Mulan II picture image

Mulan II

As a follow up to the original, Mulan II doesn’t measure up. However you can’t really judge the Disney Sequels by the original. On the spectrum of the Disney sequels, it was fine, a bit mediocre but fine compared to the other Disney sequels you could watch.

Mulan and Shang Mulan II picture image

Mulan and Shang

A mere a month after the original, Shang proposes to Mulan. With their impending marriage it means Mushu will lose his cushy job. While Shang and Mulan get along, her parents fear that they could be different in their future ideas and Mushu gets into his head to break them up. In the midst of this, Shang and Mulan are summoned to Emperor for a new mission.

The Emperor fearing the Mongols, has arranged the marriage of three daughters for an alliance. Shang and Mulan enlist the help of Yao, Ling, and Chien-po. Mulan is very much against arranged marriages but goes along with it. The three princesses fall for Yao, Ling, and Chien-po and Mushu manages to drive a wedge between Shang and Mulan.

Mulan finds out about Mushu’s scheme and starts to make up with Shang but the group is attacked by bandits. In the fight, Mulan thinks Shang falls to his death. Mulan wanting to be true to her heart decides to sacrifices herself to the arrange marriage which would allow the princesses to be true to their hearts. Mushu realizes he was very wrong and wishes he could undo it. Shang shows up and Mushu pretends to be the Golden Dragon of Unity and Mulan is free to be with Shang.

In the end Mushu gets to keep his job. Everyone is happy except Mulan’s ancestors who have to put up with Mushu.

Mulan with Chien-po, Su, Mei, Yao, Ting Ting and Ling Mulan II picture image

Mulan with Chien-po, Su, Mei, Yao, Ting Ting and Ling

The story isn’t as grand or as epic as the first one but the issue is that until the end there are no stakes for the characters. It’s a Disney movie, you know the heart wins out in the end but Mulan going to offer herself as a replacement felt very tacked on and contrived. It does offer Mushu redemption for breaking Shang and Mulan up and makes Shang change his uptight ways but it felt really forced.

Mulan and Shang Mulan II picture image

Mulan and Shang

Then we have Shang’s personality change or at least I think it’s a change. I haven’t seen Mulan in while but I don’t really recall Shang being such an uptight guy.

This movie makes him pretty much a jerk till the end. I guess it worked better for the contrived narrative to give him a character arc that he never had.

Mulan and Shang Mulan II picture image

Mulan and Shang

Then we have a Mulan’s character change. Mulan in this movie is very much anti-arranged marriages even though she was going to do it in the first movie. Maybe saving China gave her a new preceptive on women’s issues.

Her being against it does add some contrived drama for the ending where she allows others to be loved when she think she lost her love but it felt forced. Perhaps if she had said something to bridged the gap between the to movies to makes this characterization makes sense it would have been more effective. Then again maybe she just forgot her stance on the issue, I mean a whole month did pass.

Su, Ting Ting and Mei  Mulan II picture image

Su, Ting Ting and Mei

Then we have the three plots ladies, I mean the three princesses, Ting Ting, Mei and Su . These three have no really personalities. I guess Ting Ting is the uptight mature one with a weird laugh but they serve as love interests for Ling, Yao and Chien-po as well as a point for Mulan to act on arranged marriages, which are bad in all cases even for peace or something.

Mulan and Shang Mulan II picture image

Mulan and Shang

Mulan II is mediocre and contrived but considering these sequels, it could have been worse so much worse. Best that can be said it’s decent effort, worse that can be said it’s dull and forgettable which still high praise for the Disney sequels.

The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride

The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride

The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride is generally considered to be one of the better Disney Sequels. But it is, is it really? Let’s find out.

Nala, Simba, Kovu and Kiara, The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride picture image

Nala, Simba, Kovu and Kiara

The plot is Romeo and Juliet pretty much. After Simba dethrons Scar, Simba banishes Scar’s Loyalists which I guess divided the Pride. The leader of Scar’s Loyalist is Zira, who is the mother of Kovu, the one Scar picked to succeed him. Simba’s daughter, Kiara, and Kovu meet and have a thing. Zira uses this to try to take her revenege on Simba and Rafiki plays matchmaker to help restore the prides.

In the end the two factions come together and yay big happy lion family. Timon and Pumbaa as well as Nala and Zuzu do very little.

Kiara and Kovu, The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride picture image

Kiara and Kovu

The first thing is compared to the other sequels, this one looks like an effort was put in to it. The animation is very nice and the songs are all pretty good. No ear bleeds here. So in the technicals, yes it’s good. But there is a lot of weirdness going on here.

Zira and Kouv, The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride picture image

Zira and Kovu

It feels like a Fan-fiction in the conflict. Where were these lionesses in the first movie? Shrugs. This conflict isn’t in keeping with what happen in The Lion King. I also find it hard to believe that Scar had supporters. I think the real issue and the way Scar got support, in  that the Pride Rock faction wear white eyeliner and the outlanders like black eyeliner. It’s a Make-up war.

Kovu and Kiara as Cubs, The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride picture image

Kovu and Kiara as Cubs

Another thing with these “other” Lions is that they look like Scar. Are the darker hues and black eyeliner a recessive genetic trait? Who is Kovu’s father? This movie makes it very clear it’s not Scar but there are no other males. The logic in this isn’t thought out. And it’s not a small thing, people discuss this massive plot-hole and come up with theories.

Kiara and Kovu, The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride picture and image

Kiara and Kovu

Even the logic of set-up isn’t super great, in fact, it’s really bad, this story feels different from the Lion King. Whereas Simba’s story is one of redemption and loss, this one is a forbidden love story. The forbidden love alway gets people invested. But the forbidden love angle comes at the expense of Simba’s character, who a jerk in this movie.  Kiara and Kovu are interesting and  likable. They also act like Simba and Scar in some ways and are quite different in others. For instance Kiara as cub gets into mischief like Simba but she doesn’t  really want to be Queen whereas Simba couldn’t wait to be King.

Ending Shot of My Lullaby, The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride picture image

Ending Shot of My Lullaby

However the movie as a weird little addiction of making referencing the original movie. Zira at the end of My Lullaby is practically the same shot as the ending of Be Prepare. Kovu’s scar is just like Scar’s, in fact Kovu means Scar . Kovu’s brother, Nuka, dies, Simba’s father dies. A song heavily features a Swahili word. Hakuna Matata is said for no reason other than to be said. I’m sure there are more. I just want to point out the Nuka’s face is burned and he’s ok but a rotten log hits him and he dies.

Kiara's as a debutante, The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride  picture image

Kiara’s as a debutante

Another thing annoy about the movie, is the haphazard time jump. It’s like bam, Kovu is an adult. You blink, you miss it. It’s so quick that the Kiara’s pride misses it. One Lioness says “Look how you’ve grown.”  People only say that because when there is a large gap in seeing a child. Like when you haven’t seen a child in like 7 years. Not when you see the kid every day. Did Kiara spend x number or months or years in a cave?

The original movie has a really nice time lapse, why couldn’t this movie steal that? Also Kiara says she and Simba used to stare at the stars together. That would have been a nice scene, too bad we missed it. Hey movie screenwriting 101, show, don’t tell.

Kovu, The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride  picture image

Kovu

The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride had a big act to follow but I think despite all the weirdness, it’s alright. It’s not like a fantastic movie but when you consider the Disney sequels, this is one of the better ones even with all the flaws.

Lion King

Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World  picture image

Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World

Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World in a way tries to mitigates Pocahontas’ historical love story. But be under no illusion, this thing as historically accurate as the original Pocahontas. But whereas the first film was entertaining and memorable this one is annoying and dull.

Pocahontas and Rolfe,  Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World  picture image

Pocahontas and Rolfe

So what is the plot? In a nutshell, Pocahontas has to avoid war by going to England and proving that she a civilized lady. The person who helps her the most is John Rolfe. Rofle is a diplomat sent to Virginia by King James. John Smith is presumed dead through most of the movie but helps Pocahontas when she is trouble and they part ways as friends. Smith is totally cool with Rolfe though.

Pocahontas and Rolfe,  Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World  picture image

Pocahontas and Rolfe

This movie has a little bit of an identity problem with Pocahontas, who is also having a identity problem in the movie. She doesn’t know what she wants. Her going to England is part of that. Pocahontas then has to pretend to be civilized in the British standard because if she doesn’t know the difference between an egg soup and melon soup, her people are as good as dead.

However she learns to be true to herself so movie feels rather pointless other than getting her and Rolfe to hook up and ending things with Smith. But more than that, this movie has her dressing more like a Disney Princess. Hell if I know why Disney doesn’t just sell dolls of her that gown.

Pocahontas and Rolfe,  Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World  picture image

Pocahontas and Rolfe

Then we have the point of the movie. You see historical Pocahontas and John Smith were not lovers. Pocahontas married John Rolfe. So this movie tries to correct the couple in first movie.

But how are Rolfe and Pocahontas as a couple. Meh, fine, I guess . They are not really super interesting but there is nothing wrong either. Their snarky phase lasts like two minutes so it didn’t get annoying.

John Smith however is annoying. All he does is make puns. Mel Gisbon didn’t reprise his role but they got his younger brother, Donald, which is distracting. But for people who want a prominent actor, they got Billy Zane to play John Rolfe, which is fine, he’s a cool dude.

William Shakespeare, Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World  picture image

William Shakespeare,

Speaking of quoting other things. This movie uses two famous quotes badly. First, when Pocahontas arrives in London we see William Shakespeare apparently getting the idea for the line “to be or not to be.” Ok, FUCK YOU MOVIE. I know you’re historically challenged but shoehorning Shakespeare here is beyond the pail.

Historically Hamlet was already written, second Shakespeare died two months prior to Pocahontas arriving in England. And then Smith somewhat quotes Mark Twian’s “Reports my death have been grossly exaggerated.” That is just an eye roll but the Shakespeare one is super stupid.

Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World  picture image

Pocahontas

Beside the gross historical inaccuracies what is wrong with movie? It’s really slow paced. It like a sleep-inducing, Ambien, level of energy. The movie livens up a bit when they go to London but the London scenes are annoying as fuck. So what is worse, a movie being annoying or dull? Hard one! But you don’t have to chose because this movie is both.

Rattcliffe,  Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World  picture image

Rattcliffe,

I think what really drags the movie down is Ratcliffe. Ratcliffe has no real motivation. I think he wants to cause a war with the Powhaten so he get gold. Like that is his motivation? That is stupid.

However, all he does in this movie is cause shenanigans. I would say he just a chaotic evil than having some grand scheme but he doesn’t really act like chaotic evil. He acts like he has a grand scheme but we don’t know what it is. Ratcliffe was a dumb villain in the first movie and he is worse in this thing.

Uttamatomakkin,  Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World  picture image

Uttamatomakkin

Are there any good things about this film? Yes actually there is. I really enjoyed the new side characters. Pocahontas’ bodyguard Uttamatomakkin was a delight. I love this guy. He’s a tall stoic guy who is awesome. I loved with him drinking tea, classic. Mrs Jenkins, Rolfe’s house keeper, is a little annoying but her constantly making tea was silly. The blind gag was annoying though. But these two have personality which the main characters don’t. The main sidekicks didn’t annoy me as much as I thought they would  so plus there.

Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World  picture image

Pocahontas

As a sequel goes Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World is a decent continuation, as the concept  doesn’t shit all over the first one but it fails big in execution.

(Fun Fact – I have been to both Jamestown and London, not much of a feat I know)

The Return of Jafar picture image

The Return of Jafar

The Return of Jafar was the first direct to video sequel of Disney’s and it’s not bad, it’s not great but’s it’s not bad. It teeters on being fairly good.

Iago and Jasmine,  The Return of Jafar  picture image

Iago and Jasmine

As the sad truth is with Disney sequels is they are in no way half as good as the movies they are continuing. The animations and songs are not up to par with original. So I won’t harp too much on those factors unless I must. With this one, I don’t need to. The songs are ok and animation really could be so much worse. I really mean it’s bad but I have seen worse.

Arabian Nights,  The Return of Jafar  picture image

Arabian Nights

Return of Jafar has two missions as a “movie”, outside of making a little cash, the first one is the elimination of Jafar’s life. He is one of the few villains in renaissance period of Disney that was not killed in the first movie.

The second reason and the stronger impetus for this movie, is to kick-off the Aladdin TV series. Return of Jafar feels like a three episode pilot you can even see where if  the acts were episodes as they end every 23 minutes (At minute 23, 46 and 69, there is a lovely fade to black at each part). Even the opening song from the show, Arabian Nights, is the Return of Jafar version and not the original movie version.

Iago, The Return of Jafar  picture image

Iago

To add interest for the TV show, Aladdin needed a foil. Someone who was in friendly opposition to Aladdin’s do-gooder-ness. This role was ideal for Iago, Jafar’s minion parrot in the original. So Return of Jafar was Iago’s arc. It’s how he switches sides. Iago breaks free of Jafar tries to get in with the good guys but is threaten when Jafar gets out of the lamp and then Iago has to struggle between sides and decides to side with team good guys. So this movie is Iago’s story.

This was a risk as Iago was a very minor character but Disney has a little bit of a thing with redeeming former lesser badies. But Iago as a character is interesting. It’s not a rehashing of Aladdin, it’s own thing. And as story it’s a fairly classic one, the redemption tale, which was a smart move.

Iago and Jafar, The Return of Jafar  picture image

Iago and Jafar

Then there is Jafar, our titular character, Now I think Jafar was a big dumb stupid-head in the first movie. I mean, he was really stupid. Like Grade-A Dum-Dum. The guy spends years searching for a lamp so he can wish to be the Sultan but he has a snake staff with mind-control capabilities that works on the fucking sultan and he was in charge of the guards. A easier coup-de-tat, there could no be. So dumb.

He is still dumb in this one but he seems to be enjoying himself and badness in this movie more which makes him more enjoyable.  Enjoyable but dumb much like Abis Mal, whom I enjoy. Abis Mal is how you should use Jason Alexander Disney. Fucking gargoyles. I also love Abis Mal’s name ^^. Oh the puns names in the Aladdin show…. I should mention that I liked the Aladdin show.

Jasmine, Genie, Aladdin and Abu, The Return of Jafar picture image

Jasmine, Genie, Aladdin and Abu

Besides Iago and the bad guys, the good guys don’t do that much in this movie. The Genie is annoying, Aladdin helps redeem Iago but doesn’t too much and the others are there.

Hmmm, I wonder if Jasmine would have had more to do if this movie came out after the Princess Line was established? Though despite Genie’s annoying-ness, he does offer the information on the genie rules. Which two are important, one is that Jafar can’t kill people and if his lamp is destroyed he will be destroyed so long as he is not freed. This brings me to a big issue I have with movie.

Genie-form Jafar, The Return of Jafar picture image

Genie-form Jafar, The Return of Jafar

At the end of the movie, Jafar has his final confrontation with Aladdin and he divides the Earth and exposes hot molten lava. Where did the lava come from? Did he conjure it or did he really cut the Earth that far down? I mean to get to lava you have go thousands of miles into the Earth. It didn’t look very deep in the movie so I’m going with that he conjured it with his Genie magics.

Now if Jafar can’t kill anyone because it’s a Genie rule, does that mean the lava wouldn’t have killed anyone but could melt this metal lamp? I’m so confused. If Jafar trapped Aladdin in a box and hurled it into the Mariana Trench would Aladdin live through the lack of air and the pressure? Can he not physically kill anyone but set-up a demise or does his magic not have lethal potential? Because the lava would be his magic as well as the box in my terrible example, so would it impede his revenge? Answer me Movie! Who wrote this? I need an answers from someone! Hmmmm, 11 people are credited with the writing for this movie.

I know it was mentioned in the first movie but I thought it wasn’t something a genie couldn’t do but something someone couldn’t wish for. Looking at Disney wiki…….. (gags), Jafar can cause death indirectly. He can insight people to murder or use the environment. But the lava was his magic and therefore I don’t think it could have killed people. Can he push someone off a roof…. I mean there it’s fall that kills.

Ahhh, this is hurting to think about. But it’s not something little, this is climax and sort of the point of it all. If he teleported the lava could it still kill? I mean he had to use magic and if his magic can’t kill that would mean things influenced by said magic would not have the killing potential? (@@ Mind Implosion)

Jafar trapping Genie in an orb with a Spider lock, The Return of Jafar picture image

Jafar trapping Genie in an orb with a Spider lock

Anyway I’m off-track, that lava thing hurts my brain. I have another issue with Jafar, why spiders as his motif? What a happen to snakes? He still has his snake staff for cry-sake. So why in this movie he’s like Spider Fan-boy. Never got that one. Wait, can he still use this snake staff to control people? Can he command someone to kill? Why didn’t he just have someone do that? I can’t seem to let this go….

Jafar and Abis Mal, The Return of Jafar picture image

Jafar and Abis Mal

The Return of Jafar as a lot issues but it’s decent fairly story all around. As the Disney sequels go it one of the not bad ones. It’s not abysmal. Ha, Puns!