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The Ultimate Disney MovieToons Animated Film Guide: 1990-1999

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The Ultimate Disney MovieToons & DisneyToon Studios Animated Film Guide
1990-1999 | 2000-2003 | 2004-2005 | 2006-2009 | 2010-2015

Between 1990 and 2015 the Walt Disney Company had two film studios using the Disney name. The first, main studio was the prestigious Walt Disney Animation Studios, all of whose films were classed as 'Walt Disney Classics'. The second was Disney MovieToons, later renamed DisneyToon Studios. This was founded in 1990 as a division of Walt Disney Television Animation with the aim of adapting Disney's popular television cartoon series for the big screen as well as making feature-length television and direct-to-video productions.

Walt Disney Television Animation

In 1984 the Walt Disney Company's animated films were going through a slump and the animation department was in danger of being sold off. Key animators had defected, such as Don Bluth, or had been inexplicably fired, like John Lasseter. The animated films were on the whole disappointing or had been costly flops such as The Black Cauldron. That year, a new Chairman of the Walt Disney Company, Michael Eisner, was appointed. He decided that the next animated film would be a low-budget feature, Basil the Great Mouse Detective, to see if the animated film division was still viable. He also decided to launch a new division dedicated to making animation for television. At the time television animation was made to a much lower standard than film animation, utilising techniques known as 'limited animation' to save time and money1. Eisner's intention was to make cartoons to a higher standard than Disney's competitors, though still to a lower quality than for film.

Walt Disney Television Animation was launched in 1985 with The Wuzzles (1985) and Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears (1985-9), the latter of which proved incredibly popular. This was followed by the even more popular DuckTales (1987-1990) which launched two spin-off series, Darkwing Duck (1991-2) and Quack Pack (1996). DuckTales was followed by Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers (1988-9), The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1988-1991), TaleSpin (1990-1) and Goof Troop (1992-3). Disney were able to radically increase the amount of animation they were producing by outsourcing the television animation work to newly-opened animation studios in countries all around the world2.

Following this success, Walt Disney Television Animation hoped to get even greater success by launching their popular characters onto the big screen. This led to the creation of Disney MovieToons. Despite their ambition, it was clear from the beginning that their outputs were a long way behind the quality of films being made by the Walt Disney Animation Studio, which had recovered from the dip and was now entering the period known as the Disney Renaissance, making such films as The Little Mermaid (1989).

The Films

The films that Disney MovieToons and DisneyToon Studios made between 1990 and 1999 are listed below. Also mentioned is whether the films pass the The Bechdel Test (this can be summarised as whether the film involves two or more female characters who have a conversation together that does not include or mention any male characters).

Characters in bold are recurring characters. Actors in bold indicate that these recurring characters are played by their original actor.

1. DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp (1990)

DirectorBob Hathcock
PlotScrooge and his family are in the Middle East hunting the fabled treasure of Collie Baba, unaware that evil immortal sorcerer Merlock is also after it. They hire Dijon, a guide, and discover a buried pyramid and all the treasure. Scrooge gives young Webby an apparently worthless lamp to play with as a teapot in her tea parties. Dijon betrays them, leaving them to die, but they escape and return home to Duckburg. There the children learn that Webby's lamp contains a genie who longs to stop granting wishes and be a real live boy. Yet they are pursued by Merlock. Who will steal the lamp and what will the consequences be?
Length71 minutes
SettingLate 20th Century in the Middle East and fictional city Duckburg
Animation TypeCel
InspirationDuckTales (1987-1990) – Television series
  • Scrooge McDuck, quadrillionaire (Alan Young)
  • Huey, Dewey & Louie, Scrooge's grandnephews (Russi Taylor)
  • Webbigail 'Webby' Vanderquack, Mrs Beakley's granddaughter (Russi Taylor)
  • Genie, lamp-inhabiting magical being who grants wishes (Rip Taylor)
  • Launchpad McQuack, Scrooge's incompetent pilot (Terrence McGovern)
  • Dijon, thief and servant of Merlock (Richard Libertini)
  • Merlock, evil sorcerer (Christopher Lloyd)
  • Duckworth, Scrooge's butler (Chuck McCann)
  • Mrs Beakley, housekeeper and nanny (Joan Gerber)
  • Mrs Featherby, Scrooge's secretary (June Foray)
Music'Ducktales Theme' by Mark Mueller

This film was made in Disney's studios in London and Paris. Released two years before Aladdin (1992), this film has little of the latter's inventiveness, though the plots are remarkably similar. There are also several nods to the Indiana Jones films, as Raiders of the Lost Ark's boulder opening sequence had been inspired by a comic book featuring Scrooge McDuck: 'The Seven Cities of Cibola' (1954). Other sequences in the film were inspired by another Scrooge comic, 'The Prize of Pizarro' (1959).

Russi Taylor was the second voice artist for characters Huey, Dewey and Louie, but, like Alan Young who played Scrooge McDuck, was their original voice in the DuckTales television series.

DuckTales: the Movie had a disappointing box office, finishing the fourth of five animated films released in cinemas internationally in 1990, behind Walt Disney Feature Animation's The Rescuers Down Under, Hanna-Barbera's Jetsons: The Movie, and Doraemon: Nobita and the Animal Planet by Asatsu, and ahead of only Dragon Ball Z: The World's Strongest. This meant that planned DuckTales sequels were never made and a proposed Chip 'N' Dale: Rescue Rangers film was also quietly abandoned.

2. The Return of Jafar (1994)

DirectorsTad Stone & Alan Zaslove
ReleaseDirect to Video
PlotAladdin spends his time wooing Princess Jasmine and fighting crime, defeating Abis Mal's group of thieves, who plot revenge. Aladdin is saved from the gang's reprisal by Jafar's parrot Iago, leading Aladdin to believe there is good in him even though Jasmine and the Sultan despise him. When Abis Mal finds and rubs the lamp containing former sorcerer and now genie Jafar, a threat to all in the palace of Agrabah is unleashed. Who will Iago be loyal to and how can an all-powerful genie be defeated?
Length66 minutes
SettingFictional Arabian country of Agrabah
Animation TypeCel
Inspiration'Aladdin' in Les Mille et Une Nuits (Arabian Nights), translated from Arabic into French by Antoine Galland in 1710
  • Aladdin, street-rat turned hero (Scott Weinger)
  • Jafar, evil genie seeking revenge (Jonathan Freeman)
  • Iago, formerly Jafar's parrot (Gilbert Gottfried)
  • Genie (Dan Castellaneta)
  • Princess Jasmine (Linda Larkin)
  • Abis Mal, thief who finds Jafar's lamp (Jason Alexander)
  • Abu, Aladdin's monkey (Frank Welker)
  • Sultan, ruler of Agrabah, and Jasmine's father (Val Bettin)
  • Razoul, Captain of the Sultan's Guard (Jim Cummings)
  • Magic Carpet
MusicComposed by Randy Petersen and Kevin Quinn unless stated:
  • 'Arabian Nights' lyrics by Howard Ashman, music by Alan Menken
  • 'I'm Looking Out for Me'
  • 'Nothing in the World (Quite Like a Friend)' by Dale Gonyea and Michael Silversher
  • 'Forget About Love' by Michael and Patty Silversher
  • 'You're Only Second Rate'
  • 'It's a Small World After All' by the Sherman Brothers (cameo)
Spin Off Of
  • Aladdin (1992) – 2 years earlier

This, the second Disney MovieToons production and the second involving a powerful sorcerer and magic lamp, was originally conceived to be the hour-long pilot of an Aladdin animated television series. The story impressed Walt Disney Studios Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg enough that he allowed it to be released as a standalone direct-to-video adventure. Making the story suitable for a cinematic release was considered, but dismissed - to animate the script to a suitable standard for cinema would have taken over twice as long to make (at least five years) and it was believed that audience demand was for an immediate sequel to Aladdin. To make the film quickly enough, the first half was animated in Australia, and the second in Japan. The video was indeed extremely popular, becoming the seventh best-selling VHS video when released – selling over 15 million copies in the United States alone – behind only Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Jurassic Park, Cinderella and One Hundred and One Dalmatians.

Most of the original voice cast returned, except for two. Douglas Seale, who had played the Sultan, was in his 80s and had retired. A greater loss was Robin Williams who had played Genie. He had fallen out with Disney following the making of Aladdin. Williams had agreed to be paid the lowest wage allowed by union rules on condition that Disney agreed not to use his involvement in their marketing without his consent. However, Disney's advertising campaign focussed almost exclusively on Williams' involvement and launched a huge range of Genie merchandising without his consent. Though the film made over $300 million plus the marketing revenue, Williams' received only $75,000, and the betrayal of being exploited hurt most. Refusing to participate, he was replaced by Dan Castellaneta, best known as the voice of Homer Simpson.

The resulting Aladdin television series lasted for three series and 86×22-minute episodes during 1994-5 and a second direct-to-video spin-off was released in 1996. Princess Jasmine would get her own adventure in DisneyToon Studios' Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams (2007).

3. A Goofy Movie (1995)

DirectorKevin Lima
PlotAt High School Max Goof longs to impress Roxanne, but is mortally embarrassed by his father Goofy. After sabotaging the school principal's end of term speech to perform a dance inspired by his rock hero Powerline, he impresses Roxanne enough to be invited to watch an upcoming Powerline concert with her at a friend's house. The principal, unamused, tells Goofy that Max's behaviour was criminal and, if left unchecked, could result in ever more criminal acts until he is executed as an adult. Goofy then forces Max to go on a cross-country fishing trip, meaning he will miss his date with Roxanne. Still desperate to impress her and not wanting her to date anyone else in his absence, Max lies to her, saying he is really going to be in the concert and will wave to her from the stage.
Length74 minutes
SettingFictional town of Spoonerville, and across the United States, including Los Angeles
Animation TypeCel
  • Maximillan 'Max' Goof (Jason Marsden)
  • Goofy, Max's clumsy, well-meaning father (Bill Farmer)
  • Roxanne, girl at high school (Kellie Martin)
  • Pete, Goofy's neighbour (Jim Cummings)
  • PJ, Pete's son and Max's best friend (Rob Paulsen)
MusicSoundtrack: Carter Burwell. Songs: music by Tom Snow, lyrics by Jack Feldman unless stated:
  • 'After Today'
  • 'Stand Out' by Patrick DeRemer and Roy Freeland
  • 'Lester's Possum Park' by Randy Petersen and Kevin Quinn
  • 'On the Open Road'
  • 'I 2 I' by Patrick DeRemer and Roy Freeland
  • 'Nobody Else But You'
Spin Off Of
  • Goof Troop (1992-3)
  • An Extremely Goofy Movie (2000)
Related Films:
  • Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas (1999)
  • Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas (2004)

This film was the third most successful animated film of 1995, after Pixar's Toy Story and Walt Disney Feature Animation's Pocahontas, albeit with roughly 10% of the more prestigious pictures' profit. Still, this was enough to warrant a sequel.

Pegleg Pete is the oldest animated Disney character, created in 1925 as a bear for Disney's Alice cartoons before becoming the cat enemy of Mickey Mouse in 1928. As a character he embodies various degrees of villainy and sometimes has a wooden leg. In Goof Troop etc he is merely self-obsessed. Though he has both legs, his wife is called 'Peg'.

There are a few cameos from other Disney characters, particularly Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, who appear in crowd scenes and are even hitchhiking across the country. Ariel from The Little Mermaid also makes appearances, as a lamp with flashing seashells. The 'Lester's Possum Pals' show is a parody of Disney's 'Country Bear Jamboree' show, only all the animatronic figures performing in it are run-down and falling apart.

4. Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1996)

DirectorTad Stones
ReleaseDirect to Video
PlotAfter being upset that he never knew his parents, Aladdin is looking forward to marrying Jasmine. Their wedding is disrupted by the Forty Thieves, with the King of Thieves attempting to steal a sceptre. The sceptre contains an Oracle that is able to answer any question, but only one per person. Aladdin learns that his father Cassim is alive and 'trapped in the world of the Forty Thieves'. Aladdin heads out to rescue him only to discover that his father is the King of Thieves, but may be deposed by his ambitious rival Sa'luk. Cassim accompanies his son back to Agrabah to be there for his wedding but tries to steal the sceptre again, wanting to learn the location of the legendary Hand of Midas, which can turn anything into gold. Will this lost treasure be found, or will Cassim be captured and executed for his crime? Is Aladdin a thief or a prince?
Length78 minutes
SettingFictional Arabian country of Agrabah
Animation TypeCel
InspirationLes Mille et Une Nuits
  • Aladdin, street-rat turned hero (Scott Weinger)
  • Genie (Robin Williams)
  • Cassim, Aladdin's father and King of the Forty Thieves (John Rhys-Davies)
  • Princess Jasmine (Linda Larkin)
  • Iago, parrot (Gilbert Gottfried)
  • Sa'luk, thief who plots to overthrow Cassim (Jerry Orbach)
  • Abu, Aladdin's monkey (Frank Welker)
  • Sultan, ruler of Agrabah and Jasmine's father (Val Bettin)
  • Razoul, Captain of the Sultan's Guard (Jim Cummings)
  • The Oracle (CCH Pounder)
  • Magic Carpet
MusicComposed by Randy Petersen and Kevin Quinn unless stated:
  • 'There's a Party Here in Agrabah' by David Friedman
  • 'Out of Thin Air' by David Friedman
  • 'Welcome To The Forty Thieves'
  • 'Father and Son'
  • 'Are You In or Out?'
  • 'Arabian Nights' lyrics by Howard Ashman, music by Alan Menken
Spin Off Of
  • Aladdin (1992) – 4 years earlier

Robin Williams returns as the Genie! Following the sudden death in 1994 of Disney President Frank Wells, and the Chairman of Walt Disney Studios Jeffrey Katzenberg leaving to co-found his own studio3, those who had offended Williams were no longer at Disney. Joe Roth became Chairman and apologised for the breach of the agreement not to use Robin Williams' voice for marketing and merchandising. As a goodwill gesture he reportedly paid Williams $1 million in compensation. Feeling that Roth could be trusted, Williams agreed to voice the Genie again. Once again he steals the film.

This film contains numerous cameos and nods to other Disney films and characters, from Steamboat Willie to Goofy and numerous princesses.

5. Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin (1997)

DirectorKarl Geurs
PlotChristopher Robin is off to school for the first time and leaves Winnie-the-Pooh a note. After Pooh covers this in honey it is barely legible, making the friends believe that Christopher Robin is in danger and trapped in a terrible place called 'Skull', home of the Skullasaurus. They mount an 'expotition' into the Great Unknown to rescue him. Are they all helpless without Christopher Robin or do they have hidden talents they were unaware of?
Length73 minutes
SettingHundred Akre Wood, Ashdown Forest, Sussex
Animation TypeCel
InspirationAA Milne's books Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928)
  • Winnie-the-Pooh, bear of very little brain (Jim Cummings)
  • Piglet, nervous animal (John Fiedler)
  • Eeyore, depressed donkey (Peter Cullen)
  • Tigger, bouncy and enthusiastic tiger (Paul Winchell)
  • Rabbit, bossy bunny (Ken Sansom)
  • Christopher Robin, Winnie-the-Pooh's best friend (Brady Bluhm)
  • Owl, know-it-all (Andre Stojka)
  • Narrator (David Warner)
MusicComposed by Michael Abbott and Sarah Weeks:
  • 'Forever and Ever'
  • 'Adventure is a Wonderful Thing'
  • 'If It Says So'
  • 'Wherever You Are'
  • 'Everything is Right'
Spin Off Of
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977), comprising:
    • Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966)
    • Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968)
    • Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1974)
  • The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (Television series: 1988-1991)

Also known as Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin, this was the first film-length animation made by Disney Animation Japan. This film does not feature Kanga or Roo and was the first time that Andre Stojka voiced Owl. Jim Cummings briefly voices Tigger for the first time, providing his singing voice. After Paul Winchell's retirement Cummings would voice Tigger permanently.

6. Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997)

DirectorAndy Knight
PlotThe Beast hates Christmas as that was the day he was transformed into a Beast and all his servants in the castle were transformed into objects. However, Belle is determined to celebrate Christmas. Pipe organ Forte used to be the court composer but prefers his new life as the largest and loudest being in the castle. He fears that if the Beast falls in love with Belle he would become human again and become the overlooked composer once more and so is determined to manipulate the Beast and keep him angry at Belle.
Length68 minutes
SettingOnce Upon a Time in Mediæval France
Animation TypeCel, with a single CGI character
InspirationLa Belle et la Bête (1740) by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, popularised by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont (1756)
  • Belle (Paige O'Hara)
  • Beast aka Prince Adam (Robby Benson)
  • Lumière, a candlestick (Jerry Orbach)
  • Cogsworth, a clock (David Ogden Stiers)
  • Mrs Potts, a teapot (Angela Lansbury)
  • Chip, a teacup and Mrs Potts' son (Haley Joel Osment, Singing: Andrew Keenan-Bolger)
  • Fife, a fife (Paul Reubens)
  • Angelique, a Christmas angel (Bernadette Peters)
  • Maestro Forte, a pipe organ (Tim Curry)
MusicComposed by Rachel Portman, lyrics by Don Black
  • 'Stories'
  • 'As Long as There's Christmas' (several reprises)
  • 'Don't Fall In Love'
  • 'A Cut Above the Rest'
Spin Off Of
  • Beauty and the Beast (1991) – 6 years earlier

Following the success of The Return of Jafar the Walt Disney Company expanded worldwide. This was Walt Disney Animation Canada's first project. Though the sequences at the start and end are set during the first Christmas after the Beast has transformed into a generic prince and married Belle, most of the film takes place the Christmas before, when he is still a Beast who has imprisoned Belle.

Cheesy in a way that only Christmas films can get away with, this is actually a well-made film that benefits from having almost all the original voice cast from Beauty and the Beast back, with only Chip recast, as Bradley Pierce's voice had broken. Hal Smith, who had played horse Philippe, had since died so Philippe's small appearance was played by Frank Welker. Forte the giant pipe organ is an entirely CGI character while the rest of the film is cel animated.

7. (Beauty and the Beast:) Belle's Magical World (1998/2003)

DirectorsCullen Blaine, Daniel de la Vega, Barbara Dourmashkin, Dale Kase, Bob Kline, Burt Medall and Mitch Rochon
PlotThree or four stories set during Belle's captivity in the Beast's enchanted castle.
Component Parts
  • The Perfect Word
    When Belle and the Beast have an argument, neither is prepared to apologise and they both stop speaking to each other. After Webster forges a letter of apology from the Beast, he, Crane and LaPlume are banished from the castle into the cold.
  • Fifi's Folly
    With Fifi and Lumiere's anniversary approaching, Lumiere turns to Belle for help in ensuring Fifi will have a date to remember. Yet Fifi overhears and misinterprets, assuming that Belle is trying to seduce Lumiere.
  • Mrs Potts' Party (2003 version only)
    When Mrs Potts is depressed due to the weather, Belle decides to hold a party to cheer her up. Is everyone else in the castle prepared to work together to ensure it will be a success?
  • The Broken Wing
    When Belle misses a lunch date with the Beast in order to nurse a bird with a broken wing, he decides to cage it and is angered it doesn't sing on demand.
  • Belle's Magical World (1998) 70 minutes
  • Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World (2003) 88 minutes
SettingOnce Upon a Time in an enchanted castle in mediæval France
Animation TypeCel
InspirationLa Belle et la Bête (1740) by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, popularised by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont (1756)
  • Belle (Paige O'Hara)
  • Beast (Robby Benson)
  • Lumière, a candlestick (Jerry Orbach)
  • Cogsworth, a clock (David Ogden Stiers)
  • Mrs Potts, a teapot (Anne Rogers)
  • Chip, a teacup and Mrs Potts' son (Gregory Grudt)
  • Fifi, a duster (Kimmy Robertson)
  • Webster, a dictionary (Jim Cummings)
  • LePlume, a quill (Rob Paulsen)
  • Crane, writing paper (Jeff Bennett)
MusicComposed by Harvey Cohen
  • 'Listen With Our Hearts'
  • 'A Little Thought'
Spin Off Of
  • Beauty and the Beast (1991) – 7 years earlier

The first truly disappointing, verging on dreadful, Disney MovieToons release. It retains most of the original film's voice cast, except Angela Lansbury as Mrs Potts, but none of the new characters from Belle's Enchanted Christmas appear.

This had begun as a Walt Disney Television Animation series. However, after 3½ episodes had been made it was realised that the series just was not working. The decision was made to combine the three finished episodes together and release the resulting 70-minute compilation direct-to-video as Belle's Magical World. Inexplicably this sold incredibly well, so the half-made episode, 'Mrs Potts' Party', was finished and included in the film when it was released on DVD in 2003 as Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World.

The episodes do not appear in any chronological order and appear to contradict each other. One episode states that spring is coming, only for the next to be in the depth of winter. The Beast rarely appears and, when he does, the extent to which Belle and the Beast know each other changes from episode to episode. Thus it seems that he barely knows Belle and has only just met her at the end but he actually knows her quite well at the start.

8. Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World (1998)

DirectorsTom Ellery and Bradley Raymond
ReleaseDirect to Video
PlotAfter Ratcliffe frames and kills John Smith in the hope of raising a fleet to invade the area around Jamestown, Virginia, Pocahontas travels with John Rolfe to London to negotiate a truce with King James. How will she settle in? Can she stop Ratcliffe's revenge? Who will her heart lead her to and to whom will she send a 'dear John'?
Length70 minutes
SettingLondon and The New World (Virginia), after 1607
Animation TypeCel
InspirationLoosely inspired by a true story
  • Pocahontas (Irene Bedard, Singing: Judy Kuhn)
  • John Rolfe, English diplomat (Billy Zane)
  • John Smith, Pocahontas' ex, believed dead (Donal Gibson)
  • Governor Ratcliffe, greedy and dishonest warmonger (David Ogden Stiers)
  • Meeko, a raccoon (John Kassir)
  • Percy, a pug (Danny Mann)
  • Flit, a hummingbird (Frank Welker)
  • Chief Powhatan, Pocahontas' father (Russell Means)
  • Grandmother Willow, a talking tree (Linda Hunt)
  • Nakoma, Pocahontas' best friend (Michelle St John)
  • King James (Jim Cummings)
  • Queen Anne (Fiona Hughes)
  • Mrs Jenkins, Rolfe's housekeeper (Jean Stapleton)
  • Uttamatomakkin, Pocahontas' bodyguard (Brad Garrett)
MusicComposed by Marty Panzer and Larry Grossman unless stated:
  • 'Where Do I Go From Here? '
  • 'What a Day in London '
  • 'Wait 'Til He Sees You'
  • 'Things Are Not What They Appear'
  • 'Between Two Worlds' by Stacy Widelitz and Blaise Tosti
Spin Off Of
  • Pocahontas (1995) – 3 years earlier

Loosely inspired by real events – many of the characters including Uttamatomakkin are based on real people – though largely fiction, the animation quality is noticeably poorer than the original film, with background characters frequently static. Most of the original voice cast returned, except Christian Slater, Billy Connolly and Mel Gibson. John Smith is voiced by Mel's younger brother Donal instead.

9. The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998)

DirectorsDarrell Rooney and Rob LaDuca
ReleaseDirect to Video
PlotThe Lion King ended with the birth of Simba's child, who it is now revealed is a girl called Kiara. She is mischievous and longs for more independence, yet Simba worries about her safety, particularly from the Outlanders – a group of lions loyal to Scar he had banished from the Pride Lands. One Outlander, a young male named Kovu who was Scar's favourite cub, grows particularly close to her. Kovu's mother is Zira who wants revenge on Simba for Scar's death. She wants Kovu to get close to Kiara in order to kill Simba and take his place. Will Simba believe his daughter's claim that Kovu is not like Scar and what will Kovu do?
Length81 minutes
SettingAfrican Pride Lands
Animation TypeCel
InspirationRomeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (circa 1595)
  • Simba, a lion and King of the Pride Lands (Matthew Broderick)
  • Kiara, Simba and Nala's daughter (Adult: Neve Campbell, Child: Michelle Horn)
  • Kovu, lion and Scar's heir, Zira's son and Kiara's love interest (Adult: Jason Marsden, Child: Ryan O'Donohue)
  • Zira, lioness leader of the Outsiders (Suzanne Pleshette)
  • Nala, lioness queen of the Pride Lands and Kiara's mother (Moira Kelly)
  • Timon, a meerkat (Nathan Lane)
  • Pumbaa, a warthog (Ernie Sabella)
  • Rafiki, a mischievous mysterious mandrill (Robert Guillaume)
  • Zazu, a hornbill (Edward Hibbert)
  • Nuka, Zira's oldest son (Andy Dick)
  • Vitani, Zira's daughter (Adult: Jennifer Lien, Child: Lacey Chabert)
  • Cameo: Scar, former lion king (Jim Cummings)
  • Cameo: Mufasa, former lion king (James Earl Jones)
MusicMusic by Tom Snow, lyrics by Jack Feldman unless stated:
  • 'He Lives In You' by Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, and Lebo M
  • 'We Are One' music by Tom Snow, lyrics by Marty Panzer and Jack Feldman
  • 'My Lullaby' by Joss Whedon4 and Scott Warrender
  • 'Upendi' by Kevin Quinn and Randy Petersen
  • 'One of Us'
  • 'Love Will Find a Way
Spin Off Of
BechdelPass (just)

This film has numerous similarities with The Lion King with many plot points recreated in the second generation. Most of the cast returns, except Rowan Atkinson no longer plays Zazu and Scar is played by Jim Cummings rather than Jeremy Irons. Cummings had played a hyena in the first film. As Madge Sinclair, who played Simba's mother Sarabi, had died in 1995, her character does not appear. As in the first film, the lions' names are based on Swahili, with Kovu meaning 'scar' Nuka meaning 'bad smell' and Zira based on 'Zirker' meaning 'Hate'. Vitani was originally named 'Shetani' meaning Devil, however this was changed shortly before release as it was felt to be too harsh and the syllable 'shet' could easily be misheard. 'He Lives in You' was first sung in the stage musical version and would appear in the live-action version in 2019.

Curiously the lions in this film purr like cats and have tiger roars rather than lions'. They also live in a fictional part of Africa where lions and okapis live together - in reality okapis live in the African rainforest, not the plains.

10. Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas (1999)

DirectorsAlex Mann Bradley Raymond, Jun Falkenstein, Bill Speers, Toby Shelton and George Evelyn
PlotThree Christmas stories about love.
Component Parts
  • Donald Duck: Stuck on Christmas
    Huey, Dewie and Louis enjoy a hectic Christmas so much that they wish it could be Christmas every day. Their wish is granted and they are forced to relive the same day over and over until they learn that Christmas is really about love.
  • A Very Goofy Christmas
    Pegleg Pete tells Max that there is no Santa Claus. When Max finds his father Goofy dressed as Santa he stops believing. Goofy is determined to prove to his son that Santa is real.
  • Mickey and Minnie's The Gift of the Magi
    Mickey and Minnie are impoverished, but love each other very much. When Pete steals Mickey's tips, how will he be able to raise enough money to pay for a Christmas present for Minnie?
Length63 minutes
SettingDisney fictional towns of Duckburg and Spoonerville, late 20th Century
Animation TypeCel
  • 'Stuck on Christmas' inspired by Christmas Every Day (1892) by William Dean Howells
  • 'Mickey and Minnie's The Gift of the Magi' based on The Gift of the Magi (1905) by O Henry
  • Mickey Mouse (Wayne Allwine)
  • Minnie Mouse (Russi Taylor)
  • Huey, Dewey and Louie (Russi Taylor)
  • Donald Duck (Tony Anselmo)
  • Daisy Duck (Diane Michelle and Tress MacNeille)
  • Scrooge McDuck (Alan Young)
  • Goofy and Pluto (Bill Farmer)
  • Max (Shaun Fleming)
  • Pete (Jim Cummings)
  • Aunt Gertie (Tress MacNeille)
  • Chip (Tress MacNeille)
  • Dale (Corey Burton)
  • Mortimer, Minnie's boss (Jeff Bennett)
  • Figaro, Minnie's cat (Frank Welker)
  • Narrator (Kelsey Grammer)
Spin Off Of
  • 'Donald Duck: Stuck on Christmas' based on television series DuckTales (1987-90)
  • 'A Very Goofy Christmas' based on television series Goof Troop (1992-3)

An enjoyable Christmas film in which the segmented nature actually works rather than feeling like a glorified clip show. The animation is good quality and rewards repeat viewing as several Disney characters cameo, including flamingos from Fantasia 2000, Mortimer from Mickey's Rival (1936) and Owl from Winnie-the-Pooh to name but three. Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor, who voice Mickey and Minnie Mouse respectively, were a husband-and-wife voice artist team although neither was the original voice of those characters.

11. Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving (1999)

DirectorsHarry Arends, Jun Falkenstein & Karl Geurs
PlotThe inhabitants of the Hundred Akre Wood celebrate Groundhog Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Component Parts
  • Groundpiglet Day
    After a calendar mishap where all the dates from November, December and January are blown away, Rabbit believes that it might be Groundhog Day and not early November. Needing a groundhog to predict whether or not it will be Spring, Piglet volunteers, only to get the blame when winter comes after all.
  • A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving
    Inexplicably, Pooh and friends (without Kanga or Roo) celebrate Thanksgiving in Sussex. Rabbit won't let them do things their own way and bosses them around to make them do things his way. Will this lead to disaster and a thankless day?
  • Find Her, Keep Her
    During a harsh winter storm, Rabbit rescues a baby blue bird called Kessie. As Kessie grows, Rabbit refuses to let her learn how to fly, fearing she will leave him alone.
Length61 minutes
SettingHundred Akre Wood, Ashdown Forest, Sussex
Animation TypeCel
InspirationAA Milne's books Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928)
  • Winnie-the-Pooh, bear of very little brain (Jim Cummings)
  • Tigger, bouncy and enthusiastic tiger (Paul Winchell, Jim Cummings)
  • Eeyore, depressed donkey (Gregg Berger, also Peter Cullen)
  • Rabbit, bossy bunny (Ken Sansom)
  • Piglet, nervous animal (Steve Schatzberg and John Fiedler)
  • Christopher Robin, Winnie's owner (Brady Bluhm, also Tim Hoskins)
  • Gopher, not in Milne's books (Michael Gough)
  • Owl, know-it-all (Andre Stojka)
  • Kessie, young bird raised by Rabbit (Laura Mooney)
  • Kanga, kangaroo (Tress MacNeille)
  • Roo, Kanga's son (Nikita Hopkins)
  • Narrator (Laurie Main)
MusicSongs by Michael and Patty Silversher unless stated:
  • 'Winnie the Pooh' by the Sherman Brothers (Richard M and Robert B Sherman)
  • 'Seasons of Giving' by the Sherman Brothers
  • 'Hooray, Hooray'
  • 'The Turkey Song'
  • 'Berrily We Roll Along'
  • 'Our Thanksgiving Day'
Spin Off Of
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977), comprising:
    • Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966)
    • Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968)
    • Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1974)

In 1998 Disney made a 22-minute television special, A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving, which was sold as a standalone story in America. Feeling that a Thanksgiving story would have limited appeal elsewhere this story was bookended by two episodes of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1988-1991), with clips from previous Winnie the Pooh film, and a new song to paper over the joins, to make a feature-length adventure. Kanga and Roo only appear in the linking material.

The Future

By the end of the 1990s Disney MovieToons had successfully released two films in the cinema to a modest reception and had unprecedented success with The Return of Jafar. Their output had all been inspired either by Disney Classic Animated Films of the 1990s or by their animated television series success stories.

Yet by 1999 the animation landscape had completely transformed since the dawn of the decade. The success of Disney's classic animated films, particularly Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King, followed by Pixar's success with the computer-animated film Toy Story (1995), meant that there were several other animation studios trying to cash in on the market. The number of animated films released each year was changing from half a dozen to hundreds. How would the fledgling, low-budget Disney MovieToons be able to compete against new competitors Pixar, Fox Animation Studios, Warner Bros. Feature Animation, DreamWorks and Blue Sky Studios? With an increasingly crowded marketplace, would Disney MovieToons survive when other studios fail? How would the traditional animation style of Disney MovieToons be able to compete with the increased vogue for computer animation?

1Examples of limited animation cartoons include The Flintstones, where characters frequently walk by the same background again and again, and Filmation series such as Star Trek: The Animated Series, in which speaking characters often only have half their mouth visible. It is also used extensively in Japanese animé, where it is often highly stylised.2Disney Animation Australia, Disney Animation France also known as Disney Animation Paris, Disney Animation Japan and Disney Animation Canada. Disney's London studio that had animated Who Framed Roger Rabbit closed in 1989.3DreamWorks SKG was founded with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen.4Writer/director best known for creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), Firefly (2002) and writing films such as Toy Story (1995) and Avengers Assemble (2012).

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