When you look back on your childhood through a rainbow haze of nostalgia and Kool-Aid binges, everything looks pretty darn spectacular. Life was simpler, Saturday morning cartoons were your heaviest commitment, Twizzlers were a lot cheaper, and every movie was super awesome.
How awesome were they, though, when you finally recover from your Kool-Aid hangover? Look, it's tough to rag on kids' movies -- no one wants to be the person to call out adorable anthropomorphic animals. It's not a good look. But we're here to do the hard jobs: To save our children from suffering through some horrible sequels. To save you from watching the same terrible movie 12 times per week with tiny, obsessive humans. To cut through the crap once and for all.
'Son of the Mask' (2005)
Let's get this one out of the way. Jim Carrey is "The Mask." "The Mask" is Jim Carrey. The actor's elastic mug and unhinged humor allowed the original film to transcend its '90s trappings and become not just a living, breathing Tex Avery cartoon, a perennial kid pleaser.
So why make a sequel 11 years later? Why do it without Carrey? Why shoehorn in bizarrely out of place references to Norse gods -- including Bob Hoskins, in his worst role since "Super Mario Bros.", as Odin? And why, for the love of all things stretchy and green, is this movie not funny? Like, at all?
'Honey, I Blew Up the Kid' (1992)
The year was 1992 and somewhere in Hollywood, a screenwriter forgot that a pitch for the "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" sequel was due in an hour. One spilled latte, some rush hour traffic, and a mad dash to the boardroom later, our imaginary writer threw the pitch: Wait for it. "What if, instead of shrinking this time, the kids got, like, BIGGER?" This is the only feasible explanation for the unfortunately named, "Honey, I Blew Up the Kid."
And that's it. In the first one, the kids got small; in this one, the kid gets big. That's the whole premise of the movie. Congratulations, we just saved you an hour and 29 minutes.
'Teen Wolf Too' (1987)
We love Jason Bateman -- "Arrested Development" is almost enough to get him a free pass for life. But "almost" isn't quite enough to forgive "Teen Wolf Too." Somehow -- in a feat that could've only been pulled off in 1985 -- "Teen Wolf" made its absurd combo of werewolves, teen angst, and high school sports work with just the right blend of charm, exuberance, and lycans playing basketball. "Teen Wolf Too" does not, by any stretch of any imagination, make anything work. This completely unnecessary retread follows the original teen wolf's cousin and replaces basketball with a climactic frog-tossing fight in a biology class. Literally, people throw frogs at each other in this movie.
But it could've been worse; we could've gotten the planned three-quel: In the third movie, Alyssa Milano was to portray a hockey-playing, white-furred, teen wolfette.
Wait, never mind. Everything about that would've been awesome.
The Disney Vault (of Shame)
For the most part, when Disney opens up its storied vault, you can expect magical things. Sometimes, though, the magic smells suspiciously like straight-to-video sequels no one ever asked for.
These "gems" could have a list all their own, but let's cover some of the worst offenders. "The Fox and the Hound 2" tells the tale of a rollicking canine rock band that undoes all the thematic gravitas of the original. "Cinderella II: Dreams Come True" haunts our nightmares by replacing any sort of narrative with fairy-tale politics and unrelated vignettes. And in "The Lion King 1 1/2" (that is not a typo), Pumbaa's farts lay waste to an entire pack of hyenas.
So do yourself a favor: Stick to Disney movies that don't have a "2" -- or a "1 1/2" -- anywhere close to the title.
- Complex: The 50 Worst Movie Sequels of All Time
- RogerEbert.com: "Son of the Mask"
- The Street: The 10 Worst Movie Sequels in Hollywood History
- Los Angeles Times: Movie Reviews: "Teen Wolf Too" Deserves a Silver Bullet
- io9: The Teen Wolf You Never Saw, Sadly
- Dorkly: Five Awful Disney Sequels You Didn't Know Ruined Your Childhood
- The Robot's Voice: The Eight Most Wretched Disney Movie Sequels