Ranking The Best and Worst Disney Sequels
I like to think that Disney is synonymous with my childhood. Those movies and shows defined a period in my life, with many of those movies still on my Netflix watch list. Chances are, you probably shared that experience and have a few guilty pleasure Disney movies too. They’re known for some of the most beautiful animated works in entertainment history and some of the ugliest. Today, we’ll be revisiting what tends to be a forgotten side of Disney movies – their sequels. Trust me, there are some really good and really bad ones on this list. Sit back, relax, and enjoy me ruining your childhood with review of the best and worst Disney sequels.
The Worst Disney Sequels
1. Hunchback of Notre Dame 2
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is the Disney movie that I would say has the most beautiful and telling animation in it, which is why this sequel is at the top of my list. Where the original movie focused on the nuances of love and racism, the sequel is near as cliche as it can get. It’s no secret that most Disney sequels are low-budget compared to their original films, but there is no excuse for the dramatic drop in animation and story quality that haunts The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2.
2. Atlantis: Milo’s Return
What made Atlantis: The Lost Empire such a great Disney movie was both its original story and brilliant animation. However, this Disney sequel falls short with both. The story is meant to combine the failed pilot episodes of an Atlantis TV show on Disney Channel, with the writers forced to make the pieces fit into a movie. Worst than that, the movie looks sloppily drawn. It lacks the love and care that made the original so fun to watch, which is often a hallmark in Disney sequels.
3. Lady and the Tramp 2: Scamp’s Adventure
Lady and the Tramp was one of the older Disney movies that I didn’t appreciate until I was older because of its stylistic differences. The original film captured the life of dogs from their perspective, which made the sequel’s emphasis on human characters rather jarring in comparison. It also takes away from the titular characters of the first film. Lady and Tramp both rarely appear in the film, but their replacement Scamp is hardly noteworthy in comparison. This sequel lacks the warmth and originality of the original, which is why it made the list.
4. Mulan 2
Now, I want to preface this review with this: I like Mulan 2 as a movie. However, it belongs to the Worst Disney Sequels list for a reason. The first is that the message of togetherness from the first movie is forgotten because Mushu is the main antagonist. He is so worried about losing his position with the ancestors that he tries to destroy Mulan and Shang’s relationship. Considering Mushu is my favorite character in the original, it hurts to see him take on the villain role. I also want to point out that the songs and story aren’t nearly as memorable as the first. Overall, it’s a forgettable movie.
The Best Disney Sequels
1. The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride
I think that this is easily the best Disney sequel because it pays homage to the original movie and builds its own legacy. The songs and story both match the original with each step it takes. I’m not a big fan of Shakespeare’s work, but this retelling of Romeo and Juliet (with a happy ending) always puts me in a good mood. I would go as far to argue that The Lion King 2 beats the original.
2. Aladdin: King of Thieves
I think that the Aladdin trilogy is arguably the strongest series of movies that Disney has made, so it was hard to choose one sequel to sit on the Best Sequel list. However, this story finishes Aladdin’s journey of self-discovery and allows him to move on from his past. We get to see how easily Aladdin could’ve been his father and took a different path, because of Jasmine and Genie. It has so much heart from the original, to which it pays a beautiful homage.
3. Bambi 2
Most people wouldn’t say that Bambi is their favorite Disney movie, with its heavy themes of growing up and facing tragedy. However, Bambi 2 offers something that no other Disney sequel does. It treats the original with almost a sacred respect, with beautiful animation and a heartwarming story. It doesn’t pull back from the emotional or scary moments. Personally, I think that this movie does what Disney does best and shows the standard that all of their sequels should be held to.
4. Peter Pan: Return to Neverland
Peter Pan is a timeless classic and I always find myself excited when it comes out of the Disney Vault. That might explain why I love Peter Pan: Return To Neverland so much. It builds upon the original’s message and creates its own about growing up too fast. It is both a new tale of finding imagination when it’s lost and a beautiful revisiting of a classic story. It also benefits from updates in animation, making Neverland familiar and new at the same time.