his motivation, it’s really not. He clearly just wants his mother to be proud of him. He’s jealous of Kovu not because Scar chose him but because Scar choosing him made him the favorite in the eyes of their mother. Nuka doesn’t try to sabotage Kovu, even though he dislikes him, because, above all else, he wants to make his mother happy. When Kovu starts to falter in his mission, he sees his opportunity to take the reigns and impress her, and he dies while doing so. Tragically enough, he also dies while apologizing to his mother for failing her.

I’m kinda highlighting this issue with Kiara to myself as I’m writing this because I’m much more interested in writing about Kovu, Nuka and Vitani than Kiara. Don’t get me wrong, she is by no means a bad character. She’s quite likable and I adore her relationship with Kovu. But as a character she’s just not interesting enough or fleshed out enough as our main protagonist, which is a damn shame. In fact, she may even be treading into *thunderclap* Mary Sue territory because, technically, she has very minimal flaws.

She’s impulsive, sure, but that’s called being a child. She’s a bit naive, sure, but that’s called being a child. She’s not a good hunter, but that’s mostly a lot of inexperience due to being sheltered so much.

Other than that, I can’t really think of any actual flaws in her character beyond the fact that she’s not an interesting or particularly active character.

The worst we get with Kiara is she runs away after Kovu’s banishment, but she’s fairly right to do so because Simba was overreacting and Kiara was right about him. Immediately after she reunites with Kovu, she tells him they have to go back and help unite their families instead of allowing them to remain apart. She doesn’t have some giant moral quandary, she doesn’t struggle with needing to face a harsh reality (like Simba having to admit he caused Mufasa’s death) she just does it. And when she gets there, she’s able to quell the fighting really easily by offering some cheesy lines that don’t even make a whole lot of sense in context.

Even to Zira, Kiara is merely a pawn. She’s an opening, a stepping stone, a tool. Scar hated Simba because he took his spot as next in line for the throne. Before, the only one in his way was Mufasa, but when Simba was born, he took second spot, and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. He needed to get rid of both of them in order to take over. Both Mufasa and Simba earned his ire, and both Mufasa and Simba were necessary to fall in order for his plan to work.

In TLK2, however, Kiara doesn’t even register as a being. In fact, I believe, during the entire movie, Zira never even says Kiara’s name. Zira doesn’t have any reason to hate Kiara besides the fact that she’s the daughter of the person whom she really hates. Kiara isn’t getting in her way to kill and get revenge on Simba. If anything, she makes it easier.

The big final showdown of the movie is Kiara and Zira, but 1) they’re not fighting. Zira pounces Kiara, they roll around for a second and then they fall off a cliff. The rest of the scene is Kiara trying to save Zira, but Zira’s her own undoing and refuses help, resulting in her death. And 2) Zira wasn’t even aiming for her in the first place. Zira was trying to kill Simba, but Kiara stepped in the way.

Probably the only character who gets less development or focus/exploration in the movie is Nala, whose very small role is being the only voice of reason in Simba’s ear that he actually listens to (Sometimes) and the only one of Kiara’s parents who is reasonable and level headed. She doesn’t really need a character arc though because she has a set role and she plays it just fine. Her part may be small, and she may be underutilized, which is disappointing, but it’s fine.

The one time they show her as anything different from this is in the big battle scene where Nala says with the most acid she can muster, “VITANI!” when she’s confronted with Vitani mocking her about where her daughter is. I have no idea where this seeming personal hatred towards Vitani came from. Honestly, I’m not even sure how she knows Vitani’s name. Is this implying that she thinks Vitani/the Outsiders had something to do with her daughter’s disappearance? After this one shot of them fighting, we don’t see them together again so it seems even more out of left field.

Truth be told, I’ve wracked my brain on how to change Kiara’s character to make her more interesting and memorable without making the entire story different, but I’ve come up with very little.

My first suggestion is to make her a tough aspiring ace hunter, which was hinted upon in the scene where she’s going off to play by herself. “Mighty hunter has cornered her prey.” As a lioness, she is obviously a perfect fit for being a hunter, but we don’t typically see hunting being emphasized in the Lion King movies very much, so this would be a bit of new territory for her to explore.

Maybe even have a scene where we see Nala training her to hunt and Kiara shows a particular affinity for it. However, Simba is against it because of his overprotective nature and princesses and queens just don’t lower themselves, so to speak, to do such menial labor. (It’s suggested that queens do lead the hunting groups, but it’s unclear whether they actually still hunt or just organize them.) He’s really only allowing her to learn to hunt for the sake of a traditional celebratory hunt for when she reaches adulthood, but after that she’ll be barred from doing it, which Kiara firmly resists because she wants to be the best hunter she can be. When she goes off to find Kovu, she actually utilizes her hunting skills to track him down, allowing that part of her character to be incorporated. Maybe she could reach a dead end to let ‘love find a way’ but still.

At the end of the movie, she’s allowed to go hunt on her own and skillfully becomes the ace hunter she wanted to be….instead of the incompetent one she is in the midway point of the movie. They do show Kovu training her, but only once, and she absolutely sucks at it. We never see her getting better at all, and that’s really disappointing. Not to mention that it’s a little on the iffy side that Kovu teaches her hunting skills in the first place. Lionesses have hunting locked as their thing, but a male lion has to teach Kiara how to do it properly….

The second option I thought of was her wanting to be an explorer/adventurer, which fits right in with her personality as a cub. She was enamored with exploration, and was even incredibly interested in a place that didn’t seem to have really anything in it, but could be fascinating to someone like her who appreciates all the littler details, flora and fauna. Perhaps she could want to become a scout to report back on impeding threats to the Pride Lands or want to explore the unknown areas all around Pride Rock to find new sources of food, water and shelter in case of emergencies.

However, again, this is fully against Simba’s overprotective nature, and he frustrates her by making her strictly stay on marked paths and only go out with an escort. At the end of the movie she solves a problem for some of the animals in the Pride Lands by exploring to find them food or whatnot.

The final option I thought of was the closest to what we actually got, which is making her a sheltered princess who has heard her father prattle on about threats in the outside world so many times that she’s actually quite paranoid. The thing she ‘wants’ is more vague in this scenario. It’s more like something she needs.

She wants and needs to leave the comfort of her cave and have the courage to go outside without fearing something terrible might happen. The only reason she even goes out into the Outlands is because she gets lost after being spooked by something while walking along her marked trail. However, Kovu helps her open up and be a little braver. The incident with the alligators actually doesn’t damage her, but instead it shows her that even though scary things can happen, they can be weathered, and they can even be fun experiences. Plus, having someone with you through it makes it a lot easier to deal with.

She goes on the hunt because she’s pushed into doing it because of tradition, Simba promising this will be the only time. She tries her best, but her paranoid nature, nervousness and inexperience lead her to failure. The only reason she’s not more massively impacted by the events of the failed hunt/fire is because it lead her back to her friend Kovu.

When Kovu is banished, Kiara braves the unknown wilderness, at night even, because she loves Kovu so much that she’s able to brave her fear and go find him. This even makes the song ‘Love Will Find a Way’ have a little more impact. At the end of the movie, she stands up to her father, she’s confident in what she wants, she bravely protects Simba from Zira and even risks her life on the cliffside to save her, proving how brave and kind she is.

At the end of the movie, she becomes a brave and strong queen because that’s the lioness she wanted to be.

Those are just the options I thought of. I don’t know how her character may have been altered in The Lion Guard or if better suggestions have been made, but those three are the best ones that crossed my mind to help improve her character a bit.

The final character I should obviously talk about is Zira, who makes for a very good replace for Scar. She doesn’t have all of his finesse or full memorability, but out of all of the villains of the Disquels, she’s definitely the best, even on the occasions where the main villain returns. She’s one of very few Disquel villains who actually guns for killing and destruction, and she’s the only one who canonically dies in the end.

Zira is very much the evil mastermind who typically gets others to do her dirty work for her, but when the chips are down she will gladly take matters into her own hands. She’s ruthless, she’s hateful, she has a dose of that sarcastic bite that Scar had, and just to drive the Scar similarities home, they even put a notch in her ear so she can also have a bad guy facial deformity trope.

The best part about her is that she’s actually legitimately threatening, which is insanely impressive for a Disquel villain. They even managed to make her the tiniest bit sympathetic when it came to the death of Nuka. But they didn’t make her too sympathetic to the point where I felt bad when she died, which is also good. In fact, they link Nuka’s death to her love of Scar by having her pray to Scar to watch over Nuka during his funeral.

It’s clear that her love is conditional, though. She mourned Nuka so much because, even though he was a dolt in her eyes, he was still incredibly loyal and died trying to kill Simba for her. However, she has no qualms whatsoever about killing Kovu and Vitani because they no longer want to kill Simba or fight the Pride Landers anymore.

I just wish they bothered to explain a little more about why she’s such a massive Scar fangirl. Why does Scar mean so much to her? What did he do over his few years as king of the Pride Lands to warrant her undying devotion and servitude? Why was she seemingly not in the first movie? Where did all of these other Scar fangirl lionesses come from? They could have maybe thrown in a flashback or two to show us some reasoning behind these very vital parts of her character, but we get absolutely nothing.

Zira is also a parent, which makes her a bit of a mirror to Simba. While both parents are expecting their children to be something they don’t want to be, Simba is clearly doing it out of love while Zira continuously proves to care more about getting revenge than her own children. While Simba does his best to protect Kiara at all costs and tries to raise her as best he can while also sheltering her too much, Zira brainwashes Kovu and sculpts him into being the perfect Scar 2.0.

Neither of their parenting styles are really right, and both need to change, but the main difference is that Simba proves himself to be willing to change in the end while Zira ends up dead because she can’t let the past or Scar go so she can change for the better.

——————————-

I do believe that’s far enough for this half of the review. We’ll save everything about the actual story for the step-by-step analysis in part two! Thanks for sticking with me this far, and I hope you join me in part two for more of me overthinking stuff and rambling.

Part two coming soon….


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Dissecting the Disquels: Lilo and Stitch 2 – Stitch has a Glitch

Rating: 6/10

Plot: Stitch starts experiencing odd bouts of uncontrollable destruction. While everyone, even Lilo, starts believing Stitch is reverting back to his old ways, Jumba and Pleakley know the truth. Stitch’s molecules were never fully charged when he was created, and now he’s experiencing massive glitches in his programming that are causing these destructive episodes. They scramble to find a way to recharge him before he loses so much energy that he dies.

Meanwhile, Lilo and Stitch are preparing for a hula competition. Her mother won the competition years ago and she wants to win to make her proud. However, Stitch’s malfunctioning behavior continues to get in the way.

Breakdown: I’ve never had such massive mixed feelings for a Disquel before.

The main plot is solid. Have Stitch revert back to his destructive behavior, but make it more of a Jekyl and Hyde situation based on him glitching instead of having him turn bad for no reason. There’s a lot that could’ve been done with that, but they dropped the ball pretty bad.

We have three plots running through the movie – Lilo and Stitch’s hula plot, Nani and David are having relationship issues again and Pleakley’s being an annoying dumbass trying to ‘help’ him, and Jumba is trying to make a new fusion chamber to recharge Stitch before it’s too late.

Let’s start with Nani and David’s plot because that’s the shortest and most pointless. First of all, are these two ever happy together? I don’t remember a lot of their interactions from the TV series, and I love David a lot, he’s a great boyfriend and father/big brother figure to Lilo, but he and Nani, as a couple, seem very rocky. I feel like every time the focus is on them in this franchise, they’re having relationship issues.

Lilo and Stitch 2 Screen1

This time, as Pleakley puts it, their relationship is just fizzling. Nani doesn’t seem to be paying much attention for him or making time for him. David keeps making the effort and Nani either doesn’t acknowledge it or can’t attend to it.

I know that Nani is very busy being a young single guardian to a small child, especially in the house filled with aliens they now inhabit, but she can usually make time for Lilo and does have downtime, yet never seems to be willing to give similar attention to David. Even when they’re just having a relaxing family fun night at home, he gets shafted.

The plot is mostly just David, for some reason, listening to Pleakley’s horrible dating advice, then Pleakley himself ruins it more and Nani gets mad for some reason. The plot is resolved by David helping Nani up a mountain. Not kidding. One minute she’s giving him the silent treatment at Lilo’s hula competition, then they’re making eyes at each other when he helps her up the mountain. Truly a romance for the ages.

That doesn’t solve anything, by the way. Their relationship is still ‘fizzling’ You can’t solve actual relationship issues with goo-goo eyes.

The hula plot, which takes up more of the runtime than the glitch plot, oddly, involves Lilo and Stitch trying to come up with a hula for an upcoming competition. Her mother won the competition one year and she wants to win in order to make her mother proud of her.

Lilo and Stitch 2 Screen2

A lot of this plot is montages of them coming up with ideas, creating the hula and practicing for the hula. Some parts were entertaining and a little funny, but it really felt stretched out when we got to our third montage in this hour long movie. Not to mention that I think they’re hitting the Elvis button a bit hard in his movie. I know she loves Elvis and it does make for a good soundtrack, but I’ve seen Elvis movies with less Elvis.

There are also numerous emotional moments in this plotline because Stitch keeps destroying her plans when he has freakouts and Myrtle and her goons keep making her feel like she’s not good enough. I also really liked the ancient story they based the hula on.

I feel like Lilo was a bit out of character with Stitch, though. I know she’s emotional right now, but she never once, until the end, even questioned if something was wrong with Stitch. Instead, she just believed him to be flatout bad, told him so and said he would always be as such. Ouch.

Speaking of the moment of realization, even though the freakout that prompted that revelation was the same as all the others, she questioned if something was wrong with him this time for some reason. He cuts her cheek, even drawing blood, and the very next shot, not but five seconds later, the cut and blood are gone. Either Disney didn’t commit to this ‘shocking’ moment, the animators got lazy or they forgot.

Either way, that was an opportunity for something emotional and impacting, like Nani freaking out that Stitch actually hurt Lilo or Stitch having a horrified look on his face after he injured her and reprised the shame later after she found him on the cliffside. But, no, just Disney magic’d it off her face.

This was meant to mirror a part of Stitch’s nightmare where he does the same thing, but, again, the impact is lost if you magic it off her face.

Lilo and Stitch 2 Screen3

The ending of this plot was alright and pretty sweet. At least they didn’t go the cliché route of having her return to the competition and win, and it’s implied that Mertle definitely didn’t win because her hula was crap. I realize now that Mertle’s pretty much the only surviving embodiment of the annoying jerkass mainland tourist characters, besides the silent fat beachgoers, that they had in the original cut.

There are numerous deleted scenes from the first Lilo and Stitch movie where Lilo encounters obnoxious mainland tourists, some of which being borderline racist, but they were more or less all cut before the actual animation started. Mertle does live in Hawaii, but she’s the only white character in the entire series, and the hula implies that her father brought her family from the mainland to Hawaii to sell cheap ‘authentic’ Hawaiian merchandise.

I might be reading too much into that, but it’s interesting to consider.

Now to the actual plot of the movie, the glitch. This is the part with which I have the most problems.

First off, while it’s a solid plot, it’s ultimately wasted potential. All Stitch does is mess up a few things and give Lilo an insta-healing scratch. I didn’t want him to do too much damage or hurt people, but they had the foundation of a really decent plot here, one that could’ve been much more emotionally impacting and interesting for Stitch, but they decided to just have him be a slight nuisance.

Lilo and Stitch 2 Screen4

Secondly, half of this movie would never have happened had Jumba and Pleakley just told Lilo, Stitch and Nani what was going on. I never understood why they were keeping this a secret or why they were letting this malfunctioning destruction machine stay running loose with a small girl.

If they had just told them what was happening, they wouldn’t have treated Stitch like a monster, Stitch and Lilo would’ve never fought, Stitch would realize he’s not inherently bad and wouldn’t feel like garbage and maybe they could’ve helped save him. They also could’ve kept him contained to prevent him from causing damage and hurting people. But nope, it’s a secret for no reason.

Lastly, the resolution to this plot is so predictable it’s depressing. I predicted it by just reading the little blurb for the synopsis. Stitch causes problems, everyone gets mad at him, his glitches get too bad, death fakeout, Lilo’s love awakens him, all is well.

To make it even worse, they foreshadow the ending with Lilo’s hula story. It also has two friends being torn asunder by outside forces, resulting in one of their deaths, and love brings the other back to life.

Do I even need to mention that this lesson isn’t exactly a good one? Look, Disney, I know you love love, I know you love love=magic too, but teaching kids that love can be so powerful it can bring the dead to life is not really a healthy message.

To anyone who cares to disagree, let me remind you that Lilo is an orphan. She is probably one of the worst characters to be partaking in this trope. I just keep imagining:

Doctor: “I’m sorry, Nani and Lilo. We did everything we could to revive your parents, but I guess you just didn’t love them enough.”

Lilo and Stitch 2 Screen5

I was actually going to give this moment a pass because Stitch did spend some time in the fusion chamber before he was revived in Lilo’s arms. Maybe he got enough power and then Lilo woke him up. But then we get this exchange.

Pleakley: “But…how is it possible?”

Jumba: “It’s not!”

So, the fusion chamber seemingly had nothing to do with it. Also, not only did Lilo’s love for Stitch bring him back to life, it also fully recharged his molecules.

Yay, science?

Despite all of that, I can’t say I hated or even massively disliked this movie. It has plenty of funny moments and some pretty heartwarming ones too – the aforementioned death fakeout nearly had me getting misty-eyed, especially with the song they put in there – it’s just sloppily written and disappointing.

The art and animation are better than Stitch! The Movie. It’s somewhere between TV quality and the original movie’s quality, siding more with the movie quality.

The music is also definitely better than Stitch! The Movie with many more tracks, some new, some old, and a new vocal song made just for the movie, “Always.” which was very nice and relaxing.

The voice acting was well-done. Most of the cast reprises their roles from the original movie, except Daveigh Chase is replaced by Dakota Fanning. She does a remarkable job, though. I couldn’t even tell the difference.

I can’t believe I never realized David Ogden Stiers voiced Jumba. That’s so awesome.

All in all, the technical quality is great, but the story falls flatter than pancakes. It’s predictable out the gate, only gets more predictable with foreshadowing and most of the problems would’ve been fixed had Jumba and Pleakley just told them about what was going on. It’s not unsalvagable because it does have its moments, but it’s still a mess. It’s definitely on the higher end for a Disquel, but firmly middle of the road for a movie as a whole.

Recommended Audience: There’s kinda blood, a little, but the wound magically vanishes. Death is mentioned and there’s a reversed death. 5+

Dissecting the Disquels – The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning

Rating: 8/10

Plot: When Ariel was a child, the kingdom of Atlantica was filled with music and laughter. When her mother, Queen Athena, suddenly died, King Triton, not wanting to be reminded of the pain of losing his wife, banned all music from the kingdom.

Ten years later, the kingdom is dreary and rid of music. Everyone is miserable, but no one dare confront King Triton about it.

As Ariel gets more contemptuous over their situation, the girls’ governess, Marina, desperately vies for Sebastian’s job.

Breakdown: This movie…..

 

 

 

Has no right……

 

 

 

 

 

 

To be as good as it is.

Ariel’s Beginning is the last Disquel to be made, not counting the Tinkerbell movies, follow-ups like the Winnie the Pooh movies or movies based on Mickey and the gang. The last Disquel to be made before this one was Cinderella III (Actually, production on this movie was halted so they could get Cinderella III out sooner. Pbt), and I already explained how weird it was that that movie was so good.

What’s even weirder is the Disquel behind Cinderella III was The Fox and the Hound II……I don’t get how or why these Disquels have such stark contrasts in quality. Did they confirm that they were stopping Disquels in a few years so they decided to have their last two actually be good?

The animation here is definitely the best of the Disquels, even though we don’t get any shots that I would say are particularly amazing or anything (The shot at the end with the rainbow lights comes closest). They still have a budget and whatnot.

The voice acting is great, even Flounder, who almost seems like he’s aiming to be annoying.

The new comic relief is, bar none, the best comic relief any Disquel has come up with. Benjamin is Marina’s assistant. He’s a manatee who is very soft-spoken, almost in a Winnie the Pooh manner, and makes a lot of funny observations. He’s not a comic relief character we get often in Disney or nearly any form of media as this role is typically relegated to loud, obnoxious idiots.

While I am still very hardpressed to tell the girls apart, this movie does give more focus to Ariel’s sisters. Fans of the TV show or books might find them more memorable, but considering they barely get any screentime in the original movie and…..are they even in The Little Mermaid II? I usually forget they’re even there. It was nice to get some more characterization for them, even if a bulk of it is just “Attina’s the oldest and most responsible….and there are five others besides Ariel.”

While I can see many people wondering why The Little Mermaid needs a prequel, it does answer a question many people had about the movie – Where is Ariel’s mother? The answer is, she’s dead.

TLMAB1

I would’ve liked more time with Athena because she’s only in the opening scene and barely gets any lines. When her life and death are the main crux behind the conflict of the entire movie, you’d like to get to know her a bit more. All we know is that she looked a lot like Ariel, she was kind, she loved her family, she was deeply in love with her husband and she loved music.

Still, her death sets off the entire plot for this movie, which is good in a writing sense because it’s pretty hard to justify banning music and being so vehement about it.

However, simply banning music isn’t enough of a conflict. We still need a villain. Today’s Disquel villain is Marina Del Rey, voiced by Sally Field, because that’s about as random of a choice as anything. To her credit, Marina is a…fairly entertaining villain – leagues above Morgana anyway, but she’s….probably one of the lamest villains in Disney movies.

Which brings us to the main three problems with this movie.

1) Marina’s a weak villain.

TLMAB2

I give them credit for not trying for another Ursula clone, but that kinda makes matters worse. Unlike Morgana and Ursula, she doesn’t want power or the Trident, she doesn’t even want Triton’s job.

She wants Sebastian’s job.

Sebastian’s job.

Sebastian’s job.

She wants to be a higher grade lackey, essentially. Imagine if they made a Lion King sequel where the villain was trying to overthrow Zazu. It’s on that same level of ‘huh?’ It takes her until the very end of the movie before she even feels compelled to kill Sebastian.

She doesn’t have any sort of magic powers. The best thing she has are a team of electric eels, which are nowhere near intimidating enough to carry her. Having your main driving force being lackeys never works.

Marina’s also very showboaty and loves to wear flashy dresses, much in the same realm of a showgirl. While you could say similar things about Morgana and Ursula, they at least had the power to make it seem like they were justified in their egos, making them seem kinda badass (Ursula anyway). The showgirl thing is just part of Marina’s character, which is fine, but doesn’t seem very unique.

The Wiki compares her to Yzma (and Benjamin is, likewise, compared to Kronk), which I can see, but at least Yzma was murderous, kinda scary, has some form of magic powers and wanted the job of empress.

2) For a movie trying to highlight how grand and powerful music is, their soundtrack is not as good as it should be at all.

TLMAB3
The colors are great in this movie as well.

Compared to the other Disquels, it’s very good, but if you want me to be entranced by beautiful music, you have to have more original music in the movie, particularly lyrical songs.

There’s Athena’s Song, which is very good and a great opener to the movie.

Then there’s our villain song, Just One Mistake, which is not good as a song, but is sung just fine by Ms. Field.

Ariel’s song, I Remember, is also very good. Thank you for finally letting Jodi Benson have a song after she was robbed in The Little Mermaid II. God forbid the character known for her beautiful singing voice be allowed to sing.

Finally, we have I Will Sing, which is a non-musical number song performed by Jeannette Beyardelle, which is fine.

Other than that, we have covers of samba songs, which eat up the rest of the music-oriented parts. I have nothing against mambo, calypso, samba, etc. In fact, I enjoy them, but when you’re listening to Jump in the Line (Shake, Shake, Shake, Senora) for the third time in a row, I get kinda irritated. Also, we have an instrumental cover of Man Smart (Woman Smarter) and I couldn’t even tell it was a cover. I thought it was just random calypso music.

Being fair, the background music is great. I absolutely loved the piano music that was playing during the dialogue-free scene of Triton and Ariel before she runs away. Kudos for attempting the dialogue-free scene in the first place. A lot of animated movies, especially direct-to-DVD ones, don’t try that. It was very impacting.

3) The story can be seen as a rehash of the original movie + The climax bites.

TLMAB4

Something Ariel likes is strictly forbidden.

Her father is seemingly being unreasonable.

There’s a scene in which Triton destroys a sanctuary dedicated to this forbidden thing.

Ariel has a heated confrontation with her father about this and runs away because of it.

Triton and Ariel make up after she realizes why he was so adamant about forbidding the forbidden thing and Triton realizes he was being too harsh and restrictive.

Someone’s killed by a boat.

All of these things happen in Ariel’s Beginning, but I’d be remiss to say this movie is a rip-off of the original. It’s certainly reminiscent, but not nearly as rehashed as some other Disquels.

Something odd about this movie is, despite taking place a year before The Little Mermaid, Ariel actually seems a little more mature, intelligent and reasonable than she is in The Little Mermaid. Also, no, we don’t get a prequel explanation as to why she’s so enamored by human stuff, BUT we do get a prequel explanation as to why Triton hates human stuff so much.

The aforementioned boat death was Athena’s death scene. In the beginning of the movie, Triton, Athena, the princesses and many Atlaneans….no that’s for Atlantis. Atlanti…cans? Atlanticers?…Atlan….fish were enjoying some time in a lagoon, singing and playing along. Triton gave Athena a beautiful magic music box, which had images of Triton and Athena dancing together within it.

A pirate ship came by, and while everyone was trying to run away, Athena was attempting to save the music box. The ship crashed into her, the music box sunk and Athena passed away. While they never outright say this in any of the movies, probably because it would’ve been difficult to show it in this movie and Athena’s story hadn’t been made in the original movie, it can easily be surmised that Triton grew to hate humans because they were responsible for his beloved’s death.

TLMAB5

In regards to the climax, it’s incredibly weak. It is, by far, the worst part of the movie. Marina sics her electric eels on Ariel and Sebastian to keep them from making her lose her job (even though, considering her job involves caring for the princesses, having one die on her watch likely would’ve gotten her fired anyway)

The eels pointlessly stare at them for eons after having them cornered, Flounder, of all characters, saves them. Marina basically has a comedy face-off with Sebastian and, while stuck in a rock formation, tries to crush him, but ends up creating a death fake-out with Ariel, which is pointless because, being a prequel, we know she’ll live.

Then she straight up vanishes, Entirely. The plot forgets about her until the end credits, which suddenly get interrupted by her in prison. It’s like they forgot to include an ending for her until they were already editing the credits together.

Benjamin’s her prison psychiatrist for some reason. The end.

While these problems are very apparent, I still have to say this is one of the best and most enjoyable Disquels by a long shot. It might even contend TLK2 for top spot, and I never much cared for the original Little Mermaid. It has pretty good sentimentality, some good humor (I loved the scene where Marina parodies Ariel’s crescendo scene on the rock, even if it has been done many times by this point, and doesn’t make sense given that this is a prequel, thus Ariel hasn’t done that yet) and a good deal of fun. If the ending was either much darker or had about 20x more action, and it had a more serious or threatening villain, it’d definitely be the best Disquel.

Recommended Audience: They do say the dreaded d-word (died) and one character dies kinda off-screen-ish but other than that, nothing. 5+

Dissecting the Disquels: Stitch! The Movie

* “Meet two other experiments, see previews of about ten others and watch the TV series and other sequels to get at least glimpses of the rest. Also, 625 is not their friend, I don’t know why he’s in the dune buggy or hanging out with Lilo and Stitch.”…What? Not a catchy tagline?

Rating: 7/10

Plot: Dr. Hamsterviel, former evil assistant of Jumba, is after the other 625 experiments that came before Stitch. In an effort to retrieve them, he enlists the help of Gantu, who kidnaps Jumba and obtains the pod for experiment 625. Lilo and Stitch have to protect Stitch’s cousins and rescue Jumba or else the universe will be threatened by the powers of the failed experiments.

Breakdown: We’re kinda nudging what might be considered a real Disquel here, but it fits the criteria well enough. It’s a sequel of what many would call a recent Disney classic. It was a direct-to-DVD movie. And, best of all, it’s obviously masquerading as a sequel when it’s really the pilot to a TV series.

However, unlike many other Disquels, I think this works quite well as both a sequel and a TV pilot.

Exploring what the other 625 experiments are like is a valid question left behind from the original movie. One can assume that a good chunk of them are just duds, but many of them have to have amazing powers and abilities as well as interesting character designs.

Finding and reforming each experiment by finding where they truly belong is actually a great idea for a long-running series, even if we don’t ever get to formerly meet all 625 experiments (Damn the Disney 65 episode rule), and this movie sets up this plot in such a way that doesn’t seem incredibly forced or like it’s a bunch of episodes stitched (puns!) together. It’s also interesting to note, though it’s not mentioned in the movie, that each experiment had a different purpose in addition to power set. While Stitch was designed purely for chaos and destruction, other experiments were designed with different purposes such as psychological warfare and elemental manipulation.

Even the art and animation don’t take a huge hit. It’s obviously nowhere near the original movie’s, but it’s still some of the best animation we’ve gotten for a Disquel. It’s somewhere between the original movie’s and the TV show’s quality. Some of the CGI is noticeable, but it’s alright.

The writing is still pretty good, though what the hell is up with David? Was he always such an apathetic asswad? ‘Gee, a little girl and her alien pet as well as her two alien babysitters are missing, the spaceship is missing, the door is broken down and there’s a big hole in the roof?….Eh I’m sure she’s fine. I’ll fall asleep watching TV while her older sister, my sorta girlfriend, searches over the island for her in a panic.’

There are still many jokes and funny scenes that work well and I was never rolling my eyes at anything. However, unlike in the original movie, there is a distinct lack of heartwarming scenes. Lilo and Stitch share one while imprisoned, but that’s about it.

The fact that Stitch can’t fit in with people also doesn’t mesh very well with the end of the first movie. I thought he was going out in public and being around people just fine, but here he is making almost as much of a mess as he was when he was evil. They didn’t need to make Stitch feel like an outsider to make the connections to his ‘cousins’ worthwhile. How about him wanting to give his cousins what he’s found? A true home, family and happiness.

At the end of the day, this is still one of the better Disquels and it actually spawned a TV series that was pretty good. I followed it somewhat closely when I was younger, and I enjoyed it a lot. It was interesting to see the various experiments and their varying powers and personalities. I may even do a Cartoon Step-by-Step for it.

It’s certainly not as grand as the first movie, and the tension is basically non-existent due to everything about Hamsterviel being a joke (and the whole ‘I’m a hamster not a gerbil/rat/whathaveyou’ schtick is already really old) and the fact that the only experiment he has in his possession is also an annoying joke.

Experiment 625, later named Reuben, is obviously the last experiment to be made before Stitch. He has all of the powers and abilities of Stitch, but the catch is that he’s incredibly lazy and never follows orders. His one schtick, that never was or is funny, is that he does nothing but make and eat tons of sandwiches, hence his name. That’s it. How funny. Bust a gut.

Still, it’s a fun movie that doesn’t lose the style or appeal of the original movie. It’s probably the shortest of the Disquels, clocking it at a flat hour including credits, but it has more quality than several Disquels combined.

As a final note, there’s no real memorable soundtrack this time around. The original Lilo and Stitch had several Elvis songs as well as numerous Hawaiian songs made specifically for the movie. However, here, all we have is one Elvis song and one custom Hawaiian song that isn’t even really all that Hawaiian. Plus, I think that song was made specifically for the TV series not necessarily the movie because that song, Aloha e Komo Mai, will later be the Lilo and Stitch The Series theme song.

Oh well, at least there’s no song about friendship or makeovers.

Recommended Audience: E for everyone!

Final Notes: I have a Stitch Doll from the Disney Store. It’s one of my favorite things that my dad ever got me.

Also, I’m aware of the Stitch anime and the Chinese cartoon. I haven’t seen either and I’m not entirely sure I will.

Dissecting the Disquels: Kronk’s New Groove (The Emperor’s New Groove 2)

qtz3l9y

Rating: 6.5/10

Plot: Kronk has been living a happy life in the village since the end of the last movie. He has a good job as a cook, he’s the leader of a Squirrel Scout troupe and everyone around town loves him. However, he’s shaken when his father, Papi, announces that he’s coming for a visit. Kronk has always yearned for his father’s approval, but has never been able to get any recognition since his father finds everything he enjoys to be silly, and believes a successful life can never be achieved without a house on a hill, a wife and kids. Kronk explains to his boss that he had most of that stuff once, but lost it all. When he’s done with his stories, Papi arrives, and Kronk has to convince Chicha, Pacha’s wife, and their kids to pretend to be his wife and kids for one last chance at a thumbs up from Papi.

Breakdown: Some of you have been following Dissecting the Disquels since the start, and we’re nearing the end of the road (about four left after this, give or take). By now, you’ve probably caught on to the familiar formulas Disney tends to use when it comes to Disquels.

Almost all Disney sequels follow one of these structures.

1 – The child of the main character from the first movie having their own adventure, which is the first movie either redone or in reverse.

2 – A prequel or midquel no one asked for and answers questions no one had.

3 – Three stories stitched together, pretending to be a full movie when, in reality, it’s actually a pilot to a failed or aired TV series.

You should be able to tell by the plot synopsis which route this movie takes.

So take a stab at an answer. Which do you think it is?

If you answered 3, you’re right! Though, don’t feel bad if you answered 1 or 2 because even those are partially right.

While Kronk isn’t Kuzco’s kid, they do make off like this is a replica of the first movie in numerous ways. I’ll get more into details later, but the very start of the movie has Kronk in a bad situation narrating how his life was awesome and asks how he got in this situation, like Kuzco does in the start of the first movie. The first song of the movie is a choir/soul song singing Kronk’s praises like the first movie did with Kuzco (except it’s totally different because whereas Kuzco had a man singer, Kronk has a woman singer.) and the finale answers where the first scene came from and so on.

This is a sequel, not a midquel or prequel, but it does delve into Kronk’s backstory (gotta love the recurring trope of compelling backstory=daddy issues) and answers questions no one had like ‘What happened to Kronk after the first movie?’ ‘Did Yzma ever turn back into a human?’ ‘What happened to that restaurant Kuzco and Pacha stopped at during the last movie?’

As for the stuff about being a first movie replicant….

KNGSCREE3

You know how many Disquels seem like they’re pretending to be the first movie or have the wrapper of the first movie and bank on that being enough to hook in viewers? Those movies never seem like they care to try to be like the first movie and do the bare minimum to remind viewers that it is indeed still a movie in the franchise. This movie, however, is doing its damnedest to try to be the first movie in every way short of just taking a DVD of the first movie and printing the poster art for this movie on the front.

The weird thing is, the story isn’t very much reminiscent of the first movie. Kronk’s not really getting his groove back. He never lost it. He never gets turned into a llama or any other animal or anything. Plus, the fact that this movie is technically three stories in one means the focal goal really can’t be anything like that.

What I mean by this movie being a replicant is, holy hell, they love to throw every single joke they ever made from the first movie at your face. Outside of some jokes exclusive to Kuzco, and I’ll get to his role soon enough, they take every notable joke and scene from the first movie and recreate it.

For many of them, they recreate them and then run them into the ground. For example, Kronk’s shoulder devil and angel appear way too many times (they even give Tipo, Pacha’s son, his own pair so they can milk the living hell out of it), they repeat the animated ‘plan’ quickly narrated by the planner schtick a couple of times, they let the uncomfortable Yzma seeming like she’s sexually alluring someone go on for nearly an entire scene etc.

Most of the other references are just one-offs, but the insane repetition of jokes doesn’t end there. When they have an original joke, they also like to run that into the ground, even if the joke isn’t funny. For instance, during the second segment, they have Kronk mark his box of eggs with ‘Kronk’s eggs. Property of Kronk. Do not touch except for Kronk.’ then his love interest, Ms. Birdwell, has a box of raisins which have ‘Birdwell’s raisins. Property of Birdwell. Do not touch except for Birdwell.’ written on them. Then ‘Tipo’s itching powder. Property of Tipo. Do not touch except for Tipo.’

That wasn’t a funny joke the first time, yet they deemed it funny enough to repeat three times. They not only have it in writing, either. They need to have someone read each item out loud, subsequently wasting five seconds of your life on purpose each time.

That’s not to say everything in the comedy department’s a failure. I will admit, a couple jokes actually warranted a chuckle out of me, which is more than I can say for nearly any other Disquel. That was when they were actually making jokes that kept the spirit of the original movie’s comedy instead of just referencing it or directly ripping off its jokes.

They start getting a steady rhythm or ‘groove’, if you will, and then they screw it up by repeating a joke, making a first movie reference or repeating a first movie reference. Maybe this movie is more accurately titled than I thought, because I wanted Kronk’s New Groove to get its groove back quite often.

In a story perspective, we can break up the film fairly easily. We start with Kronk flailing around in a bunch of cheese as he narrates to us about how he got into that situation. We flashback to earlier that day and get the Kronk praise song I mentioned. Kronk has made a good life for himself as a cook at the restaurant Kuzco and Pacha visited in the first movie, and everyone loves him. However, he gets a llama-gram (which is not delivered by a llama so I guess this is just another first movie reference) that says his father, Papi, will be coming for a visit soon.

KNGSCREE1

Papi is under the belief that Kronk has a successful life as a businessman with a house on a hill, a nice wife and several kids – the requirements to be successful per Papi’s guidelines. Papi never approved of the way Kronk acted, such as speaking to squirrels and cooking. He basically forced Kronk to give those things up, telling him he’d never be successful unless he got serious.

Kronk explains to his boss that he once did have the house and family, but was unable to keep any of it.

This leads us to the story of the house. But first, an interlude by Kuzco. Since fans of the first movie are probably wondering when Kuzco will make an appearance at this point in the movie, they give Kuzco the responsibility of popping up once in a while as an interlude either before a segment or in the middle of it. They’re all not funny, none of them have a point and they only serve the purpose of giving David Spade a paycheck.

He shows up before the first segment, in the middle of the first segment, in the middle of the second segment and then finally shows up in the actual movie for a few minutes at the very end.

This first segment interlude has Kuzco merely telling us, over and over and over and over, because repetition is this movie’s bread and butter, that this is Kronk’s movie – not his. Because we’d never get that from the fact that this movie’s called KRONK’S New Groove. Most of the time, they even omit the ‘The Emperor’s New Groove 2’ part of the title. It’s officially just Kronk’s New Groove.

KNGSCREE2
I don’t know where they got that DVD art. I’ve never seen it outside of the movie.

And that’s all he does. Fun fun. Why is he one of the most prominent characters on the DVD covers and promotional art, again?

The actual first segment is about Kronk running into Yzma yet again. She’s returned to a human state, but maintains a cat tail. After an incredibly long scene of Yzma flirting with Kronk to seduce him into her plan (including, yes, the reference to her raising her dress and showing leg, which is actually nonsensical here because she’s trying to show him something she’s stepping on and her dress isn’t long enough to warrant needing to do that for that task.) we’re made privy to her scheme.

Yzma has a plan to sell a youth potion to the elderly people Kronk has befriended. She needs Kronk to sell it because he’s built a good rapport with them so it will be easy for them to trust his pitch. He reluctantly agrees because he needs the money to build a house on a hill to impress Papi.

We get a song break that….I’m not sure I like…..I like Eartha Kitt a lot. I loved her in Batman, I love her as a singer and as a person, and I hated it when she died. This is also her second to last film role before her death. However….she sounds really….odd here. For some reason, she sounds like she has a Russian accent half the time and her singing ability is just off-base. I’m not sure if she was sick and that was affecting her ability to talk or sing properly, but she just sounds weird in this movie.

KNGSCREE6

Long story short, the people nab up the youth potion and eventually become addicted to it, Kronk becomes rich and buys the senior center from the desperate-for-money old folks, which he destroys for the sake of building his house, and Yzma reveals that she’s just putting sewer sludge into a bottle and selling it.

Kuzco interrupts again just to tell the audience that Yzma’s a snake oil salesman and this whole thing’s a scam for some greater scheme…..Thanks Kuzco. I’m sure you educated the butternut squash that didn’t deduce that at this point.

Kronk sees that Rudy, the old man who threw off Kuzco’s groove in the first movie, is naked and begging for money to buy youth potion. He and his friends sold everything they had, including their clothes, in order to get more youth potion. Kronk spots him a bottle and he starts acting like Gollum from Lord of the Rings….Literally. That’s the reference they’re making. Kronk, with the help of his shoulder angel, realizes that Rudy doesn’t look any different, so the potion must be a sham.

KNGSCREE7

This is just stupid. Rudy needs to actually realize that he doesn’t look any different before he realizes that the potion’s a placebo. Tricking yourself into believing it’s making you feel better because you trust Kronk is one thing. Ignoring that the outside does not match the inside…..especially when naked……is another.

Yzma’s real scam was to get all of the elderly people on her side so she could win an election for emperor. They brought up that it’s odd that it’s suddenly an electoral position, but they don’t explain why Kuzco doesn’t seem to be running a campaign if it is (Kuzco voluntarily giving up an opportunity to partake in an activity that is literally nothing but speaking highly of him? Yeah, not happening) nor do they explain why the elderly vote is so vital to her campaign. Only elderly people are buying and using this potion – I can’t imagine elderly people were such a huge majority of the population back in Incan times.

Yzma get ousted as a fraud, the old people chase her through the city and they do that bit from the first movie where they pan out far away to see her on top of a huge overhang. They very nearly redo the ‘I win’ joke from the first movie, but Yzma again turns into a tiny cute animal, this time on purpose so they won’t attempt to hurt her. Little bunny Yzma rejoices in victory, but is carried away by a hawk and we’re left to assume she got ripped apart and eaten.

KNGSCREE8

The lesson of this segment, by the way, is that you’re only as old as you feel….which 1) is useless to the demographic this movie is aimed towards 2) doesn’t make a lot of sense anyway because a lot of these guys felt old to start with. They didn’t want to improve their looks so much as how they felt.

In order to make up for what he did, Kronk gives his super cool new house to the seniors and that’s how Kronk lost his house.

Next up, the story of how Kronk had and lost the love of his life. Kronk goes to a competition for Squirrel Scouts when he meets a woman named Ms. Birdwell. He falls in love according to schedule a la Disney Princess, but the romance is ended before it even starts when Kronk’s fun loving scouts cannon-ball the more refined campers of Birdwell’s troupe, getting them wet….yeah. That’s the huge conflict. The swimming children….got wet…so Birdwell’s furious. Oh and one of the girls got her dolly wet, so that makes her super furious. Must suck to live in a world where shit doesn’t dry.

Because of this, Kronk and Birdwell become incredibly determined to beat each other in the competition and run their kids ragged in training. They realize what idiots they’re being so they decide to make it up to their campers by making raisin bread. Which leads us to the ‘property of….’ yadda yadda ‘joke’.

Birdwell and Kronk fight some more, but when things get out of hand, they feel guilty and start making bread together, which leads to our second song…..a disco song, which is fine….but….uh….the background animation is just Kronk and Birdwell being luvey duvey with each other and uh….some of the animation is…..*cough* I might just be reading too much into some of it, but you can’t tell me there’s not something off about her saying ‘get out your oven mitts, because it’s about to get hot’ followed by this…

This KNGGIF1fixed

and especially this KNGGIF2FIXEDThere is no way I’m reading too much into that. Their movements, their position, the camera angle, Kronk’s facial expression. I was surprised that shot even got by the censors.

In addition to the Aladdin 3 effect of making a bunch of Disney movie references during this montage (Lady and the Tramp, Tarzan) third-party movie references (Titanic) and for some reason a Michael Jackson reference (hot on the heels of his second child molestation allegation. Smart, Disney) it also seems like this whole montage is one big reference because this is the second time I’ve seen a main character in an animated Disney sequel fall in love through a disco dance montage – The first being A Very Goofy Movie (should that be considered a Disquel? Hm.)

While I can dance along to the song just fine (and no one shall ever see me dance) I have to say, this montage goes on for too long. They just make various references, dance and gaze creepily into each other’s eyes.

Montage over, Kronk and Birdwell are ungodly luvey duvey now (as in, I was gagging at how luvey duvey they make these two in the proceeding scenes) and Kuzco butts in again. What does he have to say now?

Nothing. He cries because it’s so romantic then tells the audience to excuse him because he needs a moment.

KNGSCREE9

That’s it.

That’s all.

Kuzco has less to do in this movie than Slowking did in Pokemon the Movie 2000.

They make up with the campers and go on with their friendly competition. They end up tied in wins with the tiebreaker being the cheer off. However, there’s a snag.

Kronk told everyone to do whatever it takes to win the previous day, so Tipo decides to put itching powder in the grip chalk before the other team does their routine. He tells Kronk right as their routine starts and the team falls, with Birdwell falling into the mud. She finds Tipo’s itching powder bag, and Kronk takes the heat for it, since he feels guilty for putting Tipo in that situation.

Despite this being a clear misunderstanding (it’s not like he told Tipo to cheat, and I can bet she also said something similar to ‘do whatever it takes to win’ to her campers) Kronk doesn’t even really try to patch things up and Birdwell leaves in a fury.

And that’s how Kronk lost his woman.

The final story takes place in the present, though still flashbacked slightly, and Papi arrives. This segment is by far the worst and the most annoying to sit through.

I hate stories where the main setup is fueled by lies and deception that the audience is aware of. It makes everything incredibly predictable and awkward. However, they amped up the sitcom awkwardness to levels I never even imagined. Kronk asks Pacha is he can borrow his wife and kids and pretend he owns his house just for however long Papi stays. Before he can solidify agreement, Pacha runs off, thinking he’s got a better idea, and Papi arrives, leaving Chicha with the baton.

He’s short.

KNGSCREE10

It’s funny because they thought this intimidating guy would be tall, considering how huge Kronk is. Haha.

She agrees to help and everything goes alright for a while until Pacha comes out in drag, claiming he’s Kronk’s wife. Normally this would be the end of the road for the charade, but Kronk says he’s Chicha’s mother. Papi starts hitting on Pacha….Hah…..Wait, where’s Kronk’s mom? Is she dead? You create a backstory no one asked for and then forget a big aspect of it? I’m surprised they didn’t take the obvious joke of her being dead because this is a Disney movie.

Kronk also tries to hide the fact that he’s the cook at the restaurant. Rudy then comes in pretending he’s Kronk’s wife. Then some of Kronk’s Squirrel Scouts get together in a big coat to pretend they’re Kronk’s wife. Some other elderly people arrive in diapers to pretend they’re Kronk’s kids. Kronk’s two old secretaries from the first segment arrive claiming they’re his wives. Finally, Kuzco arrives in drag pretending to be Kronk’s wife. At least he acknowledges that he weaseled himself into the movie. Points off for bragging about it instead of it being a confession, though.

KNGSCREE11

….Is it weird that I think Kuzco looked better as a llama in drag?

Anyway, Kronk left some cheese in the pressure cooker, the result is what you’d expect, so we’re back to the beginning of the movie. He confesses to his father and then realizes that he is successful because he has a bunch of great friends.

His father’s not so quick to accept that because, by his definition, he still has nothing. His friends, however, reveal that he used to have a big house, but gave it up for his friends and he used to have a girlfriend, but gave her up to protect Tipo. And it’s during the predictable speech and group shot that you realize Kuzco has gone missing again. Do they need to pay David Spade for screentime even if he’s not talking?

They also give us this lovely shot of Chicha.

derp

Sweetie….you okay?

The expected happens again after the speech as Papi realizes that Kronk’s right and gives him the thumbs up he always yearned for.

Because we need every possible thread tied up neat in a bow, Tipo arrives. He sneaked out earlier after he started feeling guilty about Kronk’s situation since he was responsible for what happened with Birdwell. As a surprise, he brought Birdwell with him. By the way, did Pacha and Chicha get replaced with Didi and Stu Pickles? Tipo’s been gone for about an hour. Pay attention to your children!

They don’t say Tipo explained everything to Birdwell, but she has forgiven Kronk and they reunite. They imply that Papi and Kronk’s boss will get together and then they dance to a reprise of the first song, which, now that I’m hearing it, says ‘be true to your groove’. Which means this movie should moreso be called ‘Kronk’s Old Groove – Now with 50% more parental respect.’

We still have Yzma’s plot thread to take care of, so we see Yzma in a nest when the eggs next to her hatch into cute little birdies, who then turn into crazed monsters and we’re again left to assume she’s ripped apart and eaten. Roll the seven minutes of credits in the hour and 14 minute long movie.

The en….wait.

During the credits, there are a bunch of photos. Through these photos we see Kronk and Birdwell getting married, going on their honeymoon and buying a house on a hill as Papi gives them a thumbs up.

……..So….doesn’t that mean….the whole message of the movie is now moot? Now Kronk has 2/3 of everything Papi required for him to be seen as successful, and he’s probably on his way to getting the third if that bread kneading scene is any indication. I know they wanted to drive home the happy ending, but come on. Don’t unravel your entire plot. We can deduce that they get those things down the line.

———————————

This movie received the predictable terrible to mixed reviews and, even over 10 years after its release, it still holds a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes…..which is completely unjustified in my opinion.

Anyone who left a rating on RT, go watch the Disquel garbage I’ve watched then go back and write a review. You fuckers gave Hunchback 2 a 30%, Cinderella 2 an 11%, Tarzan 2 a 33%, Tarzan and Jane a 17%, Belle’s Magical World a 17% – one of the few Disquels that actually seems like it’s trying to give a shit and, hell, is just actually trying….a 0%. Jeez, no wonder RT and IMDB seems like two entirely different worlds at times….

I agree with some of the reviewers that Kronk is funny in smaller does and just cannot hold a whole movie on his own. Nor can he probably hold a TV series, which is why this never took off.

However, The Emperor’s New Groove did get a TV series, though it was still based on Kuzco. It was called The Emperor’s New School, and it was about Kuzco needing to graduate school before he can officially take his place as emperor (just go with it). I’ve watched a few episodes of it and it was fine. Kuzco’s left best in smaller doses, too, though, especially when he’s hitting on the TV series love interest of Malina.

Oddly, while Kronk is also in that series, he’s back to being Yzma’s crony and Ms. Birdwell is no where to be found.

This movie was both better and worse than I thought it’d be. Usually the Disquels that employ structure 3 are basically unsalvageable, but this one’s entirely watchable and even a little funny. It’s not great, there are some spots that are actually terrible and the whole structure is a complete mess, but, like I mentioned before, when it gets in its groove, it’s one of the stronger Disquels.

They poke fun at themselves, they poke legitimate fun at Disney itself, and there are some good and funny moments here. It’s just a shame because it could’ve been a lot better. They obviously had a drive to do it, but the stories they ended up using were just either bland or cliché as cliches can possibly go without causing a rift in time and space.

It’s also one of those movies that reeks of production problems. I can’t find anywhere that states such a thing, but it seriously feels like the writers and director wanted one thing, a legit sequel, while the higher ups forced them to make it into a series of episodes for a failed pilot.

I would not be at all surprised given the first movie’s troubled production history, but let’s save that story for another time.

The art and animation is lower quality than the first movie, of course, but it’s on the high end for direct to DVD Disquels. Despite Derp!Chicha, there aren’t that many odd frames and the animation is fluid enough.

The music is also better than Disquels usually give us. I’m not a big fan of the feature presentation version of Feels Like A Million by Eartha Kitt, but the end credits version where it’s less filtered and is half lounge-y sounds much better. Let’s Groove by Earth, Wind and Fire is something I can listen to anytime. Be True to Your Groove by Sandy Barber is eh, and the orchestral music is fitting and nice, especially the very last end credits song. It can get a little too doinky, though.

The voice acting is great, barring Eartha Kitt’s odd voice work here and there. Nearly everyone reprises their roles, including John Goodman, but I almost wish David Spade had just said no to this because his role is entirely pointless from start to finish. I don’t care how much it’s not his story – Rudy, Pacha, Chicha, the kids, even Bucky the Squirrel had 1000x more to do in this movie than Kuzco did. It’s almost like they thought no one would buy it if they didn’t see Kuzco throughout the movie and on the artwork.

Give this movie a shot if you liked the style of the original movie. It really does make an effort at both trying to stay true to the original and being funny on its own, but be prepared for a lot of first movie references, beating the dead horses that are some of the original and referenced jokes and just dealing with the typical blahness that comes with Disquel-itis.

Recommended Audience: Surprisingly, there are several instances of sexual themes, and it can’t all be my dirty mind. Rudy gets naked once, but you obviously can’t actually see anything. Plus, some references no kid would ever get but that doesn’t matter much. 7+

Dissecting the Disquels: Beauty and the Beast – Belle’s Magical World

nmw91ph

Plot: Yet another mid-quel taking place sometime after the wolf attack but before the confrontation with Gaston, this movie consists of four short stories about Belle and the Beast and their adventures in the castle.

Breakdown: Oh boy. Just what I always wanted. Another crappy Disquel that isn’t really a movie so much as a bunch of episodes for a TV series that never happened stitched together like some sort of gaping wound….

At the end of my last Beauty and the Beast Disquel review, I noted that I had some hope for Magical World since Enchanted Christmas turned out to be okay.

I should learn never to have hope.

Soon after I finished that review, I started looking up reviews and info on Magical World, and hoo boy it’s much less well-received than Enchanted Christmas.

Not many people have a good word to say about it beyond ‘well, it’s a decent enough thing to entertain your very young kids with for an hour’. You know what else can entertain very young kids for an hour? Making pies out of dirt. An hour-long loop of fart noises. Playing ‘how much crayon can I get on the wall before Mommy or Daddy starts screaming?’

And do I even need to bring up the obvious again? Just as a refresher; this midquel is pointless. Most midquels are pointless, but the ones for Beauty and the Beast are especially pointless because they usually in some way involve mending bridges between Belle and Beast or worrying about if they’ll get together or not and whether they’ll turn back to people or not. We’ve seen the movie. They do. Tension over.

What were they even thinking trying to make this as a TV series? Were they really planning on making a TV series based on the midquel adventures of Belle and Beast? How much time went on during that short interlude between the wolf attack and Gaston? How much material could you possibly justify? It would just end up either being filler crap about the servants or the same arguing to resolution shtick that Belle and Beast go through nearly every time they see each other. That makes some damn good entertaining television.

This is actually one movie where it would really only work as a TV series if they focused on the original couple’s kids. I’m not exactly certain what they’d do with that, but at least it would be fresh material.

Enough stall tactics; let’s break this down.

Segment one – The Perfect Word

BATBBMWSCREEN1

We start off with Belle and Beast having a meal together. Belle is trying to tell Beast about a new book she’s reading, Cinderella (well, that’s kinda meta isn’t it?) while Beast is trying to be civil and kind to impress Belle.

Beast has a hot flash and can’t stand the heat in the room, but he’s advised to not open a window because it’s still winter and the servants and Belle will be very cold. He tries to bear it for a while but ends up demanding to have the window open anyway. He goes on a tirade saying he doesn’t have to be considerate of others because it’s his castle and he’ll do what he wants. He has a huge-ass temper tantrum, smacking away a new character, Webster, in the process.

Webster is a dictionary. Yup.

Belle says he’s being rude and foolish. She storms off and Beast flips the table in anger.

Later, the two refuse to apologize until the other apologizes. They’re so adamant in not being the first to apologize that Webster, LePlume, a fountain pen, and Crane, a stack of papers, decide to forge a note to Belle pretending to be Beast apologizing.

Let me pause for a second and say, why yes, LePlume does indeed literally translate to ‘The pen.’ Between this and Webster, you guys are being so damn creative with your naming today. Only one that is a bit creative is Crane, which, from what I gather, was based on Thomas Crane, the owner of a paper mill that Paul Revere stabled his horses in and became one of the most widely known paper distributors ever.

But really, if you had to become an object, how much would it suck to be a stack of paper? You’re vulnerable to basically everything, except rocks if decision making games have taught me anything, you’re limited in supply and you’re disposable.

They forge the note, and Belle, who has been crying and waiting on baited breath for Beast’s apology (even rushing to the door and fixing her hair when she thinks he’s come to apologize….) accepts it and goes to apologize to Beast as well. Because apparently calling someone rude and foolish when they have a gigantic hissy fit because they’re hot and physically assaulting someone because of aforementioned frustration is something that warrants apology.

BATBBMWSCREEN2
She’s clearly in the wrong.

They make up and Beast tries to listen to Belle reading him a book. However, he’s loudly eating a snack as she reads, so she can’t concentrate enough to continue. Beast decides to control himself and puts aside the snack for later, telling her to continue. Cogsworth praises him for his restraint and says he wouldn’t want to have to write another apology letter.

At this, Beast is both infuriated and confused since he knows no such thing about a letter. Belle shows it to him and Webster, LePlume and Crane admit what they did. Beast chases them throughout the castle, and Belle tries to protect them from his wrath. He spares their lives, but banishes them from the castle and says if anyone tries to offer them comfort, he’ll punish them.

If you think about it, at least two of these guys are as good as dead anyway. Remember, Webster’s a book and Crane is a stack of paper. They’re out in the snow. Crane should’ve been dead shortly after hitting the ground and Webster would surely die in an hour or so.

The three traipse through the woods, hoping to find help at the nearest town. Because yeah, I can see everyone being helpful to talking library items.

Meanwhile, Belle beats herself up for not being the one to apologize to Beast….Girl, you barely had anything to apologize for. You rightfully called him rude and foolish after he blew up, blasted winter winds into the room and bitchslapped Webster. Sure it’s not nice to insult people, but stop acting like you were more in the wrong than he was because that could not be further from the truth. It’s not in the same atmosphere as the truth.

The three get lost and end up back at the castle. They don’t want to enter the castle because they’re afraid of what Beast will do to them, but Belle insists they come inside to get warm and dry. And in the cases of Webster and Crane, to get all wrinkly, weird-feeling and discolored. She says that the Beast may do and say terrible things sometimes, but deep down inside he has a good heart.

….He just kicked out three of his servants into the dead of winter and offered them no means of protection. Two of these servants could have easily died or at least suffered serious damage/injury the instant they hit the snow. But yeah, he’s a precious flower.

BATBBMWSCREEN3

Beast overhears this, and as Belle tries to warm up them up, he apologizes to her for his behavior and apologizes to Webster, LePlume and Crane as well. As he leaves he says in a creepily happy tone “That was so easy! I feel happy now! Happier than I can remember!” Uhh….even people who aren’t raging assholes have difficulty admitting they were wrong and apologizing. It’s hardly easy, and considering it took days of pouting and more temper tantrums including him literally screaming “I will NEVERA…POLOGIZE!” I’d say it was pretty hard for you, furball.

And just making up with Belle makes him that happy? Yeah, sure.

Oh yeah and there’s a side plot with Lumiere having an argument with a chandelier and also having trouble apologizing. This is basically filler because it’s just reinforcing the lesson, and the only reason I really bring this up is because the chandelier’s name? Chandelieria. Yeah, that’s what they decided to name her. Chandelieria.

At least when they gave LePlume his name they were using the French word for pen that English speaking countries don’t use. The English word for chandelier IS chandelier. If you’re going to be that lazy, let’s just call Lumiere ‘Candlestick’ and Cogsworth ‘Clock’.

And I’m calling bull on that being her name because almost always is her name being pronounced just ‘Chandelier’ Sometimes it sounds like ‘Chandeliera” but I always figured that the ending ‘a’ was a part of the accent. Never do they ever sound like they’re adding ‘ia’ to the end.

After that subplot is over, they extend the episode even more by them all reflecting upon the lesson of forgiveness.

And we’re still not done because we have to slice in a song break for some stupid reason. Couldn’t have put that in the middle of the episode or something? It’s just so jarring because after the scene on the veranda it, by all means, seems like a ‘fade out to credits’ moment. The music swells, we fade to black and then we get a random song.

BATBBMWSCREEN4

The song is called ‘Listen with our Hearts’…..and it’s still repetitive parroting of the forgiveness lesson. Belle and Beast have lots of trouble communicating properly, they fight a lot because of it, but later when they’ve had time to cool off and take the time out to understand the other, they make up and love and romance and blah blah. The song itself is actually pretty decent, but it is so jarring in its placement and is really just more filler.

Holy crap, what a load of……well, crap. That whole shitstorm happened all because Beast had a massive tantrum over being hot. I get that he probably runs warmer than most people because of the fur and all, but it’s winter and they’re not near a source of heat or anything besides Lumiere and Chandelier, and, no, I’m not adding the ‘ia’.

There’s really nothing that seems to be spurring on his near heat stroke. Really, any normal person would just say ‘Excuse me, Belle, but I feel overheated. I am going to get some fresh air. Would you like to join me?’ If Beast was too perturbed to think of saying that himself, you’d think Cogsworth or Lumiere would suggest that. But no, he demands the window be open and then goes on an asshole spree. Between the massive mood swings and the hot flash, I’d say Beast is just going through menopause.

Then they have to act like friggin’ five year olds and do that stupid ‘I’m not apologizing until he/she apologizes’ crap. Something that probably could’ve been fixed if they reminded Beast or Belle of the rose and their current situation.

But, again, no, they have to make up a lie that was inevitably going to be uncovered and Beast has to completely overreact. His servants have done much worse to him without them being punished too severely yet lying in an effort to fix his relationship to Belle is something banish-worthy? Especially in the middle of winter. Especially when the servants are porous pieces of stationary.

Segment two – Fifi’s Folly

BATBBMWSCREEN5

This one can be summed up rather quickly. It’s the fifth anniversary of Fifi (the feather duster) and Lumiere’s first date. While Fifi is super excited about it, Lumiere just barely remembers. He asks for Belle’s help in not only making the night a replica of their first date, but he also needs help writing his feelings out on a cheat sheet since he has trouble doing it on the fly.

As Belle helps Lumiere in secret, Fifi follows them every step of the way, getting increasingly angry as she believes Lumiere is romancing Belle in the same manner that he romanced her on their first date. Because, yeah, I’m so sure he’d seduce Belle and screw over their chances of being turned back to humans….oh and yeah, Beast would turn him into a pile of melted wax and brass if he ever found out.

When everything’s set up for the date, Fifi explodes in a rage of jealousy and anger, consistently calling Belle terrible names behind her back. She decides if she can’t have her great anniversary date with Lumiere, no one will. So she cuts the strap of the ‘sleigh’ about three quarters of the way to ensure that Belle and Lumiere will crash and friggin’ DIE when they have their sleigh ride.

Oh and just to prove how stupid and angry Fifi is, she doesn’t realize that having a sleigh ride in a modified punch bowl pulled by a small dog-footrest would be a bit on the impossible side for Belle….

Fifi’s about to leave the castle forever when she’s stopped by Lumiere who explains that the date was for their anniversary. She’s slightly embarrassed, but since she did most of her jealous insanity in secret, she goes on the date just fine. She even gets on the sleigh ride, simply hoping the strap won’t break the whole time. Because it’d be way too hard to say ‘Oh my, Lumiere, this strap seems like it’s been frayed! Perhaps we should replace it before our sleigh ride, my love!’ Nope, better risk your neck…or…handle.

BATBBMWSCREEN10
A candlestick doesn’t have to do much work to make himself look hot.

The strap breaks and they go out of control, resulting in them flying off the side of the mountain and barely hanging on by a branch. Also, Lumiere needs to make up his mind on how he sweats. Several times before this he sweats by having the candlewax on his head melt. Later, he sweats regularly.

As Belle and the other household items try to reach them, Lumiere admits his love for Fifi and he and Fifi are saved.

So yeah….that was pretty dumb too, wasn’t it? I mean, a story about Lumiere and Fifi, fine. But we know that Lumiere’s not trying to date Belle so half the episode with Fifi seeing more and more evidence to the contrary is completely pointless and wouldn’t even make sense if we didn’t know by seeing them preparing for the date.

Fifi’s a goddamn psycho. Why should we feel happy that a bitch who tried to kill Belle and Lumiere out of jealousy got her man? I wanted nothing more than to pluck her feathers by the end. I also wasn’t aware that Lumiere and Fifi were a legit couple. He flirts with so many women, it’s hard to believe he’s in a relationship.

Oh and Beast was not in a single frame of this episode. Some Beauty and the BEAST series they were making.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Dissecting the Disquels: The Lion King 1 1/2

azsw150

Rating: 7/10

Plot: Let’s go back to the beginning of The Lion King….or moreso before the beginning. To the origins of Timon and Pumbaa and a retelling of the movie through their eyes.

Breakdown: I didn’t mind Timon and Pumbaa much in TLK, one of my favorite movies ever. I will admit that it was a drastic tone change when they were introduced, but Disney has a habit of doing that when something particularly heavy happens (think Bambi’s mom → Oooh look at the birdies!). They had some funny moments and they were okay in TLK2. They are some of the more tolerable comic relief sidekicks, but…I still never really liked them much.

I guess I just get tired of Timon’s snarkiness and Pumbaa’s constant fart/bad smell jokes. Moreso Pumbaa to be honest. His only bits are farting/bad smell/gross out gags and the fact that he’s fat. While he has decent banter with Timon, he’s a one/two trick pony with jokes that aren’t even funny. However, I can’t imagine I’d want to watch them in a TV series or watch a movie about them.

Luckily, both things were created. TLK 1 ½ is a movie that answers the burning questions of Timon and Pumbaa’s story before and during TLK. And, hey, at least this one’s honest about being a midquel…or mid-prequel instead of a sequel….BUT….they kinda messed that up because it should really be TLK ½ because 1 ½ kinda sounds like it overflows in TLK2, but whatever.

Here’s the thing, this movie isn’t like other Disney ‘sequels’ in that it’s actually Timon and Pumbaa watching a movie version of Timon’s backstory, how he met Pumbaa, them raising Simba and their part in the climax. They watch the movie in silhouette in much the same fashion as MST3K, but the thing that falls apart in that concept is that they don’t riff the movie or anything, they just pop up at certain segments to make a hindsight joke or reference about the situation.

And I do have to say, these are just completely pointless and non-funny moments. Rarely is there a legit funny joke in these cutaways.

You may be wondering why this format is being used at all. Well, like TLK used Hamlet as a template and TLK2 used Romeo and Juliet, this movie is using Rosencrantz and Guilderstern Are Dead, a retelling of Hamlet through the eyes of two dead characters, as its template.

I’m also not very keen on reviewing this step by step since the format is so different plus it’s retelling the movie just with jokes and more focus on Timon and Pumbaa. So I’ll just break down the major features.

———————————————————-

This movie counts as a prequel and midquel because it also focuses on Timon’s origins, which occur before Simba is born. Timon was born in a wasteland far away from Pride Rock; so far that you can only barely see it on the horizon. Timon lives with a group of other meerkats who are obsessed with digging and hiding from hyenas. We get that from their song “Digga Tunnuh” which, while being an earworm, is one of those incredibly useless songs. It really only serves the purpose of establishing that meerkats as about as set in their worker/paranoid ways as the ants from Antz.

Timon is, as predicted, the one who causes all the trouble in the group and is different from the other meerkats who just want to work. He wants a better life in a better home where he doesn’t have to worry about hiding from hyenas and where his life has purpose.

TLK112 SCREEN1

He has a slightly overbearing mother named ‘Ma’ (A single mother in a Disney movie? Wow.) voiced by Julie Cavner IE Marge Simpson and a great uncle named Uncle Max who is Jerry Stiller being every Jerry Stiller role. They actually parody the scene where Mufasa shows Simba the Pride Lands by giving the speech and ending it by saying everything the light touches belongs to someone else.

We also get jokes about the circle of life by implying that they don’t fit into it well because, despite the fact that they’re so low on the chain, they don’t eat the grass that their predators become. However, if they’re insectivores, then that joke doesn’t work entirely because the bugs eat the grass and they eat the bugs. There are still living beings lower than them on the food chain.

His mother tells him that, despite his dreams of a better home, it’s their place in life as meerkats to merely do what they do; dig and hide. After a mishap with Timon causes their tunnels to collapse, Timon’s mother decides he might be better suited for sentry duty.

It’s an easy enough job, but Timon screws it up by taking the mantra that sentries are supposed to follow (Scurry, sniff, flinch) and turning into a song, “That’s All I Need.” It’s okay-ish, but it really gets lost in the middle and even the movie decides to cut it off early by having the hyenas interrupt it.

TLK112 SCREEN8.png

After the attack, he’s shunned even worse by the group and decides that he has to leave and explore to find his place in the world. He departs from his mother in what is actually a pretty touching scene and heads on his way.

He meets Rafiki after he gets lost, which may or may not cause plot holes. I do remember Timon asking ‘Who’s the monkey?’ after Simba decided to go back to Pride Rock in the first movie, but whatever. We learn that Rafiki is actually the one who taught him about Hakuna Matata. His advice leads him to ‘look beyond what (he) see(s)’ and decides that he has to go to Pride Rock to find his paradise.

He meets Pumbaa completely by chance by just bumping into him (Yeah there is really nothing more to that meeting) and Timon ‘hires’ him to keep predators away on his journey.

TLK112 SCREEN3

Now we’re at the actual beginning of TLK and Simba’s presentation ceremony. Timon’s unhappy with the crowded Pride Rock, so he decides to check out a little spot ‘beyond’ it. It’s here where we get the one joke that is just plain horrid.

Not only is it a massive fart joke, it also tarnishes the original presentation scene. Pumbaa doesn’t do well in crowds and you probably already figured out where this is going from that, but let’s continue anyway.

He tries to ‘hold it in’ as he makes his way through the crowd, but can’t and ends up tooting his ass horn in such a massive way that a ton of the animals at the ceremony fall over and that’s shown as the real reason why the animals bowed to Simba…….I have to tolerate Pumbaa’s fart jokes enough as it is, but when it sets out to ruin iconic scenes it just pisses me off.

TLK112 SCREEN4

We get more clashes with TLK as Timon and Pumbaa wake up in their new home to the part of the movie where Simba and Nala sing “I Just Can’t Wait to be King.” I get that this happened shortly after the presentation scene in the original movie, but we’re also lead to assume that some time passed between the ceremony and the song seeing as how Simba is somewhat older. This movie basically says he grew up that much overnight. Unless there was a time skip in this movie too, but there’s no indication of that.

Their new home gets ruined and their journey to find their new new home leads them through several parts of the first movie such as the hyena attack, “Be Prepared” (at least the very first part anyway) and the stampede scene (kinda morbid how they’re playing up the scene in which Mufasa dies for laughs. He obviously isn’t seen in this movie dying, but you still know that’s what happening.) but they eventually stumble upon the perfect place seen in the original movie that they actually call Hakuna Matata.

TLK112 SCREEN5

They then sing a remixed version of Hakuna Matata that I don’t like as much, but if it matters to you they added sing-a-long lyrics to the bottom of the screen in this one.

Timon’s mom, finding out from Rafiki that he’s ‘chasing metaphors’ decides to go off to find Timon, but not before smacking Rafiki in the head and smashing his foot. I love Rafiki and everything but it is kinda funny to see him get smacked for a change.

We’re finally at the point in the movie where Timon and Pumbaa rescue Simba. This is my favorite part of the movie because it actually showcases what we really wanted to see; what Simba, Timon and Pumbaa were doing during Simba’s time growing up.

The answer is; not much.

To be completely honest, it’s not like we’re meant to expect much anyway. Simba’s time with Timon and Pumbaa was portrayed as him just screwing around for months/years and that’s pretty much what they do. The point of these segments, however, is to show Timon and Pumbaa bonding with Simba as surrogate parents.

While much of it is comedic moments, there is a scene or two of genuine bonding. And we do see how much Timon and Pumbaa care about Simba, which was actually fairly lacking from the original movie as much of their bonding was held in Hakuna Matata before we quickly transitioned to Nala coming back and Simba going back home. While it may not seem important, it does add to their relationship more and gives some emotional standing to the scene where Simba decides to go back home, even if they do end up living with him afterward.

We also get to see more of Simba as a ‘teenager’ which is kinda cool.

TLK112 SCREEN6

Sadly, this part is really short. The scenes with Simba growing up don’t even take up ten minutes and that seriously sucks.

Now for my least favorite part of the movie (barring the presentation fart joke); Timon and Pumbaa (mostly Timon) purposely trying to break up Nala and Simba for the sake of keeping their buddy around.

I dislike this scene because 1) it cuts away from Timon and Pumbaa really caring about Simba to selfishly not giving a crap about his happiness for the sake of their own. 2) It contradicts again with the original movie as Timon and Pumbaa don’t start singing Can You Feel The Love Tonight? (they do finish it, though) 3) It’s a Mushu-in-Mulan-2-esque mindset of random accidents meaning two people will break up and 4) It, again, really tarnishes a pretty good scene in the original movie.

I just liked it a lot better when they just accepted that Simba was going to be romantically involved with Nala. They were really sad about it, yeah, but they accepted it and seemingly decided to respect Simba’s desires. As the saying goes, if you really love someone, you’ll let them go. It just makes Timon and Pumbaa look like selfish assholes now.

TLK112 SCREEN9.png

The scene after, when Simba goes back to Pride Rock, also creates an inconsistency because Timon initially said in the original movie that he thought Simba was with Nala when the preceding scene in this movie shows Timon and Pumbaa watching Simba and Nala have a fight and him running away from her. I know some liberties can be taken since this is a comedy movie, but this is still meant to be taken as canon. Plus if you give me a midquel on a movie I love, I’m going to nitpick you, it’s just law.

Timon’s mom and Uncle Max arrive and….Wait, what?! They just now found Timon?! Have they been looking for him for months/years? What the hell?

The actual climax, the battle with the hyenas and Scar, is completely different. They show none of the Timon and Pumbaa scenes that actually happened….well except the luau, and make up their own triumphant climax with the hyenas.

I’m perfectly fine with the latter because the hyenas are gone for most of this scene in their huge battle (however, this scene does essentially mean that Shenzi, Ed and Banzai never heard Scar framing the hyenas.), but I don’t understand the former at all. I get that it would’ve been slightly repetitive, but it’s a retelling; it’s supposed to be somewhat repetitive from its original version, especially when you’re focusing on the scenes that the main characters of this movie were originally in.

After that’s said and done and Simba takes his place as king, Timon and Pumbaa return to Hakuna Matata (I’m just going to have to assume that’s what the place is really named) with Timon’s mom, Uncle Max and the rest of the meerkats where they can live in relaxation.

This may or may not be the one inconsistency between this movie and TLK2 because it shows that Timon and everyone else are living in Hakuna Matata now when it’s shown in TLK2 that Timon and Pumbaa live at Pride Rock being Kiara’s babysitters/bodyguards and Timon’s family is nowhere to be seen. However, there’s some time gap between this and TLK2 so it’s possible that Timon and Pumbaa moved back between movies to help Simba out.

TLK112 SCREEN7

Bottomline: And that’s TLK 1 ½. Despite the various inconsistencies with the original movie, not-that-entertaining every-once-in-a-while commentary and the stupid fart jokes, it actually stands as one of the more competent Disney seque—mid—pre—Somethingquel in the bunch, especially where the art is concerned.

It’s also attributed to the fact that it’s a comedy and not trying to copy or cash in on the original movie. It’s just trying to have fun while paying homage to the original movie, and I’m all for that. I may not be the biggest fan of Timon and Pumbaa, but they held the movie well and many of the jokes legitimately worked, even if I still find the gross out gags to be dumb instead of funny.

Disney seems to be really good about taking care of TLK because, as I’ve stated before, TLK2 is also one of my favorite movies. The tender moments felt real, and unless you’re incredibly nitpicky like yours truly, you probably would pay no mind to the inconsistencies.

The music’s alright. There’s only two real original songs here; one’s not that good and gets interrupted and the other’s just an earworm.

I’d gladly recommend at least one watch if you’re a fan of TLK, but if you can’t stand Timon and Pumbaa (or fart jokes), you can skip it. You’re really not gaining any massive insight into the original movie.

Recommended Audience: There’s gross out humor, mostly fart jokes, but some boogers, the average bug eating, etc. Other than that, nothing. Also, I can’t really call fart jokes and boogers ‘mature content’ so E for everyone.

Dissecting the Disquels: (Peter Pan 2) Return to Neverland

i8pt4lq

Rating: 7/10

Plot: Wendy has grown up and now has children of her own; a daughter named Jane and an infant son named Danny. She raised them on the stories of Peter Pan and everyone seemed to love them.

However, when Wendy’s husband is sent to fight in the war, Jane is told that she needs to take care of the family until he comes back. Taking the promise with utmost seriousness, Jane puts aside childish stories of Peter Pan and Neverland in lieu of responsibility and lists. Her mother and brother try to retain her childhood, but it’s not until Peter Pan himself intervenes that Jane truly sees the light.

Breakdown: Okay, here’s the deal….I never much paid attention to Peter Pan. It was just one of those movies that never caught my interest for some reason. Even the Peter Pan segment in Kingdom Hearts, one of my favorite games ever, just didn’t appeal to me. I don’t know exactly why as there’s nothing inherently wrong with the franchise outside of the little brat Tinkerbell, but eh. Let’s see if the sequel can spark some Peter Pan excitement in me.

——————————————-

We start off with a pretty cool opening as we see Tinkerbell flying through the clouds creating silhouettes of all of the Peter Pan characters, and eventually we see the actual Peter Pan on a ship in the sky.

This movie takes place in the future (future as far as the last movie is concerned anyway) where Wendy is now an adult, but still always believing in Peter Pan. Wendy now has a family of her own, and her daughter, Jane, takes the reigns this time around.

I would fault this for being yet another Disquel that relies on the main character from the first movie’s child possibly rehashing the experiences of the last movie, but according to what I’ve read, Jane is actually a legitimate character in the Peter Pan books, though not thoroughly explored in the books apparently.

In addition, this is a reversal on Wendy’s character. Whereas Wendy was about doing all that she could to enjoy her childhood and not grow up, Jane is all about putting aside childish things and trying her best to grow up. And….yeah, reversals of the parents’ story is also a Disquel thing. Lady and the Tramp 2, The Little Mermaid 2, The Lion King 2, to a lesser extent.

As we get our first song of the movie, we also get our title screen. It should be noted that this movie isn’t technically Peter Pan 2 – it’s Peter Pan IN Return to Neverland, according to the title. So…is Peter a side character in his own franchise now? Well, I guess considering Tinkerbell’s little series doesn’t seem to include him, people must only want everyone but Peter Pan.

The song by the way, is ‘The Second Star to the Right’, a remake of a song from the original, and it’s pretty nice.

Our story begins in England in the….midst of World War II…..I’m sorry, this is one of the more light-hearted and non-serious movie franchises under Disney, right? World War II? In Peter Pan? That’s like seeing Donald Duck in Nazi German–

et7fsjs

………Oh…..well then…..*cough*….Carry on.

Jane’s father is sent off to fight in the war and leaves Jane to protect her mom and baby brother while he’s away.

Aw now, don’t be sad, Jane. Everyone knows only mothers die in Disney movies.

vvrkipw

5cm7vvt

…..Okay, there are rare occasions, but usually no.

We cut through some time and see the town in shambles as children are being evacuated to the countryside to help keep them safe. I commend Disney for a bit here, because that’s actually historically accurate.

We see Jane wandering around the rubble with her dog, and it’s both narrated and implied by dialogue that Jane has lost sight of the fun of being a kid in such harsh times. I-…I’m sorry; is this a character flaw? It is World War freakin’ II, and she has been tasked by her father to take care of her mother and infant brother. I think she has every right in the world to be focused more on survival than hopscotch.

Back home, Wendy takes Danny into the bomb shelter after air raid sirens go off. He’s scared, but she comforts him by saying the bomb sounds are more like cannonfire from pirate ships, just like Captain Hook, and Danny dons a Peter Pan hat to play pretend.

We cut back to Jane and the dog who are trying to get back home, but the dog nearly gets caught up in a bomb blast… Think of the happiest things, it’s the same as having wings, take the path the moonbeams make, if the moon is still awake, you’ll see him wink his eye, you can fly, you can fly, you can fly…..if you get hit with an air strike……..

pp2rtnscreen1

Jane saves the dog in the nick of time, and makes it back home.

The item she was retrieving was a gift for Danny’s birthday; a pair of socks, which Danny dislikes and Wendy responds awkwardly as being ‘practical’…..I’d say socks, even mismatched, during World War II would be a pretty nice gift actually. In order to make the gift more interesting to Danny, she uses the socks as hand puppets and pretends that they’re Peter Pan and Captain Hoo—is Wendy obsessed?

Every single time that she’s been on screen so far it involves her doing something Peter Pan related. She made a Peter Pan doll for Jane, she made a Peter Pan hat for Danny and it seems like whenever something happens she just makes it better by bringing up Peter Pan. There’s nothing wrong with that, but she still seems very personally fixated.

Anyway, as Jane listens to the radio for news and ideas for supplies that they might need, Wen—Holy crap, Jane has way better handwriting than I do. Geez. She’s like, what, eight? I write like a coke addict in an earthquake and she’s basically a teacher in calligraphy.

Wendy tells Danny the story of Peter Pan stealing treasure from Captain Hook just for kicks, and that somehow makes him a hero or something. Jane starts to listen to the story with a smile, but once it’s over she puts her headphones back on and brushes it off as BS.

Again, I don’t really blame her. Even if she is still at an age where she may still believe those stories, it’s incredibly hard to believe stories of magic flying unaging children and pixie dust when, again, you’re in the midst of World War freakin’ II.

The air raid ends and they go back inside. Jane chastises Wendy for filling Danny’s head with silly stories, and Wendy tries to reply but a knock at the door stops her. As Jane carries Danny to bed, Wendy meets with an old soldier at the door who says her children are to be evacuated in the morning. Wendy’s shocked as she hadn’t even been able to tell them that the evacuations were even happening, but accepts the soldier’s message.

pp2rtnscreen2

Wendy tells Jane about the evacuation, but Jane vehemently refuses to go both because she simply doesn’t want to leave and because she promised her father that she’d protect both Danny and her mother. Wendy asks Jane to promise to protect Danny and keep telling him stories about Peter Pan because he needs them to cope, but Jane flips out and says that faith, trust and pixie dust are all nonsense. Danny comes into the room and disagrees with his sister, but she points out the reality of the world they’re living in and how believing in that stuff is foolish.

Danny then runs off in frustration while Wendy scolds Jane for speaking to Danny like that. She tells her that she thinks she’s mature, but she has a lot to learn.

Here’s where I’ll give some leeway into this being a flaw with Jane. It’s perfectly normal for her to wish to give up ‘childish’ things like playing and listening to fairy tales since she has put the weight of her family on her shoulders, forcing her into adulthood. But she’s also trying to rob Danny of having a childhood at all when he’s barely out of diapers.

It’s obvious to her that these Peter Pan stories do offer him comfort and help keep him and Wendy sane and happy during these tough times. It’s counter-intuitive to try and rip that from him for no reason. There’s nothing he can do to help himself right now. He’s too young to do anything useful. Keeping him safe, fed, watered and clothed doesn’t require taking away his happiness. Look at Grave of the Fireflies.

Jane is likely just taking everything too far, but she is doing it in a realistic way.

This still holds the problem of it being too much of a character flaw in Jane. The only reason that Danny and Wendy are seen as the more, for lack of a better word, ‘rational’ ones here is because we know that Peter Pan, the lost boys, Captain Hook and pixies are all real. But even knowing that they are….she still has a point!

If magic, Peter Pan and pixie dust exist, it’s difficult to believe that they do given that they live in a war zone. I also understand that the real point is to not let reality rob you of your inner child and that tiny part of you that believes in magic in some form, but that’s a hard message to sell when the reality that is robbing you is World War freakin’ II.

Sure, it was harsh to tell a three year old that all that stuff wasn’t real in lieu of forcing him to face the harsh realities of war; that’s probably within the realm of telling a kid that Santa’s not real and pointing out that they live in a third world country, but it’s not like it’s entirely unreasonable for her to have such an outburst.

We then get our next song, I’ll Try, and it’s actually really good. One of the best I’ve heard from any of the Disquels. And it’s actually a pretty good stand alone song even if some of lyrics seem silly out of context. It’s basically about what we already know; that Jane feels heavy responsibility on her shoulders to take care of the family and she doesn’t have time to believe in magic and Peter Pan, but she tries and wants to believe. It’s just hard to since she can’t ignore everything that’s going on around her.

pp2rtnscreen3

The pirates and Captain Hook arrive at Wendy’s house and mistakenly kidnap Jane thinking that she’s Wendy. They put her in a sack and cause all sorts of damage across London in their bleh-y CGI ship before heading to Neverland.

When the pirates get back on the water, they hold Jane in a sack over the water and lure a giant octopus to her location. Apparently, this octopus is our replacement for the crocodile with the clock in its stomach. It’s shtick is the same thing, constantly tormenting Hook only with the sound of rhythmically popping suction cups instead of a clock ticking. There’s really no reason for the octopus to be making those sounds other than to be a rip-off of croc, who actually had a purpose in making the clock ticking noises.

The reason he was afraid of the croc was because he took Hook’s hand. The reason the croc kept following him was because he ate his hand, liked the taste of his blood and flesh and decided to pursue him in hopes of eating him completely. The croc also ate a clock, and the ticking sound scared the hell out of Hook because he knows the sound indicates the croc is nearby.

The reason he’s afraid of the octopus later on and is freaked out by the popping noises? Because Tinkerbell drops the octopus on Hook’s head, he ends up in its mouth, but escapes without harm. The octopus develops a taste for him so I guess he chases him everywhere….Well okay. I think I’ve delved too far into anime culture to be comfortable with this, but okay. Where did the croc go? Did it die?

Anyway, Peter Pan shows up to save the day, finally. It’s 20 minutes in for God’s sake. He saves Jane from the octopus and Tinkerbell drops the octopus on Hook. The octopus tries to drag Hook underwater to eat him, but he gets saved by his crew.

pp2rtnscreen4

Peter brings Jane over to a nearby rock and frees her from the bag to realize that she’s not actually Wendy, but is her daughter. Jane initially doesn’t believe what’s happening and thinks it’s merely a dream. Hook’s crew starts firing cannons at them so Peter escapes with Jane through Neverland.

They have some fun flying around, with Tinkerbell being a bitch as per usual (so how exactly does she end up with a bunch of shorts and her own spin-off movie?), and they eventually reach Peter’s house to meet the Lost Boys. Peter then proclaims that Jane will stay with them forever, be their mother and read them stories. Yeah, they’re still doing that.

The kids want to play games and screw around, but Jane declines, despite the fact that the youngest boy reminds her of Danny. She says she has to leave and walks away. Peter then points out that she acts like a grownup to which the Lost Boys reply ‘Eww’. I understand this because, again, that’s another point of Neverland, but were they looking for a mother that acted like a kid too?

We get more Hook and Octopus shenanigans where Hook actually states that he was finally rid of the croc and now this is happening. I decided to look this up and surprise surprise, there is no reason for what happened to the croc beyond Hook ‘losing’ him somewhere between movie 1 and 2.

I can imagine that they flat out didn’t want the croc to make a reappearance because of the fact that it ate Hook’s hand was probably deemed as too scary in this day and age so they replaced it with a silly octopus. Though apparently the croc, known as Tick-Tock, later makes an appearance in the DISNEY JUNIOR show, Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Yeah, this thing is seemingly too violent for a Disquel set in England during WWII, but shove it into a Disney Junior show, that’s much better.

The point is that Hook is going after Peter again.

Peter spots Jane trying to head home on a homemade raft she must’ve made in ten minutes. She says she needs to go home and make things right with her brother and mother for saying Peter didn’t exist when he does. Oh, I guess she doesn’t think this is a dream anymore.

pp2rtnscreen5

Despite Peter stating that she won’t be able to get home in such a manner, Jane says she has to try anyway and bids Peter goodbye. However, Jane sucks at raft building and the raft sinks before she even gets ten feet out. Peter explains that the only way out of Neverland is to fly, and he’s willing to show her how.

Back at Peter Pan’s Uninsured Flight School, Peter and the others are trying to teach Jane to fly, but she doesn’t believe that she can. Peter says all she needs to fly is faith, trust and pixie dust, but Tinkerbitch, of course, doesn’t want to give her any. Peter persuades her into doing so by taunting that if Jane doesn’t learn how to fly, she’ll be stuck in Neverland forever and have to live with them.

So, Tinkerbell responds by assaulting Jane with a sack of pixie dust. Nice. But she does get comeuppance when she sneezes from so much dust and sends Tink flying around bouncing all over everything.

pp2rtnscreen6

Jane fails in flying and slams into the ground. I guess Neverland basically gives you cartoon physics because Jane makes a human shaped crater in the ground and comes out perfectly fine.

As she gets out of the hole, Peter notices a list Jane made earlier and explains it’s stuff like that that makes her unable to fly.

They play keepaway with her notebook, which accidentally ends up getting eaten by one of the Lost Boys. They laugh about it, but Jane has a fit yelling at them, calling them children, saying she doesn’t believe in them and when Tink starts being annoying again she adds that she especially doesn’t believe in fairies.

Jane, you can’t really say that anymore. Call them children, sure. But you are seeing and experiencing Neverland, Peter Pan and fairies. You flew through a rainbow earlier. I’m pretty sure the time for ‘I don’t believe’ is long since passed.

Jane leaves, but Peter and the others seem glad to be rid of her due to her outburst. After she leaves, Tinkerbell falls ill and you can already tell it’s because of Jane’s comment about not believing in fairies. By the way, why is it called pixie dust if she’s a fairy and not a pixie?

Jane tries to camp outside, ending up taking shelter in a small cave in the rain as we get a clip show of times she spent with her family, specifically the time when her father asked her to take care of Danny and her mother. While this isn’t particularly needed, it does showcase why it’s easier to sympathize with Jane each and every time.

Besides the whole World War Freakin’ II stuff, she also feels a heavy burden on her shoulders and responsibility to her dad, and when she tries to be responsible people just roll their eyes and talk about fairies or they screw around and mock her. I’d be frustrated too.

She shouldn’t dedicate her life to being a stick in the mud but WORLD WAR—You get the picture. Even if Peter Pan and the others have been proven as real beyond any shadow of a doubt, it doesn’t change how she feels about her promise nor the status of things back home.

Back with Tinkerbell, they confirm my suspicions and say that Tink’s light will go out if Jane doesn’t start believing in fairies…..No idea why. Millions of kids probably don’t believe in fairies, why is Jane the case that makes Tink terminally ill? Because she’s the only one in Neverland who doesn’t believe? Because she said it to her face?

pp2rtnscreen7

Peter believes the only way to make Jane believe in fairies is to make her one of them; A Lost Girl.

Cut back to Jane where she hears Hook crying. She smartly takes his sword from the ground and threatens him with it before asking what’s wrong. He claims he lives in the real world and misses his mother. He can take his ship and leave to the real world to reunite with her, but Peter Pan has his treasure and his crew would mutiny if he went off without it.

He’s obviously lying, but Hook tricks her into agreeing to getting back his treasure from Peter with the promise that she will be able to go with him on his ship back home. He even signs a contract stating that he will not harm Peter, and she agrees as long as the treasure’s rightfully his….Well, of course it’s not rightfully his. HE. ARE. PIRATE. When pirates have treasure, chances are they stole it from someone.

Peter, Jane and the Lost Boys reunite, and Peter apologizes to Jane for ruining her notebook. However, they want to make it up to her by turning her into one of them. She suggests they play Treasure Hunt, and Peter agrees, but only on the condition that she acts like a Lost Boy.

We get our next song, ‘These are the Things We Lost Boys Do,’ which is…alright. It’s not particularly bad, but I don’t really enjoy it much. It’s also the only song that’s actually sung by the characters as opposed to merely being played over regular footage.

pp2rtnscreen8

Throughout the song, Jane just starts having fun with all the shenanigans she and the boys are getting into and she eventually stumbles upon the treasure chest. She debates calling Hook with the whistle that he gave her, but ultimately throws the whistle away. Peter finds her with the treasure and congratulates her on winning the game by dubbing her the first official Lost Girl.

The Wiki page for Jane also confirms that she is the first and only Lost Girl on record (Supposedly because Lost Boys were made up of boys who fell out of their prams when the nurse was looking the other way. If the boys were not claimed within seven days, Peter would take them to Neverland. Girls do not become lost because, as Peter puts it, girls are ‘Too clever’ to fall out of their prams.)

They cheer, give her an honorary….wolf (?) hat like the other boys all have animal outfits and reprise the song about Lost Boys.

pp2rtnscreen9

Then, uh oh, one of the Lost Boys finds the whistle in the water and blows it, instantly calling Hook to the scene to capture Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.

He thanks Jane for her assistance, outing her actions to Peter, who calls her a traitor and tells her that Tink’s light is going out because of her not believing in fairies….Uhhhh, it was stated in the beginning that Peter steals from Hook and hides his treasure for no good reason besides to have fun as Hook pursues him. If it’s just a big game to him, how is she a traitor for telling him the location of the treasure? It takes away the fun, sure, but Peter can always steal it back.

In addition, Hook’s plan would’ve failed for the most part if Jane hadn’t suggested they play Treasure Hunt to begin with. All she needed to do was find the treasure, not Peter. It’s not like she needed Peter to tell her where it was, she stumbled upon it on her own.

Hook also turns his back on his promise to not harm Peter as his exact wording was to not harm a hair on Peter’s head. So he merely plucks out one of his hairs, declares not to harm it and throws it to Jane. She promises that she’ll save Peter and heads off to the house to try to save Tink.

However, it’s too late. She’s dead and boy do I feel bad.

hcqcfee

Oh come on, of course she’s not dead. Jane’s grief apparently sparks belief in fairies which causes Tink to regain her strength and cheer Jane back up.

Hook is having fun tormenting Peter in the most tame way possible, and finally decides to make him walk the plank while tied to an anchor. However, Jane and Tinkerbell, who is much more likable when she’s not being a jealous twat, arrive on the ship to save Peter and the Lost Boys.

She frees the Lost Boys while Tink distracts Hook and Smee, and they send the pirates overboard by flinging the treasure into the ocean with slingshots. Jane manages to get the key for Peter’s handcuffs from Hook, but he chases her up the mast and corners her.

However, she finally believes she can fly……believes she can touch the sky. And with the power of faith, trust and pixie dust, she is finally able to fly off of the mast and away from Hook. Even the pirates cheer for her, which is weird because 1) She’s the enemy and 2) she just prompted the boys to chuck their treasure overboard.

Still, she unlocks Peter from his cuffs and the anchor and they fly around together for a bit…It kinda bothers me that they’re sorta playing up a romantic angle between the two of them considering the last person he did that with was Jane’s mother….

But the cheering doesn’t last long as Hook grabs Jane and pins her to the mast with his hook. Peter cuts the rope he’s hanging from, drops the anchor on him and sends him crashing through the whole ship and on top of, you guessed it, the octopus. The octopus then chases Hook back up into the ship, damaging it even further, causing the ship to sink and dragging Hook under while the Lost Boys escape.

However, for some reason, the damn thing can’t keep ahold of Hook despite the fact that it has eight long incredibly flexible legs and suction cups, and he launches out of the water again and into the life boat that the others are on. The octopus pops back up and now wants to eat all of them for no given reason and chases them away while making the popping noises.

The Lost Boys cheer their one and only Lost Girl for saving them, but Tink brings up that, since Jane can fly now, that means she can go home. While everyone’s sad to see Jane leave, she says that she’ll miss them all and tell her brother all sorts of stories about Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. Peter and the others say they’ll escort Jane back home and they head back to London.

pp2rtnscreen10

Jane wakes up in front of her window (don’t worry, it’s not a dream sequence) and rushes to her mother to apologize for what she said earlier and to tell her that now she knows Peter Pan is real. Danny walks out having just had a bad dream, and Jane is quick to play around and comfort her brother with new stories of her adventures with Peter Pan.

Wendy smiles at the sight, but suspiciously looks out the window for something. Peter’s trying to catch a glimpse of her by the window and eventually the two reunite. While Peter points out that she’s changed and grown up physically, Wendy says that she hasn’t really changed on the inside.

Wendy also reunites with Tinkerbell, who gives her a shot of pixie dust, allowing her to float up a few feet, showing that she really hasn’t changed. Their reunion is short lived, however, since Peter needs to go back home. He bids Wendy goodbye as the kids also come up to the window and see Peter and Tink fly away.

And just because we have to have the most unrealistic and predictable ending possible, at that very moment, Jane’s father comes home from the war….the war that is still going so strong that they feel the need to send the children away to the countryside and told Wendy that very thing earlier in the night. He’s not injured or anything that I can see, so I have no clue how he got early leave. Also, does this mean that Jane and Danny aren’t being sent away anymore?

We see Peter and Tink smiling at the reunion before they finally head home. The End….of this hour and two minute long movie that is only 70 minutes due to the credits.

pp2rtnscreen11

I can’t speak as to how this movie may possibly offend the original, but the main gripes I’ve seen in reviews on IMDB are about how the characters act. Tinkerbell is supposedly more aggressive here than she is supposed to be, Peter Pan and the others are seen as being portrayed as jerks (mostly in regards to their rowdiness and destroying Jane’s book and laughing about it. Can’t say I disagree) and the fact that Peter Pan is not supposed to be some hero character, according to one reviewer – he’s just supposed to be a playful kid who screws around and gets into trouble.

I will say that the movie is more about Jane than Peter, which I think it’s supposed to be anyway, and Peter really is used mostly as a plot device to show that playing around, being childish, believing in magic and having fun aren’t particularly bad things. Granted, her transition was rather jarring and took place over the course of a song, but still we got the gist. As I stated, you don’t want to see her lose her childhood, but on the other hand you can greatly understand why she feels like she must.

Also, the fact that this is called Return to Neverland may seem misleading as none of the original human characters are actually returning to Neverland. Wendy is in this movie, but she only gets one short scene with Peter and doesn’t really fly much or visit Neverland. However, I found their reunion to be short and sweet.

Bottomline: This movie is perfectly fine. Short, seemingly pointless, but perfectly fine. I actually laughed once or twice at the Lost Boys. While Peter, the Lost Boys and Tinkerbell do get grating sometimes, they all redeem themselves over and over. Jane is sympathetic, and you root for her to finally start having fun and having a childhood again.

The art and animation are much better than your average Disquel fare. Still not as good as their namesakes’ theatrical releases, but still really nice, except some shots with the ship. The music is actually really good, even if there is a real lack of original songs and there’s only one song that is sung by the characters. It also might be somewhat weird that ‘Do You Believe In Magic?’ in the main ending credits song.

The movie’s main issue is in its predictability. While they kinda slap you in the face with World War II, the rest of the events are rather paint by numbers. You can really predict exactly what will happen through small prompts. Because of that, there’s nothing to really make this movie particularly special.

However, it’s still an enjoyable movie and far from one of the worse Disney sequels I’ve been subjected to. Maybe I would feel different if I were more of a childhood fan of the first film, but as it stands, I enjoyed watching this movie, and I’d recommend a watch to people looking for a light Disney movie.

Recommended Audience: There’s some dark themes what with World War II and all, but it’s not like you see anyone die and really this is lightest tale I’ve seen connected with World War II. It’s no Grave of the Fireflies that’s for sure. 5+