Toon Talk: 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure
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Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt
101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure
Not to be confused with 102 Dalmatians, the live action sequel to the live action remake 101 Dalmatians, 101 Dalmatians II: Patchs London Adventure is the sequel to the original animated classic One Hundred and One Dalmatians, and apparently takes place before 101 Dalmatians: The Animated Series woof, no wonder Im seeing spots
In this, the latest direct to video sequel, and the newest addition to the long-running (and mighty profitable) Disney Dalmatian franchise, young pup Patch (adorably voiced by Bobby Lockwood) takes center stage when he is left Home Alone after his parents Pongo and Perdita (Samuel West and Kath Soucie) pack up their pets Roger and Anita (Tim Bentick and Jodi Benson) and his ninety-eight brothers and sisters and move to the future site of the Dalmatian Plantation. Already feeling lost in the crowd, Patch seizes the opportunity to seek out his hero, television dog star Thunderbolt (slickly performed by Barry Bostwick, with a few shades of Patrick Warburtons droll delivery thrown in for good measure), who is making a public appearance in London.
Alas, all is not as it seems for Thunderbolt, for not only is he not quite the wonder dog Patch believed him to be (in a clever nod to My Favorite Year, he is, merely, an actor, lost without a script), but his not-to-be-trusted trusty sidekick Lightning (Jason Alexander) informs him that he is about to be replaced as the star of his own show with gasp! a younger dog. Convinced that all he needs to do is some real- (as opposed to reel-) life heroics, Thunderbolt sets off to save London, with his biggest fan Patch in tow as his junior deputy.
But they are soon to find their way into some real trouble, for that devil woman Cruella de Vil (Susan Blakeslee, adequately filling the pumps of the late, great Betty Lou Gerson) is out on parole and itching to scratch her craving for fur, or more specifically, spotted fur. Temporarily sated with the minimalist canvases of Bohemian painter Lars (who looks like he just popped out of a Capio ad and is voiced, in full Franck-mode, by Martin Short), Cruella nevertheless re-hatches her puppy-killing plot, even going so far as to bail out her dim-witted henchmen Horace and Jasper Badun (Maurice LaMarche and Jeff Bennett).
What follows is a truly enjoyable romp through the streets of London, culminating in a thrilling chase with all ninety-nine pups aboard a runaway Omnibus, with Cruella and her minions in hot pursuit. Along the way, truths are told and morals are extolled, without much of the sugary ham-fistedness of its direct to video predecessors such as Lady and the Tramp II: Scamps Adventure and The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea (the latter also co-directed and co-written by this films team, Jim Kammerud and Brian Smith).
While the ink-and-painted backdrops vividly recall those on display in the original film, the character animation in 101 II, without the use of the Xerox process which debuted with the first 101, lacks the rough-hewn charm inherent to the success of the first film. And the slapsticky gags that fill out most of the first half of the film are mostly kiddie-pleasing filler, but nonetheless build up to some fun moments in the films climax. Sprinkled throughout out are some witty allusions to the first film, including the song Cruella de Vil and the famous Twilight Bark. The voice acting is above par for these sequels, especially considering that none of the original actors are, sadly, with us anymore. A stand out is young Lockwood as Patch, whos youthful line deliveries and endearing British accent carries most of the film through its rough patches.
(Note: Be sure to stay tuned through the end credits to see Dirty Dawson get his )