(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure)
Doug (vo; sighs): I don't know if it's the string of particularly bad Disney sequels I had to sit through the last few days, or the fact that this might actually be a good movie, but 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure...is actually kind of a good movie. I dare even say, on par with the original. Yeah. I can't believe those words are leaving my mouth either. Really? This is the one? It has the spirit of the original, artwork similar to the original, some great updates, some good callbacks. It's exciting, I didn't always know where it was going to go. It's funny, adventurous... Oh, my God! I think I came across an actual good Disney sequel!
Doug (vo): It begins not too shortly after the first one, where we see the Dalmatian Plantation is about to be put into effect, so the family is about to move. But one of the puppies, named Patch, is feeling a little out of place, and it's understandably so. When you're the middle child of a hundred and one, you can get a little lost. Hungry for his chance to stand out, he sees that a TV dog, named Thunderbolt, is holding auditions for a new dog to be on his show. What he doesn't know is that his current sidekick, named Lil' Lightning, has told him that they're about to kill off his character, so he needs to find a way to prove to the public that he's a real hero. Patch gets roped in, as he knows everything about the show, but they seem to cause more chaos and misery than they do save people from it. Meanwhile, Cruella...oh, God, how do I even explain this...gets sucked into the art world because she sees a guy who paints a dot. She admits that it feeds her crazy obsession, and they just kind of paint dots together. But he seems to be running out of inspiration, or at least she doesn't like the work he's putting out, so she once again tries to kidnap the puppies, only this time, she's not gonna make a coat out of them. She wants to paint the canvas with them. Oh, my God, that is delightfully psychotic! In fact, I think she's even crazier in this movie than she was in the last one.
Doug (vo): The funny thing is, as I've described this plot, I realize it's kind of a formulaic plot. Well, for the most part. The art stuff is pretty out there. But there's a lot of callbacks to the original, there's another "liar revealed" story, another kid feeling out of place. We've seen all this stuff before. In fact, this is about as typical a Disney sequel script as you can get. But there's one thing this movie has that those other Disney sequels didn't have: charm. It's a charming movie. The characters are so likeable. The comedy actually gets a few laugh out loud laughs. The pacing is never too rushed. The slow moments are perfectly slow, the fast moments are perfectly fast.
(The characters about to be mentioned are shown)
Doug (vo): The voice talent is especially good! That's Martin Short as the artist, he's really funny as hell. Cruella's voice (Susanne Blakeslee) is hilarious, the hero dog is delightfully full of himself. Jason Alexander as another villain, that's a lot of fun. And they got a real kid to play the puppy, not some adult just (in a mimicking voice, as the DVD cover of Lady and the Tramp II appears) doing a high-pitched voice like this (normal voice) that's just uncomfortable and weird.
(Scenes mostly focusing on the animation and artwork are shown)
Doug (vo): The artwork is also really great, these are some very distinct backgrounds that are very similar to the original. I like the original a little better, because they were hand-painted and these are clearly computer. But, by God, they still look great. It can be extreme and over-the-top, but it can also be kind of subtle and delicate, too.
(Various clips resume showing, with several scenes showing the climax and the "Twilight Bark" scene)
Doug (vo): I guess the one thing that's missing from it is, it doesn't feel quite as big as the original. I mean, the climax is another car chase, and it's just Cruella trying to catch the puppies again. There's even another scene where all the dogs bark to communicate. But in my opinion, the film makes up for it by having better comedy than the first. The first isn't especially funny, it's just...cute. This one has a much better sense of humor, and you can tell the writing is trying much harder than it really needs to try. And I love that! I love taking this idea that really should only entertain your two-year-old and actually throwing in some witty dialogue.
Final thought Edit
Doug (vo): So, is it a great film? By no means, but you're talking to a guy who doesn't even think the first one was a great film. But the first one was good and cute and had some charm to it. This is exactly the same thing. I love the interaction off of these people, I love that cute little pup talking to the egotistical dog, I like that weird artist talking to the insane Cruella De Vil. I like the husband and wife doing the little counterpoint duet in the opening. It's just...it's likeable! It's really likeable! It reminds me a lot of the Wallace and Gromit shorts or the Shaun the Sheep movie. It's not like you're slapping your knee at the comedy, but there's just something inventive about it, something so delightfully innocent, yet still intelligent. Like I said, I can't act like this is any phenomenal feat of animation or cinema storytelling, but...it's just a nice, enjoyable little movie, a movie that I couldn't predict where it was gonna go, a movie that had a line or two I might actually quote out of context, a movie I legitimately wanted to stay and watch until the very end. If somebody turned it off, I would go, "Rent it and watch the rest of it". I know that's how movies are supposed to work, but for a lot of Disney sequels, that's not what happens. It's a perfectly entertaining little film. And after all the stinkers I've had to watch, entertaining little film to me equals amazing.
(A scene showing Tower Bridge at night is shown)