A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that 101 Dalmatians: Patch's London Adventure is a 2003 animated sequel in which Patch teams up with a TV star dog to stop Cruella from turning the dogs into abstract art. Expect a fair amount of cartoon violence and pratfalls, particularly in scenes in which the dogs watch a black-and-white TV show starring a heroic dog named Thunderbolt, who gets whipped by the villain on top of a moving train before tying up the whip around the villain's legs, causing him to fall inside of a train car with an angry bull. Outside of the TV show, Cruella is up to her old tricks, is shown knocking out a dog with a paint can, knocks her henchmen out with a tire iron, throws knives at a pretentious artist before leaving him tied to one of his canvases. Anita and Roger's maid hits the villains with a frying pan, before they retaliate by lowering her into a well and leaving her there. Cruella talks of ways in which the dalmatians might be killed (drowning, etc.), before suggesting that their fur be converted into artwork. Vehicle chase involving an out-of-control double-decker bus. Doggie delivery truck carjacked by the villains, who dress as women as a way to fool the driver. Dogs lured into the back of the doggie treat truck. Cruella always shown with a smoking cigarette in a holder. Brief shots of attendees of an art gallery opening holding cocktails.
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What's the story?
Once again Cruella de Vil is after the improbably large family of puppies in order to make a coat of their fur. The puppies and their family have moved to a farm, but somehow one puppy, Patch, is left behind. He meets his TV hero, Thunderbolt, who has his own reasons for wanting Patch's help with his heroics. Once again Cruella gets hold of the rest of the puppies, and it's up to Patch and Thunderbolt to save the day.
Is it any good?
Fans of the original 101 Dalmatians will enjoy this sequel, since they are very similar. The one potentially disturbing element here is that no one realizes Patch is missing until they see his picture in the paper, but when they're reunited they tell him they missed him very much, an inconsistency that may not be lost on some young viewers. All in all this is an entertaining movie, with some very creative animation, particularly involving the work of Cruella's newest protégé, Lars, a beatnik-type painter who specializes in, of course, paintings of spots.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the difference between acting like a hero and really being one, and how this story follows the old saying "if at first you don't succeed, try again."
This was a "straight-to-DVD" sequel. Why are sequels almost always never as good as the original movie? Are there exceptions to this, and if so, what are some examples?
What do you think of the violence and peril here? Was it necessary? Why or why not?
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