Charlotte’s Web 2: Wilbur’s Great Adventure is the equivalent of a lousy direct-to-video Disney sequel. In the way that it continues a much older movie nearly 2 decades later. Only with lower quality animation, storytelling, and voice acting. I first discovered the so-called sequel on a Nickelodeon VHS tape that I owned. That’s who markets the movie now that Hanna-Barbera isn’t as big as it used to be. Charlotte’s Web 2 has nothing to do with anything that E.B. White wrote. All the deep themes of the original story are ditched in favor of a juvenile kiddie story. The animation doesn’t help. It’s way too stylized with an overuse of bright colors. The worst character looks are Charlotte and her three daughters Nellie, Joy, and Aranea. Who for some reason have human hair. Amanda Bynes as Nellie is the only recognizable voice in the movie. Charlotte’s Web 2 is about Wilbur, Charlotte’s kids, and Templeton trying to save a black sheep named Cardigan from a dastardly fox. Then Wilbur spends almost the entire rest of the movie as a dirty wild pig covered in nature. I think I’ll take the honest depiction of mortality in Charlotte’s Web over the lazy adventure in Charlotte’s Web 2 anyday.
Wilbur plays with Cardigan
Preceded by: Charlotte’s Web
Why does Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild exist? It has nothing to do with E.B. White’s book. Instead they just make up a story set in the not so great outdoors. Stuart Little 2 and Spider-Man were such big hits for Sony that they both received short lived computer animated shows. Maybe they would have lasted longer if they didn’t have such bizarre animation. It wasn’t just computer animation, it was crossed with some kind of cel shading technique. Bottom line, it didn’t look right to me. So I wasn’t exactly keen on checking out the so-called third movie that came out 2 years later. Even if Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, and Michael J. Fox all returned, there’s still a distinct lack of Nathan Lane. Sadly this was Fox’s last movie role for nearly a decade. And this wasn’t even a theatrical release. Instead the quality is greatly decreased, the rating is lowered to a G, and the actors are given nothing to work with. Stuart Little 3 is just about camping. Along with Snowbell being kidnaped by a cougar in the wilderness. What’s worse is the fact that Stuart befriends a skunk whose just a walking stereotype. Stuart Little 3 ditches charming fun in favor of a childish cartoon.
Stuart at camp
Preceded by: Stuart Little 2
Since the High School Musical craze refused to end, Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure was made. The only spin-off made for the musical franchise. Most people don’t know it exists since it was released direct-to-video. Sharpay Evans is the “antagonist” of the three High School Musical movies. Played by Disney Channel “it girl” Ashley Tisdale. I say antagonist, but really she never did anything outright villainous. Of course Disney couldn’t keep her bad forever either. So she was always redeemed at the end of every movie. Sharpay is definitely the protagonist of Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure. Which has just about the most generic/cliché plot imaginable. After graduating from East High, Sharpay now yearns to star on Broadway. So she moves to New York, stays in a crummy apartment, doesn’t get the part, meets a guy that helps her, and eventually becomes a star. Its been done a million times and the only standout is the character. The songs don’t even standout. I also wasn’t happy to see her love interest change. Since she’s supposed to be with Zeke (the baker). The only real connection to the trilogy is a cameo from her brother Ryan. Which can only be seen on TV. Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure is at best a colorful distraction.
Sharpay and Boi are shocked
Spin-off of: High School Musical
Havoc is as the title suggests, full of self-destruction. It was also Anne Hathaway’s first attempt at shedding her good girl Disney image. For most young stars that means appearing in the most adult movie possible. Since this came out a year after The Princess Diaries 2 and a few months before Brokeback Mountain. Havoc deals with drugs, gang violence, promiscuity, and a variety of other heavy topics. All involving teens. The final result can be hard to watch, but not always for the reason you think. Havoc centers around the documented exploits of rich white kids from L.A. that talk and act like gangstas just cause they’re bored. It’s kinda too cringy to take seriously. Especially since a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Channing Tatum play a part. Their stupid behavior eventually catches up with them once they willingly enter a tough neighborhood and reality sets in. Although that doesn’t stop Hathaway’s character from going back, getting arrested, and bringing her equally incompetent best friend along for the ride. Anne Hathaway swears frequently and appears naked several times. It’s the main reason I knew the movie existed. It was apparently so lewd that it was released direct-to-video. Not that Hathaway isn’t putting effort into her performance. If Havoc is trying to say something, it’s probably to not make dumb decisions.
Allison flirts with Eric
Joseph: King of Dreams is a prequel to The Prince of Egypt. Prequel because it takes place in the Book of Genesis. Which is before the Book of Exodus in the Bible when Moses’ story takes place. Much like Disney movies at the time, Joseph: King of Dreams is the only Dreamworks Animation movie released direct-to-video. Since the story of Joseph hasn’t been done nearly as much as the story of Moses. Here’s a quick Sunday school lesson. Joseph was the youngest of 11 sons. His father favors him the most, for he possesses the power to see the future in dreams. So his father gave him an amazing technicolor dreamcoat. His jealous brothers left him to die and he was taken in by an Egyptian pharaoh. Eventually Joseph’s ability to decipher dreams helps him to gain power and reconcile with his brothers. Joseph: King of Dreams does still have nice animation (specifically in its dream sequences) and good music. It only suffers from its direct-to-video status. Which keeps it from being as grand as it could have been. Frankly, I would have been happy to get several biblical animated movies from Dreamworks. Joseph: King of Dreams is just a pleasant piece of an even larger puzzle.
Followed by: The Prince of Egypt
Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves showed that Disney’s Honey trilogy was sort of running out of ideas. After shrinking kids and enlarging a toddler, what’s the next logical step? Shrinking the adults I guess. It’s most likely why the movie became the first live-action direct-to-video Disney movie. In fact, Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves is surprisingly significant for several reasons. It’s sadly the last live-action performance from Rick Moranis. Before he decided to retire from acting. It also features a Pre-Smallville Allison Mack. And more surprisingly, Mila Kunis in one of her first acting roles. Like I said, Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves shrinks the adults instead of the kids. Giving Wayne Szalinski, his wife (recast), his brother, and his brother’s wife a chance to experience being small. Only this time all the action is kept in the house. With Hot Wheels racing, bubble travel, and a giant cockroach. I enjoyed Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves when I was younger, but it doesn’t hold up much when I’m older. The adults were never really that funny to begin with. Most of it is just mom and dad jokes. Plus the effects have gotten more primitive. Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves just thinks too small.
Mitch sees his mother
Preceded by: Honey, I Blew Up the Kid
George of the Jungle 2 is the critically panned direct-to-video sequel to George of the Jungle that I still kinda liked. Like any other low quality follow up I saw as a child, I didn’t really notice how bad it was. I first watched George of the Jungle 2 with my brother on the Disney Channel. We both enjoyed it about as much as the first one. Apart from what was pointed out to us, I didn’t even notice that practically the entire cast was replaced by cheaper actors. Specifically some guy I never heard of named Christopher Showerman who replaces Brendan Fraser. Though their joke about it is funny. The only returning cast members are Thomas Haden Church, John Cleese, and the narrator. Whom I felt was the funniest part of the whole movie. Hearing him constantly berate the cast is hilarious. The rest of the plot involving Las Vegas, a kangaroo, a mean lion, and hypnotism is just guilty pleasure nonsense in my opinion. George of the Jungle 2 is a sequel you’ll only like if you enjoyed the first movie.
George and his family
Preceded by: George of the Jungle
Don’t let the 2 fool you, Fright Night 2: New Blood is yet another rehash of Fright Night. How is it possible that this was made only 2 years after a movie that was already a remake? What was the bloody point? Especially considering it was direct-to-video. I don’t know how many times we can see Charley Brewster discovering vampires exist, his friend “Evil” turning, recruiting Peter Vincent, and rescuing his girlfriend. The difference this time is the setting is now Romania. Jerry Dandridge is now Gerri Dandridge. The only thing the gender swap does is give off more lesbian undertones. While the third version of Peter Vincent is now one of those reality show monster hunters. Fright Night 2 has nothing but unknown actors, cheap effects, and did I mention it was another remake. If not for its forced connection to the original, sequel, and remake, I would never have even considered seeing Fright Night 2.
Gerri bares her fangs
Preceded by: Fright Night (2011)
The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars is the second sequel to The Brave Little Toaster. Even though it was released before the second installment. That’s why I saw it many times as a kid. Like other direct-to-video Disney sequels, sometimes I prefered a sequel over an original. Not because I thought they were better. It was because the original was darker. Meaning I would rather stick to something quick and easy to watch. The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars is probably the lightest movie in the entire trilogy. After the master and mistress get married, the appliances welcome a new baby to the family. As well as a few new appliances. Things take an unexpected turn when the baby is transported to outer space and the appliances have to go to Mars to rescue him. They achieve this by attaching a ceiling fan to a laundry basket. On their way to Mars they encounter a bunch of singing balloons and on Mars they encounter advanced military grade appliances. The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars has an out there premise, but together it makes The Brave Little Toaster a fun animated trilogy.
The appliances float through space
Preceded by: The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue
The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue is the first sequel to The Brave Little Toaster. Even though it was released after the third installment. That’s the way I viewed the movie initially as a kid. Just like direct-to-video Disney sequels, The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue is far lighter then the original. Ironically both Brave Little Toaster sequels were distributed by Disney this time around. Although unlike most direct-to-video sequels, I feel both sequels are just as strong as the original. Not as deep, but just as enjoyable. The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue takes place in college while the master is working in an animal clinic. The appliances make friends with a group of animals that can also talk. A mother cat, a chihuahua with a broken leg, a snake, and an elderly chimp. The most notable new addition being a rat named Ratso. The biggest conflicts involve a supercomputer virus and a threat against the animals. Along with a few new catchy songs. I haven’t seen The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue as much as the other sequel, but I like it just as much.
The appliances drive off
Preceded by: The Brave Little Toaster & Followed by: The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars