The Great Disney Blogathon: 101 Dalmatians II: Patch’s London Adventure (2003)
|November 24, 2014||Posted by Jess under Cartoons, Disney, Movies, The Great Disney Blogathon|
If the runaway puppy in the big city/daddy issues shenanigans of Lady and the Tramp II weren’t enough for you, you’re in luck – just two years after that bit of direct-to-video mediocrity was released, Disney followed up with 101 Dalmatians II, and even more direct-to-video mediocrity. So, um, yay? They didn’t even change the title that much. Come on, Disney, we’re not that stupid.
The plot, in brief: the dalmatians and their humans are preparing for the move to their “plantation” (PLEASE STOP USING THAT WORD IN 2003, MOVIE), but one of the puppies, Patch, is longing for a bit of special attention. (Like another Disney character, his soul languishes in an abyss of plurality!) When he’s accidentally left behind on moving day (KEVIN!!!), he decides that rather than try to follow his family, he’s going to seek out his favorite TV star, Thunderbolt, who’s visiting London. Thunderbolt, having just learned from his sidekick Li’l Lightning that he’s about to be killed off and replaced, decides he needs to perform a real-life heroic act to get himself back in the producers’ good graces, so he enlists super-fan Patch to remind him of his various stunts from the show so that he can replicate them.
A photo of Thunderbolt and Patch in the paper alerts Roger, Anita, Pongo, and Perdita to the fact that Patch is missing, so they return to London to find him. But Cruella, out on parole and having struck up a romance with a beatnik artist who specializes in minimalistic dots, also sees the photo, and gets the puppies’ new address off Patch’s license. Horace and Jasper steal the puppies and the bad guys resume their coat-making plans (despite the adamant objections of the beatnik), but the puppies’ pleas for help reach the Twilight Bark, and Patch, hearing the news, pleads with Thunderbolt to save his family.
Thunderbolt agrees, but Lightning, who made up the whole “you’re going to get written off” story as part of a plot to take Thunderbolt’s place as the star, sabotages the rescue attempt and Cruella chucks both Thunderbolt and Patch into a cage alongside the other puppies. Lightning tells Patch that Thunderbolt’s a fraud. Disillusioned but not beaten, Patch helps the other puppies escape, which naturally leads to the puppies driving a double decker bus through the streets of London in a high speed chase, because I mean come on.
Inspired by Patch, Thunderbolt shows up at the last minute (with some help from the beatnik) to save the day. All four bad guys are knocked into the Thames, the puppies are gleefully reunited with Pongo, Perdita, and the humans, and Patch is assured of his specialness. Hooray!
So yeah, this is basically a rehash of Scamp’s Adventure – well, it’s sort of the halfway point between that and Bolt. The key difference is that there were elements of Scamp’s Adventure that actively pissed me off, mostly to do with completely unnecessary sexism and classism, whereas Patch’s London Adventure is just kind of…there. Completely unnoteworthy. Mediocre animation, mediocre dialogue, mediocre music, mediocre story, just…there.
The only marginally noteworthy element is Thunderbolt (voiced by Barry Bostwick), who’s actually kind of delightful and hilarious at times, especially when he’s at his most hammy. But then, I enjoy self-centered hams who learn to be real selfless heroes. #boostergold The rest of the cast is perfectly fine, with Martin Short chowing down on the scenery as the beatnik artist, Jason Alexander continuing his proud tradition of slumming it as Lightning, and Susanne Blakeslee, Mauriche LeMarche, and Jeff Bennett mimicking Cruella and the Baduns particularly well.
I realize this is basically just a summary, but honestly, guys? There’s really nothing to say about this movie. It’s a completely forgettable sequel from smack dab in the middle of Disney’s long period of sequel madness, and that’s that. If you’re trying to decide between watching this movie or Lady and the Tramp II, I’d pick this one. But really, why bother with either when the originals are right there?