To Sequel, or Not to Sequel

Yes my friends, that is the question.   How many stories can be told?  The movie sequel has been around as long as there has been celluloid.  And Disney might be one of the biggest violators.  Freaky Friday, The Apple Dumpling Gang, The Witch Mountain Series, Herbie the Lovebug, all spin offs of previously successful stories.
So why are sequels frowned upon in most perceptions?  I know that when I hear of one, there is an audible groan.   From my own perspective, out of 10 sequels, you have 4 utter bombs.  2 not goods, 3 they were okay, and1 hit. So with odds like that, why keep doing it?  Are there that few stories?
This year Disney once again is releasing several sequels.  Incredibles II, Christopher Robin and Mary Poppins.   The Incredibles II felt in the Okay category for me.  Being someone who is critical about sequels, having a prologue of the movies stars “selling” me of an 11 year wait, felt disingenuous.   I felt like Disney was saying, “Yeah its a sequel, but hey, it took us 11 years so its okay!”
In the end, I enjoyed the movie, but it just didn’t soar for me.
Last night, I saw Christopher Robin.   Now, Unlike many of the other sequels mentioned, this one is playing with fire.   Winnie the Pooh is not just another story.  It is an iconic childhood connection that many in my generation have.   Many of the voices have passed.  Paul Winchell (Tigger), John Fiedler (Piglet), Sterling Holloway (Pooh).
Now if anyone can replace a voice actor, it is Disney, and they did in spades.  Jim Cummings Pooh is nigh undetectably different, and Brad Garret’s rendition of Eeyore is classic.   The story chosen for this return is well……   I am sorry to say, predictable.    This greatly disappointed me.   On top of that seeing Obi Wan Kenobi and Agent Carter together, oh wait, Ewan McGregor and Hayley Atwell, well, Ewan has such a distinctive voice that it really was difficult not flashing to Star Wars when he had to portray emotions.   Both great actors, but I felt that new blood might have been better choices.
Boy was I wrong.   Can I just say this is going to be a classic!  Yes the story was the usual, but by the end of the film, I was all in.   Jim Cummings, IMHO, elevated this piece.  His portrayal of Pooh was quintessential.   You could feel Pooh throughout the piece.  It was an amazing piece of work.  The filmography, the time period, the little sequences of laughter all placed perfectly.   The direction, the music, I really can’t support any negative thought I had going into this film.
Where does that leave us?  Well, I can only speak for myself but, with the coming of a Mary Poppins sequel I am hopeful.  Mary Poppins is my favorite movie from the Disney Stables.   I adore the story, I adore the film and I cringed when I heard what was coming.  In the end, you will hear many people say “They caught Lightning in a bottle”.  Well, where Disney is concerned, they create the Lightning in the Bottle, and I hope that trends with Mary Poppins.
If you loved Pooh, I expect you will feel much the same way I did.  All I ask is that you open your heart and let the story happen.  I know, it is a repeat story line, but just let them tell it.  I bet you won’t be disappointed.
dngnb8 is one of our contributors to D-COT and helps provide some very interesting historical info as well as the latest official Disney news.

6 Comments

  1. Thanks for your review! I have been on the fence about the Pooh movie. I mean, Pooh is meant to live in a fantasy, happy, joyful land that is untouched by the real world, where Christopher Robin goes to escape and enjoy his jolly time with Pooh and friends. So the thought of bringing Pooh to this world… well… that just seems like it would ruin Pooh. What we he do when he finds out the world is harsh and mean?

    But I still may want to see it. Just because I think it has promise, it just scares me a little that Pooh will be “tarnished” by the outside world.

    Glad to hear a good take! Thanks!

  2. I had the exact same trepidations. They handled it well, IMHO

  3. I’m ok with the idea of sequels themselves as long as they are a new chapter and advance the story. After all, Empire Strikes Back, what many consider to be the best Star Wars movie was a sequel. The trick is knowing when to end said story instead of dragging it out and milking the cash cow. When I thought Mary Poppins was a reboot or remake I was upset. Now that I’ve found out it’s a new chapter, another story, I’m wiling to give it a chance.
    Where I draw the line is remaking every single animated classic into a live action. Stop the madness already!

    • I agree with you, they need to know when to call it a day and accept that they won’t be making any more money off of the same franchise. Star Wars is starting to head that way I’m sorry to say. I’m glad they went with a sequel a la Christopher Robin instead of a remake for Mary Poppins. I would NOT have been happy with a remake!

      I’m also with you all the way on remaking the animated classics! Ridiculous! Especially “live action” CGI!

  4. Oh I’m so glad to hear this. I’ve only heard/read good things about it but have been warned that it will massively pull at my heart strings. With Pooh being my brothers favorite, I’m not sure my heart can handle this yet.

    As for sequels, I’m on the fence. I mean, they’ve been doing a GREAT job with them but at the same time I want new stories.

  5. I think the negative connotation with sequels came from the movies that were “meh”. It feels like the studios don’t even care that it’s not a good movie, the first one was successful so they made a sequel as a money grab. Like you said, sometimes sequels are a hit but that’s more of the exception to the rule, and getting mediocre sequels seems to cheapen and tarnish the original piece.

    I also saw Christopher Robin and loved it! Very emotional for me, Winnie the Pooh was my late grandmother’s favorite. She would read me the books and had plush toys that looked like the original book, which is how the characters looked in Christopher Robin. I almost want to buy the plush again (I don’t know what happened to hers) in memory of her. I think she would have enjoyed the movie

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