101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure (2003)

Genres - Children's/Family, Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Animated Musical  |   Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - G
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Review by Buzz McClain

This 42-years-later animated sequel (not counting the two live-action versions) picks up where the original left off in fine style. This time out Dalmatian puppy Patch (voice of Bobby Lockwood) sets out to meet his hero, canine TV star Thunderbolt (Barry Bostwick), leaving behind his 100 siblings as they move to their new farm. Blowhard phony Thunderbolt uses Patch to help him execute real-life heroics so as to draw attention to himself and save his TV job from jealous sidekick Lightning (Jason Alexander) while Cruella de Vil (Susan Blakeslee) seeks the puppies -- dead or alive -- as models for wispy "spot artist" Lars (Martin Short). Directors Jim Kammerud and Brian Smith have retained the warm 1930s aura of the first saga, and the two films could play back-to-back with little noticeable difference (other than a slightly less-flowing animation quality in the new one). There is a clever, theatrical-quality title sequence and an entertaining story about uniqueness and friendship that is enacted by familiar characters to hold the attention of all ages. The catchy original songs by composer Randy Rogel work well to move the story along; Will Young, winner of the British Pop Idol TV contest, sings the foot-tapping "Try Again." Not a classic, but a fine follow-up with a high repeatability factor.