Sequels are risky business in the film world. Some perfectly good films have crashed and burned after the release of bad sequels, leaving nothing but a carcass behind. Despite this, not all hope is lost. There have been some very successful sequels that mirror the appeal of their origin film. Here are some of my top recommendations… (and if you couldn’t tell, yes I like cartoons and kids’ films a lot).
1. The Lion King 2
It’s pretty much a given that everybody loves The Lion King, otherwise you quite frankly had no childhood. But for me, the second film is just as good and brings me much nostalgic joy. Whereas the plot of the first film is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the second is a rather furry rendition of Romeo and Juliet. But, of course, in true Disney style, it doesn’t have the same tragic ending.
Many of the well-loved characters are back, including Timon and Pumbaa, Rafiki, and a grown-up Simba and Nala. Like the original, this film has an unforgettable soundtrack. If you love The Lion King and are yet to see the second film for fear of ruining it, don’t fret, it’s worth a watch.
2. The Rescuers Down Under
Even though the first Rescuers film scared the hell out of me as a kid due to the creepy villain Madame Medusa, it was still a firm favourite. As you can probably guess from the title, the sequel takes place in the Australian outback and sees the return of the best mouse duo in cinematic history if you ask me: Bernard and Miss Bianca. They must help the kidnapped young boy, Cody, escape his evil captor. If, like me, you’re not ready to see the end of the Rescue Aid Society in action, then look no further.
3. Despicable Me 2
As annoying as the Minions may be, you can’t deny that the Despicable Me franchise doesn’t lose its appeal as an almost-adult. This time around we see a softer side to the lovable rogue, Gru, who is recruited to fight crime alongside his new sidekick, Lucy.
As a very hyper and quirky character, I can definitely relate to Lucy on a spiritual level, and she is an endearing addition to Gru’s team. Even if you don’t have a younger sibling or relative that you can watch this one with, embrace your inner child for Despicable Me 2.
4. Toy Story 2
Another highly memorable sequel, Toy Story 2 is entertaining for both adults and children alike. When Woody is taken away and mended by a toy collector, Buzz and the rest of his friends vow to save him and bring him home, braving a treacherous journey.
This film broaches the subject of what it means to be forgotten by an owner when they grow up; the emotional song ‘When She Loved Me’ will rip your heart right out. Also, the fan theory that Jessie’s owner was in fact Andy’s mother adds a whole new dimension to the story.
5. Shrek 2
Last, but most certainly not least, is the tale of Shrek. This is a controversial opinion, but I believe the second film is vastly superior to the first, with the introduction to many significant characters, including Puss in Boots, the Fairy Godmother and Prince Charming. If you don’t know the plot to Shrek 2 (*raises eyebrows in disgust*) it goes a little something like this: after Shrek and Fiona’s happily-ever-after wedding, they are invited to visit Fiona’s parents in Far Far Away and all hell breaks loose. Go watch it.
So, if you’re fed up with revision and coursework, or want to procrastinate somewhat productively, have a watch of these films and judge for yourself whether the sequels were a good call or not.