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Sequelitis / Disney

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What a waste of perfectly good popcorn...

"You can't top pigs with pigs."
Walt Disney on the failure of the Three Little Pigs follow-up shorts

Disney has produced many classic films, both animated and live action, in their 96 year long existence...but they've also produced a notoriously large number of underwhelming to just plain lousy follow-ups to their classics along the way.


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    Films — Animation 
  • Disney's run of Direct-to-Video sequels produced by Disneytoon Studios (sometimes derisively termed as "cheapquels") from 1994 to 2008 are some of the most infamous examples of Sequelitis in not only animation, but in all of media, and they are near-unanimously considered to be inferior follow ups to their predecessors for a variety of reasons, particularly for their generally poor animation and writing quality. After Aladdin: The Return of Jafar enjoyed reasonable success, it opened the floodgates. After John Lasseter became Chief Creative Officer of the Walt Disney Animation Studios, he unplugged any future DTV Disney sequels and prequels that were still on the drawing boardnote , and only allowed films that were already in production (such as Cinderella III and The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, which became the last two of Disney's 14-year slate of DTV sequels) to continue. While not all of them were disasters, there were far more poor and mediocre sequels than you should expect from their franchises.
    • The first of the sequels, The Return of Jafar, was intended as the multi part pilot episode for the Aladdin cartoon series, but was hastily converted into a direct-to-video feature late in its production. While it does have a fanbase, it's universally considered to be a blatantly inferior follow up to the original Aladdin, mainly due to the ridiculously Off-Model Limited Animation throughout it and the replacing of Robin Williams with Dan Castellaneta.
    • Beauty and the Beast has two sequels. The first one, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, is considered slightly above average for the Disney sequels, but the plot has little to do with the fairytale, being more of a standard Christmas movie. The second one, Belle's Magical World, is unanimously loathed by many and is often considered one of the worst, if not the absolute worst, of the sequels, being a series of disjointed episodes clearly written to try and kick off a TV series which did not happen. As of 2016, Belle's Magical World stands as the only Beauty and the Beast installment without a Blu-ray, or even behind-the-scenes DVD bonus features.
    • The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea is again, accused of reusing the first film's ideas, only telling the story in reverse (a human character wanting to become a mermaid) with a few new characters thrown in. A prequel to the first one was also created, and it was the last installment released.
    • Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World brings the title character slightly closer to her historical, real-life counterpart (her romance with John Rolfe, visiting England), and also shows her making more mature decisions. However, the quality of the movie itself was met with more varied opinions. It is particularly disliked because Pocahontas has a relationship with a different man in the sequel, destroying her romance with John Smith (though granted, she did think Smith was dead for most of the movie). The original was far enough removed from historical accuracy as it was.
    • Cinderella has the first sequel, Dreams Come True, which was perceived as weak and rather episodic. This is because, like Atlantis 2 and Belle's Magical World, it's made up of episodes for a planned TV series that never got off the ground.
    • The Hunchback of Notre Dame II was criticized for inferior animation, generic songs, and how many of the characters were incompetent. It was also heavily panned for its villain, widely considered one of Disney's worst in a followup to the film that gave us Judge Claude Frollo, who is widely lauded as one of Disney's deepest villains. One of the complaints included that Victor Hugo's novel couldn't have had a sequel because close to none of the characters survived. It was largely created to give Quasimodo a girlfriend, but Madellaine was not a popular character.
      Online: "Nearly everybody died at the end of the book, and the movie didn't exactly leave loose ends itself. This leaves the writers to showcase how well they can write an original character, or a decent love story or a threatening villain without ripping it off from a classical story written 200 or so years ago - ie, they can't."
    • The Jungle Book 2 is universally considered to be inferior to the original film, due in part to its story being a blatant, watered down rehash of the first and for undoing Mowgli's Character Development from the original. It was one of the few sequels to get a theatrical release, but was ultimately a Box Office Bomb and was savaged by critics.
    • Peter Pan 2: Return to Never Land, while by no means one of the worst Disney sequels, absolutely pales in comparison to the original film and has numerous flaws that drag it down, most notably its plot being a bland retread of the first. Like with the second Jungle Book, this also got a theatrical release, but it was likewise a box office and critical flop.
    • Atlantis: Milo's Return, the sequel to Atlantis: The Lost Empire, is surprisingly engaging, but only if you watch it for what it is: the cobbled-together remains of the cancelled TV series Team Atlantis. Everyone's in characters and the various Other Darrins may be surprisingly good and the mysteries cool, but the narrative is extremely disjointed due to it being three episodes held together by chewing gum and wire, and the TV level animation is a massive downgrade from the first film.
    • Tarzan had two sequels. One of them was Tarzan II, a midquel featuring a young Tarzan. The other was Tarzan & Jane, a straight sequel. Tarzan & Jane is considered at best mediocre, but Tarzan II is largely seen as even harder to sit through, due to basically being the first twenty minutes of the original film stretched to fit a 90-minute runtime. Its only remarkable feature is an ape played by George Carlin, who seems to spend the entire movie holding back a swear. Neither of them received a Blu-ray release, though the latter is available on Netflix.
    • 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure, while surprisingly well made by the standards of the infamous sequels, is ultimately a rather bland and pointless follow up bordering on rehash of the original film.
    • Mulan II is decently animated, but is largely overlooked and ultimately criticized for the even greater liberties taken in its portrayal of Chinese culture, Mushu taking a level in jerkass, and for leaving the plot in which Mulan must save China once more unresolved; specifically, it was Mulan's mission to escort the Emperor's three daughters to a powerful lord in order to marry his sons, which would secure a union that would safeguard China from an impending invasion by the Mongols. Instead, shocked at the very idea of an Arranged Marriage, Mulan teaches the princesses to follow their own paths. This would be a meaningful lesson except for the fact that in doing so such a union apparently never took shape by the end of the film, which despite ending on an uplifting note with Mulan's wedding does not address the Mongol invasion that is now sure to happen due to these actions.
    • Leroy & Stitch is often seen as a lackluster conclusion to both the previous Lilo & Stitch movies (themselves considered decent but ultimately inferior follow-ups to the original) and The Series, ending very predictably,note  having a rather flat Evil Doppelgänger as the titular antagonist, said antagonist can be defeated by a rather lame Deus ex Machina (all it takes is to sing a song), and we still don't get to see what most of the other unseen experiments look like. (Some never-before-seen experiments do show up, and we see a list of experiment names in the credits, but that's really it.) In all, it seems like Disney made this movie just to give the Lilo & Stitch franchise some sort of conclusion regardless of how well it would turn out, and it shows. Leroy & Stitch has the lowest average rating of all four Lilo & Stitch films on IMDb,note  and was ranked on WatchMojo's list of the "Top 10 Worst Straight to DVD Disney Sequels" at #10. (Although WatchMojo says, "The movie itself isn't unwatchable, just more of the same and entirely unnecessary.")
    • The Emperor's New Groove manages to really break the mold in terms of Disney animated movies. Its sequel, Kronk's New Groove, was by no means terrible, but still feels rather generic in comparison, playing out more like three episodes of a TV show strung together than an actual movie and is considered to be average at best. Fittingly enough, there actually was later a TV series called The Emperor's New School, complete with a new voice actor for Kuzco and apparently having all of the soul of the first movie surgically removed and replaced with more slapstick.
    • Bambi has a direct-to-video midquel, Bambi II, which was released just shy of the original's 65th anniversary. While it fares better with fans than most other Disney sequels, it is still usually regarded as average at best. The main complaints stem from that it either adds too little new to the universe of the original, or the changes it did make (i.e. playing up contemporary humor, humanizing the characters' personalities, and using contemporary folk songs mixed in with an orchestrated soundtrack) were not for the better. It is generally praised for having good animation and visuals among the Disney sequels, however. Its high budget even garnered it a theatrical release in some regions.
    • The Fox and the Hound 2 is hated as well, due to being almost completely In Name Only, and the entire thing is accused of being a case of Tastes Like Diabetes. The original film was one of Disney's darkest and most somber works; the sequel runs completely against that by having the eponymous duo join a country band. And, to quote The Nostalgia Chick, no matter where it finishes, you are where you left off in the original — being torn apart by the roles of society. Though as with some others on this list, some people do think there are some silver linings, among them the well-done art and animation, Reba McEntire as one of the members of the aforementioned band, and Rob Paulsen's flawless Pat Buttram impersonation in the role of Chief. This is one of the last Direct-to-Video sequels to the canon produced.
    • In general, the "cheapquels" all suffer from this, simply by virtue of being lower-budget Direct-to-Video sequels of polished, famous classics. Almost none are considered worthy followups, and even then, only in the cases where the original film was considered poor to begin with. In general, the ones considered watchable films in their own right (if not compared to the original) include the Aladdin sequels, the Lion King sequels, Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure, and maybe Return To Neverland, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, Bambi II, or Brother Bear 2note . Cinderella III: A Twist in Time is likely the only one that many consider to be as good as, if not better than, the original movie.
    • Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas, a follow up to the surprisingly good direct to video special Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas, suffers from ugly CGI animation, Donald and Max coming off as Unintentionally Sympathetic (with Daisy and Goofy being Unintentionally Unsympathetic as well), and an overall lack of interest.
    • One of the conditions Pixar put when they joined with Disney was that they wouldn't be required to make sequels. In fact, because one of the parts of the merger was putting Pixar's people in charge of Disney's animation studio, one of the first things they did was halted production of Disney's own Toy Story 3, shutting down the studio that was making it (which got labeled as Pixaren't) and then they began working on the title in-house. Consequently, both Toy Story 3 and the entire Toy Story trilogy have been lauded as cinema classics. They did, however, make a sequel to Cars, already considered one of their weaker movies, resulting in what is widely considered their worst movie, Cars 2, and shattered their nearly spotless artistic reputationnote . The 2013 prequel to Monsters, Inc., called Monsters University, didn't help matters, despite several good reviews. As of this writing, the only Pixar sequels outside of the Toy Story series to get a near-unanimously positive reception are Finding Dory and Incredibles 2, both of which still tend to be seen as slightly lacking compared to their respective first movies.
      • Planes, a spinoff of Cars made by Disneytoon Studios, managed to come off of as even more cliché and toyetic than the franchise it was spun off of, having not much heart or purpose outside of being The Merch to four-year-old boys.
    • Subverted in regard to the Winnie-the-Pooh movies. Due to the unique nature of the franchise, and the fact Winnie The Pooh in general lends itself well to the simpler storytelling of Direct-to-Video projectsnote , these movies tend to be viewed separately from the rest of the sequels, and are thus exempt from the scorn thrown at the others. Pooh's Grand Adventure and The Tigger Movie in particular are seen as some of the finest works in Pooh's name. However, later Pooh films never achieved the heights set by those movies, even if they rarely earn the same bile some of the other Disney sequels do.
  • For a canon example, The Rescuers Down Under is a more downplayed instance. The film got some good reception and is still considered a good film to this day, but it became the sole financial bust of the Disney Renaissance (and only one of two Disney Animation bombs during Jeffrey Katzenberg's Disney career, the other being The Black Cauldron). It also has a lower RT rating than the original Dark Age Disney classic, though still in fresh territory.
  • Fantasia 2000, while enjoying quite a good reception, is not as well regarded as the original Fantasia; a lighter tone stemming from celebrity hosts and more cartoony pieces speaks of lower artistic ambition.
  • The theatrical short/special Olaf's Frozen Adventure, putting aside all of the controversy involving the special being shown ahead of Coco, is often accused of having inferior writing, songs, and dialogue to the original film.
  • The page quote itself was a long time slogan for Disney. With Three Little Pigs being the best selling Silly Symphonies cartoon, and thus a Tough Act to Follow, it's unsurprising to think about how The Big Bad Wolf, The Three Little Wolves and The Practical Pig fared in comparison.

    Films — Live-Action 

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