To preface this review, I haven't seen this in about two years, so I might not be remembering all of it correctly. However, I do remember that I watched this as part of a "bad Disney sequels" double feature along with Hunchback of Notre Dame II. (Yes, I admit; I'm a bad movie masochist!) Surprisingly enough, though I can't say I would watch Cinderella II again of my own free will anytime soon, I can say that it somehow isn't as bad as I was expecting. Of all the Disney sequels I've seen (and yes, I have seen quite a few of them), this is one of the least lousy. The three-story format seems to work a lot better with the television-quality, way-too-bright-and-none-too-subtle art and animation; it was nice to see that they were trying to evoke episodes of a television show rather than labor under the pretense of it being an actual movie. In light of this, it might make sense to break this review down into three sections, one for each story. (Possible spoilers ahead.)
Cindy Plans a Party: Yawn. This is, by far, the worst of the segments. Cinderella, now in charge of the Ministry of Parties or some such bogus organization, has to convince the higher-ups that yes, peasants should be allowed to participate in the next royal shindig. That's about it. Very dull; no compelling reason to really watch it because nothing actually happens. Moving on...
Are You a Man or a Mouse? - Make Up Your Mind Already!: Jaq, one of Cindy's mouse friends and one of the overall highlights of the entire endeavor, decides that, as a mouse, he's too small to really be of any help to her around the palace. So, thanks to a spell from the Fairy Godmother, he becomes a man, who also, inevitably, gets in the way and isn't much use to anyone. This one would be fairly silly as well, except that Jaq is a pretty endearing little guy. It also doesn't hurt that one of my favorite voice actors (Rob Paulsen of Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain fame) does his voice, and because Jaq becomes human, the voice hasn't been sped up beyond recognition.
The, Um...Evil(?) Stepsister: So, we barely get to see Cinderella in this one, but considering that she's not the most exciting character, it's nice for the spotlight to shift for a moment. Instead, this features as our protagonist none other than...Anastasia, one of Cindy's evil stepsisters. Huh? Well, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that she had a change of heart after Cinderella got hitched to her Prince (who sounds eerily like Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid; is there some funny business going on in Disney fairy-tale land?) It wouldn't seem that Anastasia, being somewhat ugly as well as formerly evil, would have too many prospects in the area of love, but her mother still wants to see her marry rich, which is why she is shocked and appalled when Anastasia falls in love with...a common baker! (Cue Hitchcock-esque horror music.) But with Cindy's help, all works out, and she gets her baker. Awww.
Overall, Cinderella II is pretty bland and not very interesting, but it's definitely an improvement over other Disney sequels, because it's much less painful to have three small segments of sub-par animation and storytelling rather than one big dose. There are actually enjoyable parts, even in the thrown-together interstitials between the stories featuring the Fairy Godmother and the mice. All in all, it's a nice little diversion to rent for an evening if you're bored and don't have anything else to do.
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