Seven Animated Movies More Sequel-Worthy Than Kung-Fu Panda

Kung-Fu Panda wasn't a bad movie. Not in the slightest. There were some great vocal performances, fun action, and cool animation, but, we'll admit, it wasn't the animated sequel news we've been waiting for. In our world where the next 10 chapters of Shrek have already called dibs on their release dates and Disney will have a half-assed, direct-to-DVD sequel for almost ANYTHING, it's been hard to really get excited about sequels to animated films lately. Even the in-progress Cars 2 (which we're sure will be well done) doesn't really get us excited in the way that good sequels should. You know the feeling - when a movie ends and your mind is in on fire with the potential of stories yet to come.

Meaning no offense to Jack Black or the fine folks at Dreamworks (who we're sure know enough motion-capture kung-fu experts to kick our asses all the way to animated China), here are seven animated classics that we think are much, much more sequel-worthy than Kung-Fu Panda or Cars.


1. Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

To be honest, we can't believe this hasn't happened already. Tim Burton and Henry Selick's ode to Halloweentown has had longer legs than Jack Skellington, debuting with a respectable box-office take that has only ballooned over the 15 years since its original release, thanks to a rabid fan following, prodigious merchandising, and multiple re-releases - most notably, the 2006 Digital 3D release, which will be hitting IMAX theatres again this Halloween. As such, greenlighting a modest Nightmare sequel seems like guaranteed money in the bank for Disney. Have Jack take over Hanukah or something or gather the Mayor and Lock, Shock, and Barrel to defend Halloweentown against an attack from forces looking to make Halloween a little more PC and family-friendly. It'd be a visual treat, a merchandising boon for Hot Topic, and we'd get another stop-motion holiday classic. It's win-win for everyone.


2. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)

Have you watched Roger Rabbit lately? The film is, in a word, gorgeous, and it stands as one of the coolest testaments to the power of film animation of the last twenty years. This is a movie made for cartoon-lovers and the very fact that it stars Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, and about every other historic cartoon character in an unprecedented cross-company crossover is, frankly, amazing. Now, granted, corporate politics may have worsened considerably since 1988 to the point where having Bugs and Mickey crack-wise together might be an impossibility, but digital technology has advanced to the point where marrying classic 2D animation and live-action should be about a million times easier than it was back in '88. Perhaps that ease might make the idea of another Roger Rabbit movie more appealing to Robert Zemeckis - who has spent a lot of time working with animation lately - but we think a new Roger Rabbit flick would be the perfect vehicle to skewer Hollywood's recent obsession with CGI animation, showing Roger and his 2D pals fighting to live alongside their louder, cheaper, and more in-your-face 3D breathren.


3. The Triplets of Belleville (2003)

We don't want a sequel to Triplets of Belleville because we think there were too many unanswered questions in Sylvain Chomet's original film. (We're not jonesing for an expose of the underground, fixed-bicycle-racing gambling racket.) We just want to return to that world one more time, that hand-made, quirky, wonderful animated world where Chomet so skillfully blended quiet character moments with expertly choreographed Tex Avery humor. Perhaps Champion and his bulging calves could go on a world bicycling tour, followed by Mme. Souza, Bruno, and the Triplets, bringing their skewed worldview, slapstick hilarity, and quintessential French-ness across the globe. The original film did such a fantastic job of jumbling time periods and geography in the city of Belleville that bringing that pastiche perspective to the whole world would be a riot. Might not appeal to the Shrek crowd, but there are a lot of moviegoers who'd love to return to the streets of Belleville.


4. Chicken Run (2000)

Boy, Wallace & Gromit get all the attention, but, for our money, Chicken Run is the most underrated project that ever emerged from the geniuses at Aardman Animation. OK, it was both a critical and financial success at the time, but do you ever hear of anyone singing the praises of Chicken Run lately? It's like it's completely fallen off everyone's radar. It was a glorious comedy, part Great Escape parody, part female empowerment tale, and we'd much rather have our daughters wanting to grow up to be like Ginger the Chicken than the Bratz-esque Disney Princesses. Maybe no one ever thought that Chicken Run could get a sequel because it copied so much of its format from The Great Escape, which isn't really a sequel-friendly flick (if you ever see The Great Escape sequel that was made, you'll know what we're talking about). But Aardman's chickens would work in any of the great British film genres - perhaps a chicken version of Get Carter, The Good Long Friday, or The Italian Job (the original, not the Mark Wahlberg remake)? Keep Wallace & Gromit in their shorts, and give us more cinematic chicken adventures.


5. South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut (1999)

We want this sequel to happen just so we can own the soundtrack album. Even though we loved The Simpsons Movie, it was nowhere near as biting, balls-out, and beautifully done as South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut, a rare example of a movie based on a TV show that actually expanded the program's scope and concept into something that was truly big-screen worthy. And while we wouldn't want a movie to prevent the creation of new South Park episodes, with episodes like last season's three-part "Imaginationland," you can tell that Trey Parker and Matt Stone are itching to indulge in big-canvas movie-house storytelling again. Hopefully, the MPAA will go on vacation for a few months or declare bankruptcy along with everyone else and give Parker and Stone the chance to bring South Park back to the multiplex with something even bigger, longer, and more uncut soon. The idea of IMAX Cartman is just too awesome to be ignored.


6. The Incredibles (2004)

We're really excited to see another Toy Story movie and resigned that we're getting Cars 2 in 2011 (the original really wasn't Pixar's finest hour), but we honestly can't believe that there's no Incredibles sequel anywhere on the horizon. Now that every other movie in Hollywood has some kind of superhero angle, why would Pixar deny us a sequel to (get ready for it), hands down, the greatest superhero movie ever made? (Sorry Dark Knight.) We can respect director Brad Bird for not wanting to go forward without a killer concept, but we're dying to see The Incredibles back in action, bringing us the widescreen, budget-be-damned superhero action that live-action films simply cannot deliver. (Check out the Fantastic Four movies to see what we're talking about.) We'll take anything - the Incredibles vs. The Evil League of Evil, the Incredibles trapped in time, the Incredibles stuck in a mirror universe. Take ANY of the classic comic-book plots, add the most well-conceived, best-realized superhero family ever, and you've got instant cinematic gold.


7. Akira (1988)

OK, this is a weird request, but stay with us. The original Akira is one of the coolest animated films of all time and it essentially introduced the concept of anime to a vast Western audience. A large portion of the MovieRetriever editorial staff spent their formative years wishing they could take a ride through Tokyo on Kaneda's motorcycle, only stopping to pop a few Red Bennies or get into a fight with a clown gang or two. There's not much we'd change about the original Akira - except that we'd love to have more of it. The manga series that Akira was based on is over 2,000 pages long and some of the more confusing storybeats in the film - admit it, they're there - are due to the fact that director Katsuhiro Otomo simply HAD to cut the material down to fit into a 2-hour film. Since this is the 20th anniversary of Akira's first release, we'd love it if Otomo returned to the world of Akira, creating a series of prequels/sequels to fit in the gaps of the Akira saga and perhaps one day edit the whole thing together to make a semi-linear 5 hour Akira EPIC that would make The Godfather Saga look like a Lifetime mini-series.

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