101 Dalmatians 2: Patch’s London Adventure Special Edition
Release Date: Available NOW
Price: $24.95 – Available Here
101 Dalmatians was an absolutely brilliant animated film that was made back in 1961, so it was no real surprise that it was given a sequel, although the fact that the sequel came forty-two years later is something of a surprise. Coming from the same studio but from a different era, with different technology, a different crew, and just a different feel in general, how does this change the film? Does it feel like a genuine sequel to the first movie, or just a tack on that they realised they hadn’t made yet?
101 Dalmatians 2 picks up right where the last one left off, which was a surprise given the amount of time between the two release dates. The Dalmatians are getting ready to move to a bigger house in the country where having 101 dogs is not as ridiculous (although yes, a little ridiculous still). Pongo and Perdita are loving parents as always, although Pongo is struggling a little with having ninety-nine children.
Instead of having the movie be about the parents, this time it’s about Patch, the tough guy puppy who loves Thunderbolt and has some cahones that are more young male posturing than anything else (at least at the beginning of the film). Patch is feeling a lot left out, having gained 98 siblings, and there’s a really strong vibe that reflects the ‘left out sibling’ that we’ve seen many times before, like in Home Alone and the Brady Bunch.
Patch is worried that he doesn’t have any individuality amongst his siblings, but hey kid don’t complain, I mean at least you’re one of the few who has a name. And then he gets left behind in the big family move (again, conjures up to mind Home Alone), which doesn’t really reassure him of his place in the family.
Then there’s Cruella De Vil, who’s got her full on crazy on and hasn’t seemed to have given up her obsession with spots yet. She’s a bit more of a caricature than in the previous film, when she was just plain hair-raisingly evil. There’s more humour to her instead of that evilness, and a couple of jokes at her expense, which will probably only be understood by the adults watching it. The kids might still see her as scary, but I guarantee that it will be less so than in the first movie.
The character of Thunderbolt, who plays a fairly large role in the movie, does throw something new into the mix of what could have otherwise been a fairly meh movie. Thunderbolt is a very strong presence in the film, with his character bringing a mix of melodrama and faux heroism, and he just happens to be American. He’s probably the character that most of the young ones will love, looking up to him the way that Patch does.
There are a couple of action scenes that require a pretty strong suspension of disbelief, but it’s all in good fun, and the movie is fairly enjoyable overall, although it must be noted that it doesn’t really live up to the first one and it feels a lot more immature (being from the perspective of a puppy instead of the parents).
Despite being made over forty years after the first one, they have done their best to retain the same style of the same movie by trying to do the backgrounds in the same way instead of in the new way that Disney movies have discovered since then. While it doesn’t look exactly the same, obviously, it still looks similar enough to emulate memories of the first one.
All of the voice actors have been changed since the first film, for obvious reasons, which I’m fine with except that the style of the English accents have changed as well. Patch’s accent in particular is quite different from the original film and it is a bit annoying because it’s so clearly a modern English accent that departs far from the original films range of accents. While it’s nice that they’ve kept everything so plainly English, except for Thunderbolt and Lightning who are American characters, the accents might get annoying for those who aren’t children.
The special features are directed towards the kids, including a behind the scenes featurette where a group of dogs take a tour of the Disney lot. There are also a few games that they can play on the DVD, that will probably entertain them. There isn’t much in the way of adult-aimed behind the scenes stuff like there was in the first Dalmatians movie, but that’s probably because they know that people who watched that movie as children are probably grown up by now.
101 Dalamatians 2: Patch’s London Adventure is certainly a 101 Dalmatians movie, but it feels a little bit askew when compared to the first one. It’s more aimed at kids, with less focus on family and more about that Disney goal to find your individuality and be a hero.
It’s a movie that your kids will probably enjoy, but one that the adults might want to give a miss while humming Cruella De Vil to themselves.