What Is It About Animated Sequels?
How To Train Your Dragon, Despicable Me, Toy Story - the sequels often seem to outdo the originals.
In a Hollywood atmosphere that currently seems obsessed with stretching even the most moderate of box-office successes into a full blown franchise, sequels and prequels are a ubiquitous presence in cinema multiplexes. But in the world of animated cinema, where the construction of a film requires infinitely more hard work and dedication than a live action picture, sequels tend to emerge that better the original- a much rarer occurrence amongst many Hollywood pictures.
Gerard Butler stars in How To Train Your Dragon 2 which has won copious plaudits.
That’s not to say there aren’t a few howlers either, animated studios such as Pixar and Disney are just as susceptible as the rest of the film world in dispensing some truly woeful and misguided follow ups. The likes of Cars 2 and Rio 2 left no-one with the life affirming sense of warmth that truly brilliant animated films of this type should provide. As is universally recognised, a mark of greatness from an animated film is its ability to simultaneously appeal to children and the adults who accompany them to the big screen. The likes of Shrek 1 & 2 and the Toy Story trilogy are prime examples of catering for both age groups through crafty pop culture references and subtle entendre.
Of course, what aids in the success of a sequel is the strength of the original, a solid and flawless base on which to extend the characters world into fresh scenarios and circumstances. Cars possessed a certain charm, but it pales in comparison to the wit and ingenuity of The Incredibles or Finding Nemo. These films bristled with potential for future endeavour and contained characters whose personalities were so well rounded you couldn’t help but empathize with their plight. A sequel therefore, allows for these characters to evolve further and their development to be traced through the successive films.
There are anomalies to this hypotheses as well. Monsters Inc. for instance, suffered at the hands of an ill-conceived sequel that arrived devoid of much of the charm that posited the original as one of Pixar’s finest pictures. As such, fans are anxiously awaiting the Finding Nemo sequel to see if it flops like the fate that unfortunately befell Mike Wazowski and Randall. However, it seems that by all accounts the forthcoming How To Train Your Dragon sequel will see Dreamwork’s second highest grossing feature reach new heights in pure awe-inspiring visuals with an edifying plot to match. Critics are falling over themselves with praise for the feature, and it is currently riding high with a score of over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. The reason for this, it seems, is that the films sticks resiliently to the tried and tested animation formula of smart writing, impeccable animation and an appeal that transcends age.