Is there a bad movie that you love to watch?
It’s clear that Disney is a powerhouse when it comes to making excellent movies. As such, when they announced that they would be doing a direct-to-video movie, a lot of people were really excited. On paper it sounded great- more Disney sequels to our favorite movies, and we wouldn’t have to wait through the long process of it going in theaters then being released on DVD. We would get more Disney movies much sooner than normal. Unfortunately, this move resulted in some of the worst Disney movies ever created, and that move has since been long destroyed.
However, it seems that Disney hasn’t learned their lesson from that time, because now they’re requesting that Pixar create sequels to their established films rather than expanding with new ideas. Granted some Pixar movies do deserve sequels like The Incredibles. Most of them, however, don’t really need to be made (we didn’t really need Monsters University). As a result, even Pixar isn’t free from releasing some less-than-good sequels that are quick examples for people to cite when speaking about bad Disney movies.
Despite these stigmas, there are plenty of people that still enjoy many of those films (whether they admit to it or not). Perhaps you find yourself in the same boat, perhaps you’re just here for the comments section. Either way, this is a list of 15 bad Disney sequels that people secretly love.
15. The Hunchback Of Notre Dame 2
The Hunchback of Notre Dame was another 2000s Disney film to actually transcend the relative quality at the time. It was a much darker film for the studio, but that served to its benefit. And for once, the main character didn’t get the girl, and that was perfectly fine in the context of the story. However, they spat upon everything they established with The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2. This is the only thing I will give the movie credit for- it knows that people want to see the guy get the girl. Apart from that, this movie is just a host of bad decisions layered on top of one another. The animation is abysmal (Quasimodo definitely takes the worst blow from this), Phoebus was turned from a competent guard into an unintelligent jerk, and the music is some of the worst I’ve ever heard. I find it hard to believe that anyone would love this movie, but as the Internet has proved, it has a group of people that are willing to defend it.
14. Toy Story 3
This is the part of the article where people start coming to my door with torches and pitchforks. Toy Story 3 is actually structured and put together very well. However, it’s because of that structure that it earns its spot on this list. Toy Story 3 is a near cut and paste of Toy Story 2. Sure the setting and new characters attempt to bring something fresh to the table, but it doesn’t come to close to reaching the heights of its predecessors. On top of that, overall the movie seems devoid of the “magic” that goes into the other Pixar films before it, and perhaps that’s because the film is a sequel. That said, it’s no secret why people love it. The moment where the toys nearly die and hold hands stands out, as well as when Andy gives up his toys as he leaves for college. It has bits and pieces of an excellent film, but never fully delivers on a stellar result. If you ask me, Pixar should stick with original ideas and stories, unless they are confident they can make the sequel just as excellent as the first.
13. Cars 2
This is the most identifiable example to me. Cars 2 is universally deemed the worst Pixar movie to date. Despite this, there are many people whom I know that really enjoyed it. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to enjoy a bad movie, but face the facts. Cars 2 suffers from the problem of putting a comic relief character as the protagonist, whilst essentially throwing aside everything that was established in the first film. The movie then introduces a story that has no emotional impact or resonance with the audience (likely due to Mater being in the lead role). Furthermore, the animation quality simply isn’t as good as its predecessor, and the whole spy movie subplot seems shoehorned in just to get kids interested in watching it. Overall, Cars 2 is a pretty awful film, but there are plenty of people that still love it for one reason or another. And I guarantee that they’re excited for Cars 3 as well.
12. Mulan 2
The first direct to video Disney sequel on this list is Mulan 2. Now explain how you could screw up a follow up to an incredible film with breathtaking animation, an intense story of war, and well-rounded supporting characters. The answer is quite simple: you lower the quality of the animation, you throw away the undertones of war in favor of a romantic comedy, you lose the focus of the original film, and you make the supporting characters little more than one-trick ponies. I could go on and on about the long list of problems that face this film (did I mention the songs are quite terrible?), but you probably get the point by now. However, there are still people that love this film, and while that may seem outrageous, I do have an explanation. People are so focused and stimulated by seeing continuations of their favorite stories, as well as seeing happy ending for their favorite characters. At the very least, Mulan 2 fits that bill. It takes its audience into the world of Mulan once more, and brings happy endings to her and the three male soldiers introduced in the first film.
11. The Lion King 1 ½
The Lion King is among Disney’s best work, so it’s not hard to believe that they would produce some sequels and spin-offs to it. Their second attempt at providing another look into this world was The Lion King 1 ½. Instead of a traditional sequel, this film instead follows Timon and Pumbaa’s journey during the events of the original film. Nobody really asked for a movie like this, but there is a lot of love for the bug-eating duo. Other than some somewhat catchy song work, the movie ultimately falls flat on its face. When making a movie set during the events of a previous movie, you immediately limit yourself in scope. Not to mention that the stakes are completely undermined as a result. Sometimes in an attempt to get more content, the makers will add in scenes and parts that not only feel awkwardly placed, but actually tarnish the reputation of the original work. This is especially true in The Lion King 1 ½. The movie takes many of your favorite scenes in The Lion King and ruins their impact by providing ridiculous reasoning for them. Example: Pumbaa farting was the entire reason that all of the animals bowed when Simba was presented as an infant. Still, there are people that find that more enjoyable than grating.
10. The Return Of Jafar
Most franchises get progressively worse the more sequels are introduced, but that isn’t necessarily the case with Aladdin. While the original is undoubtedly the best in the series, the franchise actually hit its all-time low with The Return of Jafar and not the third entry, Aladdin and the King of Thieves. The movie sees a continuation of the first film and how Jafar returns despite being trapped in a magic lamp. For some reason, it throws in some makeshift drama for Aladdin and Jasmine (who also for some reason are not married yet) by the introduction of Iago. The animation is definitely closer to a Disney Channel show as opposed to a classic Disney movie. Then, in the greatest offense of all, Robin Williams does not serve as the voice of Genie (he does return for the third movie). The Return of Jafar is easily an attempt to cash in on the success of the first film, but in doing so, it seems that the producers lost what made the first one so successful. However, as I stated before, people love seeing sequels to their favorite films.
9. Tarzan And Jane
Tarzan and Jane is enjoyable for many people because it provides a look at Tarzan and Jane’s life in the jungle after the events of the first movie. People just want to see how they’re doing outside of catastrophe, and that makes them enjoy the film. However, I can’t tell you that it’s any good. Where Tarzan was a largely focused story about a man raised by gorillas who is met by other humans, Tarzan and Jane instead tells multiple stories. These stories are not only very bland, but they’re constructed like a series of episodes that belong on Disney Channel (and in a way that was the intention). There isn’t much focus going on between them, nor is there anything to tie them all together. Instead we just teleport from one place to the next as we’re watching it. If you decide you still want to watch this movie, don’t expect anything near to the levels of the first film. Right away, you’ll notice something very off about the animation to the point where it’s actually very unpleasing to the eye.
8. Kronk’s New Groove
Despite the early 2000s being the worst time period for Disney as far as their films are concerned, there were a few diamonds in the rough. One of them was the Emperor’s New Groove. It told a much different story when compared to the classic Disney formula, but still had plenty of heart to make it stand out. Also, the dialogue in that movie is probably the best Disney has ever had. Like every successful movie, they decided to make a sequel, but instead of centering it around Kuzco (who made the first movie so enjoyable), they centered it around Kronk. However, this was a better decision on their part, as many people love Kronk and transitively love the film because it spends so much time with him. That alone doesn’t save the movie. Instead of being told in linear fashion, the story is told through flashbacks that don’t take place in chronological order, which makes it very hard to follow. Then there’s the fact that Kuzco only has one line in the entire film and shows up for about five seconds.
7. Fox And The Hound 2
People love dogs. People love cute stories. People love baby animals. That’s probably why I’ve ran into defenders of Fox and the Hound 2. Again, there’s nothing wrong with you if you like this movie- that’s purely subjective and also your choice at the end of the day. That doesn’t change the fact that it isn’t very good though. The biggest problem with this movie out of the gate is its setting. It takes place within the events of The Fox and the Hound before Todd and Copper are finally forced apart due to nature and the “Circle of Life” (wrong movie?). Right away, every conflict or moment of tension loses its impact, because we know that they have to survive, or canonically it wouldn’t make any sense. It also introduces a group of singing dogs that Copper somehow has the time to join, which confuses me when considering his living situation in the first movie. It’s clear that this one probably shouldn’t have been made, but if you’re going to build on a franchise, at least go forward and expand rather than limiting your scope from the first scene.
6. Leroy And Stitch
Lilo and Stitch spawned one of the better movie-based TV shows on Disney channel, but they created a number of sequels on top of the film that don’t hold a candle to the original. The best (or should I say worst?) example of this is Leroy and Stitch. The biggest problem I had with the Lilo and Stitch sequels is that they were completely devoid of the vibe and feeling that the first feeling gives. I truly felt like I was experiencing Hawaii in that movie. The sequels just didn’t have the same effect. As such, Leroy and Stitch being the final entry in the series was a culmination of everything that wasn’t so great. First of all the plot doesn’t make any sense. Hamsterviel had already attempted to take Stitch down by creating an evil clone of him, so why think that you could try it again? While it was nice to see all of the experiments together in a brutal fight near the end, the fact that they won because Stitch decided to sing a song is just terrible writing.
5. Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas
When TV shows seek to adopt 3D animation, my warning sensors immediately go up. The problem with this is that we’re so used to beautiful crisp animation present in countless movies. Small TV shows just don’t have the same resources available to produce anything that comes close to that. Sadly, the animation becomes awkward and hard to look past. Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas is a prime example. While Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas was 2D and looked fairly decent, the sequel opted for a 3D style, and it doesn’t look great. Like its predecessor, the film tells a few different stories centered around Christmas, and none of them particularly stand out or are very memorable. It’s a very “paint by numbers” experience, and when it attempts to do something different like that mash up Christmas song at the very end, it doesn’t really work (the song is quite awkward). Furthermore, the stories from the first film have much more impact.
4. The Rescuers Down Under
This is the second entry that I will probably catch a lot of hate over. People love The Rescuers Down Under. It has fostered a lot of childhoods and holds a lot of memorable moments that people are quite fond of. However, after a few re-watches, we’ve discovered that the movie isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Granted it has a lot of good elements to it, such as the Australian setting and the tension from the villain McLeach. Apart from that it’s not quite as impressive as its predecessor though. Once our favorite mice duo is finally introduced, Bernard is fixing on asking Ms. Bianca to finally take his hand in marriage. However, he gets unluckily interrupted throughout the film by a much more masculine Australian mouse. This kind of plot device is a cheap way to keep the tension of “will they won’t they” going. A young boy who is captured by the villain also conspires with the animals in order to break free. The animals have no problem communicating with the boy, which altogether tarnishes the immersion a bit. It’s not the worst of the worst by any means, but it’s not great.
3. The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride
Let me tell you all a story. After years went by of seeing The Lion King, I decided to watch it again after going through puberty in order to completely understand it. That said, I was blown away. Then, having not heard of the direct-to-video movie, I watched The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride. I was very disappointed. The reality is that when you try to follow up greatness with a mediocre attempt, you get something like this film. There are people that enjoy the music and story as a whole, but it’s not nearly as fun to watch. Also, the animation is much worse (including a very stiff fall from one of the villains). When it includes death, it isn’t constructed to have the same impact that it does in the original movie. Also, Simba is portrayed very oddly in respect to his journey in the first movie. He is much more annoying and is used as a cheap way to create drama. Then there’s the fact that there isn’t much relationship building between Kovu, Kiara, and Simba, but he still manages to be part of the family.
2. The Little Mermaid 2: Return To The Sea
Remember my argument about Toy Story 3 using the same structure as the movie that came before it? Well, in its defense, Toy Story 3 at least did it well. The Little Mermaid 2: Return To the Sea on the other hand, did not. The movie follows Ariel and Eric’s daughter as she lives on the land. However, she desperately wants to go live in the sea with the Merpeople. In order to accomplish this, she strikes a deal with a sea witch (who happens to be the sister of Ursula) which ends up biting her in the butt further down the road. Recognize any similarities? The problem with this is that the movie takes the plot of its predecessor and does it worse. Combine that with the dull animation that is trademark for direct to video Disney movies, and we have a winner. Again, people still enjoy seeing the continuation of their favorite stories, and like the others, The Little Mermaid 2 has plenty of people willing to back it up.
1. Finding Dory
Now cue the executioner knocking on my front door. This is probably going to upset the most people, but when you really think about it, you can’t help but at least admit that Finding Dory isn’t perfect. In hindsight, the movie didn’t really need to be made. However, we got it anyway, and there are countless people who have seen the film and love it. To its credit, Finding Dory has beautiful animation and some good new characters to help shake things up. That said, the problems with the film lies in the progression of the story and how characters solve problems. The movie first of all gives us a really weird impression as to what Dory’s memory loss truly entails. Secondly, many of the characters go above the water in the adventure, and this results in some terribly convenient moments (like the water spouts carrying Marlin and Dory). Hank is also a jack of all trades and can solve just about any problem the characters may face. Top that off with a bombastic land-based finale that is very unfitting for a cast of sea creatures, and you have a movie that’s less than stellar.