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.