I’m not going to lie, I don’t have a movie in my life that I would consider “so bad it’s good”. But, because of my involvement in the So Bad It’s Good Blogathon from Taking Up Room, I wanted to find that film that I could finally call “so bad it’s good”. For this review, I could have chosen a film that has a reputation for being “so bad it’s good”. However, just because other people say that a movie is “so bad it’s good” doesn’t necessarily mean I would feel the same way about that movie. So, I approached the topic with this mindset: find a movie that might be less-than-stellar but has qualities about it that are redeemable. When I thought about a film that could fit these criteria, my first thought was a Don Bluth film that hasn’t been well remembered. One of my favorite movies is Anastasia from 1997. Don Bluth’s animation style is one of the things that make that movie so memorable. But I know that not all of Don Bluth’s films were created equally. With that said, I have chosen All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 as my pick for this blogathon! Since I’ve only seen half of the first film and bit and pieces of its sequel, I coordinated a double feature so I could figure out if All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 is “so bad it’s good”. Even though it had some flaws, I thought that All Dogs Go to Heaven was a good film. It also gave me some perspective as to what I could or could not expect from All Dogs Go to Heaven’s successor. Now that I have revealed which movie I’m reviewing, it’s time to see if All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 is truly “so bad it’s good”!
Things I liked about the film:
- The animation: Even though Don Bluth was not involved in the production of All Dogs Go to Heaven 2, I still liked the animation within the film. Like in the first movie, there was a good balance between dark and bright colors. A good example of this is during the movie’s climax, when the darkness of the prison is balanced out with the bright red of the villain and the bright pink that came from Heaven. I also thought that the quality of the animation was sharper than in the first film. Even though the animation was good in All Dogs Go to Heaven, it was softer in terms of the lines and shape of characters, buildings, and landscapes. In the sequel, this softer style of animation was just reserved for landscapes.
- Revisiting the characters of Charlie and Itchy: When it comes to sequels, one of the best parts is seeing familiar faces from the previous film. A highlight of All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 was having Charlie and Itchy return from the first movie! Their involvement in the sequel’s story helped provide some continuity between the two films. It was also nice to see both of these characters receive more character development. While in San Francisco, Charlie shares a memory of his youth with a new character named David. Not only did David learn more about his friend, the audience got to learn more about Charlie. Moments like this help characters like Charlie and Itchy gain more likability.
- The villain: As I was watching All Dogs Go to Heaven, I noticed that one of the flaws of the film was Carface. While he was a good villain, Carface wasn’t as strong of a villain as the movie wanted him to be. He seemed to show up in the film only for plot convenience, which made him not as big of a threat to the protagonists as he could have been. In All Dogs Go to Heaven 2, the villain was a cat named Red. To me, this villain was scarier than Carface, even upstaging Carface’s villainy. No matter if Red was on or off-screen, the sense of dread and doom was always there. Even his transformations in the film were pretty terrifying. This helped make Red an even bigger threat to Charlie, Itchy, and their friends.
What I didn’t like about the film:
- No references to the first movie: Something that I look for in a sequel is how the story connects to its predecessor. Unfortunately, All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 didn’t really make an effort to address the events of the first film. One example of this is the absence of Anne-Marie. In the previous movie, Anne-Marie played a significant role within the overall story. Her friendship with Charlie and Itchy was depicted as being very meaningful. But in the sequel, when Itchy joins Charlie in Heaven, Charlie does not ask about Anne-Marie’s whereabouts. Because these important details were ignored, it almost seemed like everything that happened in the first movie meant nothing.
- A rehashed story: The overall narrative of All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 felt like it copied some of the key plot points from the first film. David’s involvement in the sequel is a good example of this. Similar to Anne-Marie, David spends the majority of the film by himself. Charlie not only befriends the child protagonist in both films, he also helps them find their family. At one point in their respective films, Anne-Marie and David get taken by Carface. These coincidences made this story feel like it wasn’t as creative as it could have been.
- The main plot being an afterthought: In All Dogs Go to Heaven 2, the primary plot was about Charlie and Itchy going back to Earth in order to retrieve Gabriel’s Horn. But as I watched the film, it seemed like the story focused more on the whereabouts of David than returning Gabriel’s Horn back to Heaven. The audience doesn’t see the consequences of not having Gabriel’s Horn until the climax of the film. After the initial loss of Gabriel’s Horn, it doesn’t show up in the film again until the half-way point. While this part of the story was an interesting way to continue the overall narrative, it felt like more emphasis was placed on recapturing the magic of the first film.
My overall impression:
As a movie, I thought All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 was just ok. As a sequel, this movie felt very unnecessary. Instead of complimenting or adding to the previous chapter, All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 almost rejected everything that came before it. All Dogs Go to Heaven ended on such a good, definitive note. This made for a memorable and enjoyable stand-alone film. As I mentioned earlier, the sequel made the events in the first movie feel like they meant nothing. However, I do think that the creative team behind All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 had their hearts in the right place. We did get to see Charlie and Itchy again, as well as being introduced to new characters. The animation was good and so were the songs. While I wouldn’t call the sequel “so bad it’s good”, I don’t think it’s as enjoyable as the previous film.
Overall score: 6 out of 10
What are your thoughts on my review? Which movie do you think is “so bad it’s good”? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!