Disney has a reputation for making very bad sequels and possibly negating the brilliance of the original films because of them. Some of their sequels, however, have proved to be equally as entertaining as their predecessors. Here is the top 5 based on audience and critical sequels:
The Lion King 1 1/2 (Sometimes known as The Lion King 3: Hakuna Matata)
Released in 2004, this film runs parallel to the original and focuses on Timon and Pumbaa before and during the events of the original The Lion King (1994). The film opens with Timon and Pumbaa sitting in a dark theatre, watching the events of the first film, Timon then fast-forwards the film using a remote control to where the duo appear. After an argument from Pumbaa, they agree that the audience should see their side of the story. Critical reception was largely positive, with one review stating that “I recommend this for anyone who dug on the first one and wishes for something more.” However, it was also said that it was only satisfying for people who were already fans of the franchise and were unlikely to recruit new fans.
Released in 2006 and not technically a sequel, Bambi 2 is a ‘midquel’ and takes place during events from the first film after Bambi’s mother dies. The plot focuses on Bambi’s relationship with his father, the Great Prince of the Forest. The Prince decides to find a new mother to raise Bambi and the focus is then on father and son’s sometimes fraught but ultimately loving relationship. Critical reception was mainly positive, but some said it did not have the same magic as the original Bambi (1942) because Disney was only interested in capitalizing on the success of the original, and that the same care was not taken while making the film compared with the original that was made 64 years earlier.
Released in 2005, Tarzan 2 is another midquel. The plot tells the story of a young Tarzan trying to discover who he really is. It takes place during the ‘Son of Man’ song (where Tarzan is seen growing up) from the original Tarzan (1999). Tarzan is worried that his mere existence is putting his family in danger and leaves in an attempt to spare them any more trouble. Critical reaction was positive, the animation, audio and video were all praised and it even won the DVDX Award for ‘Best Original Score’ in 2006.
The Lion King 2 – Simba’s Pride
Arguably one of the best Disney sequels to date, The Lion King 2 (released in 1998) picked up where the original The Lion King (1994) left off. The film centers around Simba’s young daughter Kiara and Kovu, a male lion raised in the pride of Scar’s followers. While the original film’s plot seemed to be akin to Shakespear’s ‘Hamlet,’ The Lion King 2 seems to follow ‘Romeo & Juliet as Kovu and Kiara overcome the obstacles of being from warring families to end up together. Critical reception was positive with Siskel & Ebert stating that the film was a “satisfactory sequel to one of the most popular films of all time.” However, it was not all praise as the musical score palled in comparison to the original Elton John-penned soundtrack.
Kronk’s New Groove
Released in 2005, this film is a follow-on to the popular The Emperor’s New Groove (2000). This time, Emperor Kuzco narrates the story about how Kronk is fretting about an upcoming visit from his father and how he has always disapproved of Kronk’s culinary habits and wants him to settle down with a family in a big house. There are then flashbacks explaining how Kronk nearly had all of this and to re-introduce Yzma back to the story after being turned into a cat at the end of the original film. Despite no longer being a cat, she still has a tail. Critical reaction was very positive, with one critic stating it’s “fun and frolics for the whole family.” But, inevitably, when one person likes it, another does not, and some people slammed the film, stating: “Great voice talents but not much groove.”
These are just a few of several Disney sequels in the animated segment that has been liked by the mass, irrespective of age.