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January 25

January 25, 2005 – The Soundtrack to Mulan II is Released Through Walt Disney Records

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“Just to be free, like other girls get to be!”

On January 25, 2005, the soundtrack to the direct-to-video animated feature Mulan II was released through Walt Disney Records. The soundtrack features the vocals of Lea Salonga, Judy Kuhn, Beth Blankenship, Mandy Gonzales, Gedde Watanabe, Jerry Tondo, and Harvey Fierstein; Salonga, Watanabe, Tondo, and Fierstein reprised their roles from the original Mulan. The soundtrack also features two additional songs: “Here Beside Me” by Hayley Westenra, and “(I Wanna Be) Like Other Girls” by British pop girl group Atomic Kitten.

August 26

August 26, 2008 – The Direct-to-Video Animated Feature The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning is Released

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“The world above is a wonderful place, but everyone knows the true magic lies under the sea.”

On August 26, 2008, the direct-to-video animated feature The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning was released on DVD and Blu-Ray. The film, a prequel to the hit 1989 animated feature The Little Mermaid, was written by Julie Selbo and Jenny Wingfield, with screenplay by Robert Reece and Even Spiliotopoulus. It was directed by Peggy Holmes, and stars Jodi Benson as Ariel, Samuel E. Wright as Sebastian, Sally Field as Marina Del Ray, and Jim Cummings as King Triton.

The film begins with an introduction of Atlantica, with a young King Triton playing with his daughter Ariel, and listening to his wife Athena sing to their daughters. Triton gifts Athena a special music box that plays their song, and it is revealed that life is wonderful and magical. Things change when a strange boat of pirates travels to their cliffs, and Athena is killed when she tries to retrieve the music box, and the pirate ship crashes into her. Triton is devastated at his loss, and music was banned from Atlantica. Ten years later, Atlantica is still thriving, and Ariel is as precocious as ever. The girls are woken by their governess, Marina Del Rey, who hates her job. The girls go to greet their father, as is routine, and Ariel asks that they go swim by the reef instead. Triton, still grieving for his loss, strictly forbids it, and the group goes on their morning walk, where Ariel plays a prank on her sister. Ariel gets lectured by her father for disrupting their routine, and he punishes her harshly.

Marina can't stand her job much longer, and wishes to take over Sebastian's position

Marina can’t stand her job much longer, and wishes to take over Sebastian’s position

Marina vents to her assistant Benjamin the Manatee, as she wants Sebastian’s job. She comes up with a plan to rid the kingdom of Sebastian and take over his job. Meanwhile, as Ariel toils away at her punishment, Flounder swims on by, playing some music. Ariel hears him and asks him to do it again, but he nearly gets arrested by two guards for breaking the Triton Act, the law that outlaws music. Flounder grabs her and the two swim away, with the guards in pursuit. The pair run into Sebastian, and Sebastian orders Flounder to be taken away to the dungeon. Ariel covers for him, and he is let off with a warning, though Ariel is sent back to her room. Triton comes by to bid the girls goodnight, but Ariel is less than receptive. Soon after Ariel spies Flounder sneaking out of the palace grounds, and she decides to follow him. She finds him heading into a secret building, which is revealed to be a music club, surprisingly led by Sebastian. Ariel’s appearance spooks the club members, even though she promises not to tell. She starts recalling a melody from a long time ago, and the sea creatures join in with her song. Sebastian begrudgingly makes him a member of her music club.

The next morning, Sebastian and Marina are called in front of Triton, who says that there is a problem with Ariel. Triton asks Sebastian to take care of Ariel, much to the surprise of both Marina and Sebastian. Ariel’s sisters question where she was the previous night. Attina, the eldest, worries about Ariel, and Ariel finally explains the underground club. The girls suddenly realize how much they miss their mother, and they all ask her to take them to the club. Marina is confused and suspicious as to why the girls are awake on time. That night, the princesses all head to the club, and see Sebastian, who is less than thrilled to see the princesses. Although they are having the best time, they absence does not go unnoticed by Marina, who tracks them down to the club. Once she sees Sebastian, she realizes that she has her leverage to get his job, and runs straight to Triton.

The club is crashed by the palace guards, who capture the band and the girls

The club is crashed by the palace guards, who capture the band and the girls

The girls continue to go to the club, and one night, the club is invaded by the palace guards and Triton. Triton has Sebastian and the other club goers locked away, and gives Marina Sebastian’s job. Triton then destroys the entrance to the club. Back at the palace, the girls are placed under house arrest, and Ariel demands to know why music is forbidden in the kingdom. Triton tells her that there will be no music in the kingdom, to which Ariel replies that her mother wouldn’t have wanted that before swimming away. Ariel’s sisters turn their back on her as well, as they believe she’s made the situation worse. Marina is over the moon about her new position, with the power going straight to her head. That night, Triton finds a statue of his wife and sits by it, distraught. Ariel, similarly distraught, swims out of her room and heads to the jail to free Sebastian and the other band members. She decides to run away from Atlantica, and the group goes with her. Sebastian leads them to a secret area, with Flounder leading them song on the way.

Benjamin has noticed Ariel’s absence, and pulls Marina aside to tell her, although Attina tells Triton first. Triton reassures her that they’ll find Ariel, and heads off to find her. Marina, angered at this slight, especially since Sebastian is missing as well, heads off on her own search with her group of electric eels, vowing to get rid of Ariel as well. Sebastian has led the group to their destination, and explains to Ariel that there’s more to this place than it appears. The next morning, Ariel wakes up and hears something nearby, and finds her mother’s old music box. Sebastian explains that it was an anniversary gift, and why Triton took Athena’s death so hard. Ariel, finally understanding her father’s pain, decides to bring the music box home to Triton, much to Sebastian’s glee. Ariel, Sebastian, and Flounder head back, but meet up with Marina’s eels, who attack. Sebastian tries to protect Ariel and Flounder, and the rest of the band appears to help protect the trio. Ariel gets hurt when she rushes to protect Sebastian from Marina, and Triton, who saw the entire thing, rushes to her side. The music box opens and plays the song, and Triton sings it, waking Ariel. In the end, Triton brings music and happiness back to the kingdom, and appoints Sebastian as the court composer. Marina is locked in jail with Benjamin, and after Benjamin consoles her, the two dance in their cell.

 

February 1

February 1, 2005 – The Direct-to-Video Sequel Mulan II is Released

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“Mulan’s gonna teach us how to kick butt!”

On February 1, 2005, the direct-to-video sequel Mulan II was released. Many of the original voice actors resumed their roles in the sequel. It was directed by Darrell Rooney and Lynne Southerland, and written by Michael Lucker, Chris Parker, and Roger S.H. Schulman. It stars Ming-Na Wen as Fa Mulan, Mark Moseley as Mushu, BD Wong as Shang, Lucy Liu as Mei, Harvey Fierstein as Yao, Sandra Oh as Ting Ting, Gedde Watanabe as Ling, Lauren Tom as Su, Jerry Tondo as Chien-Po, and Lea Salonga as the singing voice of Mulan.

The film begins in the ancestral shrine, where Mushu is still milking his glory of helping Mulan save China, much to the chagrin of the ancestors. Meanwhile, Mulan’s family is worried about when Shang will propose to Mulan, with Mulan’s father placing a bet on when it will happen. A little girl stops by to ask where Mulan is, and runs off to join Mulan in the fields while she’s doing her chores. Mulan is actually practicing fighting in the fileds, and all the little girls of the village appear, wanting Mulan to teach them how to fight. Although the girls want to be tough, Mulan tells them they must be gentle and tough at the same time, as there’s a balance to everything. Shang arrives after the lesson, and greets the girls warmly, and it’s revealed he got a promotion to General. Although Mulan remarks about how brave he is, he seems to struggle with asking Mulan something. Finally, he pulls her aside and asks her to marry him, and she says yes. Mushu is also thrilled that Mulan is getting married, although he’s more happy for himself as her getting married is going to help his status. Mulan is further surprised when everyone in town arrives to help the couple celebrate.

The ancestors celebrate Mulan and Shang's engagement, but for a different reason

The ancestors celebrate Mulan and Shang’s engagement, but for a different reason

The ancestors celebrate once Mushu announces that Mulan is getting married, but they reveal they’re excited because Mushu will be fired once Mulan gets married, as Shang’s guardians will become hers. While the party continues, Mulan’s parents grow increasingly concerned, as Mulan and Shang’s opinions on their life together differ greatly. The party is interrupted as Mulan and Shang are needed at the Emperor’s palace, but before they leave, Mulan’s parent present their gift: the Yin and Yang pendants. The two then warn the two that they must work together through everything, and Mushu, having seen the entire thing, wants to use the differences to keep his pedestal by breaking the pair up. Mulan and Shang head off to the palace, with Mushu and Crickee hitching a ride. At the palace, the Emperor asks the pair to help form an alliance through marriage by escorting three princesses to the Kingdom of Qui Gong to marry the sons of Lord Chin. The pair have three days to deliver the princesses, but Mulan is concerned about an arranged marriage, and even more concerned when it’s revealed that the princesses are his daughters. Shang requires the use of three men: Ling, Yao, and Chien-Po.

The three men in question have just been kicked out of the matchmaker’s house, as there is no way she can find anyone to fit their outrageous demands for a wife. The three then decide to find their perfect girls themselves, although the three fare no better than the matchmaker. Mulan and Shang find the trio, and readily accept the proposal to help escort the princesses. At the palace that evening, the trio guards the princesses as they head to the caravan, and one loses a shoe on her way inside. Yao helps the princess with her shoe, and there’s a spark when their eyes meet. Mulan questions the princesses about their arranged marriages, but the princesses remain firm that it is an honor. The group moves out, crossing through the Chinese countryside. Mulan is still worried about the situation, and confesses to Shang that she doesn’t feel that it is right. Shang convinces her that sometimes life doesn’t work that way for everyone, but the two of them are able to be happy together. Yao continues to be moony-eyed over the princess, with Ling and Chien-Po giving him a hard time. Inside the caravan, Princess Mei considers Yao to be a big cuddly panda bear, much to the confusion of her sisters. Eldest sister Ting-Ting lectures Mei, as they have promised to marry in three days, and aren’t supposed to fall in love with their guards before then.

Yao and Mei start talking after their first initial attraction

Yao and Mei start talking after their first initial attraction

As they stop for a break, Mei talks to Yao, and the two bond. Princess Su meets Chien-Po, and they seem to get along well. The meeting between Ting-Ting and Ling starts off frosty, as she seems to hate him. Afterwards, Mei goes to talk with Mulan, and asks how to decide between duty and heart. Mulan says that her duty is to her heart, and Mei takes the words seriously before heading back to her sisters. Meanwhile, Mushu puts his plan into action to make Shang look so ridiculous that Mulan will dump him, but it continually backfires. At one point, Mushu accidentally sends the carriage barreling down the road to the cliff, although they are able to save the princesses, the carriage is destroyed. The group sets up camp, and Mulan and Shang argue over which way to go to take the princesses to Qui Gong. However, Yao finds a path through the forest, ending the argument, and the pair apologize to each other. That night, Ling returns Ting-Ting’s fan, but seems to be hurt, as he thinks that Ting-Ting hates him, although he likes her very much. Mei questions how Ting-Ting can dismiss her feelings for Ling so easily, but Ting-Ting lectures her about their mission. Mei heads back in the tent and writes a letter to her father, as she plans to run away with Yao. Ting-Ting tries to convince her that she must do her duty for her country, and all three are hurt that they must ignore their feelings to help their countries. Mei then admits that she wants to be just like other girls, and her sisters agree. Chien-Po overhears the girls, and realizes that the three princesses are in love with the three guards.

Mushu kicks his plan up another notch by talking to Shang as he sleeps, convincing Shang that Mulan has gone behind his back. He then sets up puppets outside Shang’s tent and talks badly about Shang, and Shang wakes up and finds Mulan to confront her. Mulan and Shang get into an argument, but Mushu feigns innocence when Mulan talks to him. Meanwhile, the guard trio decides to talk to the princesses and convince them to go to a nearby village in the moonlight. The girls agree, and Mushu watches as the princesses and the guards walk out of the camp. Mulan decides to handle the situation on her own, and in an attempt to break Shang and Mulan up for good, Mushu wakes up Shang. There’s a festival in the nearby town, and the guards bond with their respective princesses, save for Ling and Ting-Ting. Poor Ling feels like he’s a failure at being funny, but Ting-Ting finally starts laughing, and reveals that she never laughed because she hates her laugh, and the two finally connect. Mulan finally finds them, and exclaims for joy when she finds that the guards and the princesses are in love. When Shang appears, however, he is furious about what happened, having found the letter Mei had written about running away. The happy couples are forbidden to speak to each other, and Mulan is saddened with Shang’s behavior, and the two believe that they are too different.

The journey continues, but the atmosphere is considerably tense

The journey continues, but the atmosphere is considerably tense

The journey continues, with the tense atmosphere surrounding the camp. Mulan is too hurt to even talk to Mushu, but the princesses apologize to Mulan for breaking up her relationship with Shang. Mulan in turn thanks them for opening her eyes about how broken her relationship with Shang was. The guards then secretly pass a message to the princesses about how much they love them. Mulan finally talks to Mushu, and he feels an overwhelming sense of guilt for breaking the pair up. He finally confesses what he’s done, and while Mulan is angry at Mushu, she tries to apologize to Shang. Unfortuantely, before she can, bandits attack the camp. The bandits make off with Mei, but Shang and Mulan are able to save her. The wooden bridge they’re fighting on breaks, and Mulan tries to keep a hold of Shang. Shang apologizes and lets go of Mulan’s hand, falling to the rocks below. The camp mourns for Shang, with Mulan grieving at the edge of the bridge. The next morning, the group agrees to go through with the wedding, but Mulan tells them that their mission is to take care of each other. Meanwhile, Shang’s horse searches for his master, and Shang is found alive.

The group arrives at Qui Gong, and Mulan apologizes to Lord Chin, saying that the princesses lost their lives in an accident in the river. Mulan sacrifices herself to marry one of Lord Chin’s sons, and Lord Chin agrees. Shang finds the group and tells them of Mulan’s plan, and runs off to Qui Gong to save Mulan, with the group following. Mushu apologizes once again, and tells her he doesn’t care about his job anymore, as he wants to stop this wedding. Mulan, however, realizes she has to go through with it, and sets off to the ceremony. Shang arrives just in time to stop the ceremony, and Mushu gets an idea to pretend to be the Golden Dragon of Unity, declaring that Mulan and Shang should be together. Mulan and Shang are married, and the entire kingdom celebrates. Mushu then also declares that the princesses and the guards are free to marry, and everyone celebrates. Back at Mulan’s home, Mushu sighs and packs his things, leaving behind his post; although sad, he prefers Mulan to be happy. Mulan and Shang show up at the shrine, and Shang decides to combine the family temples, with Mushu keeping his pedestal. Shang then finally meets Mushu, but it looks like the two will get along. In the end, it’s a happy ending for everyone.

December 11

December 11, 2007 – The DVD Documentary Secrets, Stories & Magic of the Happiest Place on Earth is Released

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“For fifty years, more than six generations of families and friends from all over the world have gathered together in the happiest of places to experience Disneyland’s special brand of magic, filled with fun, nostalgia, fantasy, and adventure.”

On December 11, 2007, the direct-to-DVD documentary Secrets, Stories & Magic of the Happiest Place on Earth was released. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the opening of Disneyland, the documentary includes interviews from several key Imagineers, Disney employees, and other important players in the park’s history. Starting from Walt’s first meetings about the idea, to the failed attractions, to the future plans for the park, the documentary covers all aspects of the park, and reveals previously unknown trivia about the parks to Disney fans. The documentary was part of a 2-disc set released on the Walt Disney Treasures line, and included an interactive trivia game, a theatrically-released film from the 1950s about the park, and several Disneyland anthology episodes that go into deeper detail about popular aspects.

August 13

August 13, 1996 – The Direct-to-Video Movie Aladdin and the King of Thieves is Released

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“Knock ’em dead, kid. Seriously.”

On August 13, 1996, the direct-to-video sequel Aladdin and the King of Thieves was released. The third and final film in the Aladdin trilogy, the story is based on the tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. It was written by Mark McCorkle and Robert Schooley, and was directed by Tad Stones. The film stars Scott Weinger as Aladdin, Robin Williams as Genie, John Rhys-Davies as Cassim, Gilbert Gottfried as Iago, Linda Larkin as Jasmine, Jerry Orbach as Sa’luk, and Frank Welker as Abu.

A mysterious man appears near Agrabah, which is preparing itself for a big celebration. He travels through the gates with several camels carrying baskets, which contain some frightening men inside. A merchant stops at the gate to talk to the guard, who reveals that the princess is getting married, although he is not too thrilled about the choice of groom. The merchant reveals himself to be none other than Genie, who is there to help celebrate. Unfortunately, the only thing that’s missing seems to be the groom: Aladdin. Aladdin has gone back to his childhood home to pull out a small box. Genie finds him, and Aladdin reveals that the box includes a dagger that belonged to his father. Aladdin continues to say that he never knew his father, as he had died long ago. Aladdin then reveals his fears about getting married, as he doesn’t feel prepared to raise a family. Genie helps him feel better, and gets him back in time for the wedding.

Jasmine and her father share a tender moment before the wedding

Jasmine and her father share a tender moment before the wedding

The mysterious man from earlier enters the stables with his camels, and gets in an argument with his henchman Sa’luk. The man is there to get something called “the Oracle,” and is certain that it’s there. The wedding soon begins, and the man starts his plan to retrieve the Oracle, freeing all the other men from their baskets. They cause the elephants to stampede the wedding ceremony, and in the confusion, the men make their move. The man looks through the wedding gifts while his men loot the guests, and it is soon revealed that these men are the infamous forty thieves. Aladdin tries to stop the King of Thieves, and the two fight over an object. The rest of the thieves flee under Sa’luk’s orders, and the king manages to escape without the Oracle. While studying it later, Iago asks out loud why the King of Thieves would be interested in that simple object, which responds that it will answer his question. The item, known as the Oracle, reveals itself to be an all-knowing magic being, and answers that the King was looking for the ultimate treasure. She also reveals that she works by the rule of one: one question per person, and one answer. She also reveals to Aladdin that his father is actually alive, and can answer all of his questions about the past.

Aladdin returns to his childhood home once again, troubled by the revelation that his father is, indeed, alive. Jasmine goes to comfort him, and he confesses that he isn’t sure about wanting to know his father, as he is hurt that his father just abandoned him and his mother. Jasmine reassures him that it’s okay to learn about his father, and although Aladdin has reservations, he decides to go and meet his father. Aladdin asks the Oracle where his father is, and is told that Aladdin’s father is trapped within the forty thieves. He decides to go rescue his father, and travels across the desert. He finds that the thieves stop at the edge of a beach, and when he sneaks away to hide, he watches carefully to see the King call out “Open Sesame,” and a large cavern opens for the thieves to enter, parting the water in the process. Aladdin quickly follows them to find an underground city inside. He watches the thieves arguing, and discovers that the King is his father. When Sa’luk tries to attack Cassim, his father, Aladdin rushes in to protect him. He then reveals that he is Cassim’s son, with the dagger serving as proof. Sa’luk then points out that Aladdin is an intruder, and must die. Cassim decides to have Aladdin face “the Challenge,” with Sa’luk volunteering to test him.

Aladdin is taken to the Challenge Area, where he is to fight Sa'luk to the death

Aladdin is taken to the Challenge Area, where he is to fight Sa’luk to the death

Sa’luk and Aladdin are brought to an area to fight to the death. Cassim believes that Aladdin will win, and the fight proceeds. Aladdin fights well in the beginning, but is soon struck by Sa’luk; the fight ends when Aladdin succeeds in kicking Sa’luk off a cliff into the ocean below. The thieves welcome him into the forty thieves, unaware that Sa’luk actually survived his fall. Meanwhile, in Agrabah, Genie does his best to cheer up Jasmine while she waits for Aladdin to return. Aladdin is taken deep into the lair of the forty thieves with Cassim, who reveals that they never hurt the innocent. He then admits the reason he left Aladdin and his mother when Aladdin was a baby: he’s looking for the Hand of Midas, which has the power to turn anything to gold. He wanted to provide for his family everything they deserved. Aladdin tells him that he never wanted gold, he wanted his father, and invites Cassim to his wedding. After Aladdin leaves, Iago convinces Cassim to accept the invitation for the sole purpose of stealing the Oracle to find the Hand of Midas. In Agrabah, Sa’luk plots his revenge for Cassim, and decides to give up the location of the hideout to the royal guards.

Aladdin continues to bond with Cassim, while the guards head to the location of the hideout. Back at the palace, Genie meets Cassim, and helps him look more like a father rather than a thief. Cassim is a hit with Jasmine and the Sultan. However, all the thieves have been arrested, and Sa’luk is angry that Cassim was not one of those arrested. When the Sultan refuses to sentence any of the prisoners due to the wedding, Sa’luk reveals that Aladdin’s father is the King of Thieves, and both should be arrested. The wedding is delayed due to Cassim’s stealing of the Oracle, and he is arrested once he enters the room. When Aladdin finds his father has been arrested, he is disappointed, thinking that this was the only reason his father came with him. Cassim and Iago are sent to the dungeon, for life. To return everything back to the way it was, Aladdin will enter the dungeon dressed as his father, break Cassim out of the dungeon, and get him out of his life forever. His identity is soon revealed, but Cassim saves Aladdin, and the two ride out of Agrabah. While Cassim tells Aladdin that he should run away with him, Aladdin refuses, and decides to take the punishment he deserves.

Cassim returns to a not-so-warm welcome, as his men think he has betrayed them

Cassim returns to a not-so-warm welcome, as his men think he has betrayed them

Back at the forty thieves lair, the remaining thieves are surprised to find Sa’luk alive, and he convinces them that it was Cassim that betrayed them all. The thieves believe him, and decide to go back to their old, ruthless ways, with Sa’luk as the leader. When Cassim comes back to the lair, the men are waiting to kill him. They take him out to sea, and have him ask the Oracle where to find the Vanishing Isle where the Hand of Midas is. Iago slips away and heads back to Agrabah to warn Aladdin about the thieves, and finds that Aladdin has been absolved. Although Aladdin first refuses to go, he is soon convinced by Genie and Jasmine to go and rescue him. As he gets there, the Vanishing Isle appears on the back of a turtle. Cassim and Aladdin enter inside to get the Hand of Midas, although they don’t have much time to get it before the turtle goes back underwater. Although they are able to steal the hand, Sa’luk appears, threatening to kill Aladdin unless he gets the Hand of Midas. To save Aladdin, Cassim throws the hand over, but when Sa’luk touches the bare hand, he turns into gold, and falls into the water as a golden statue. Aladdin retrieves the hand, and he and Cassim struggle to get out of the building on the Isle before the turtle submerges. Aladdin gives Cassim the Hand, but Cassim decides once and for all that he doesn’t need it, and throws it into the ocean. Aladdin returns home to marry Jasmine in front of their friends and family, including Cassim, who watches from the shadows. Cassim and Iago talk, and Cassim decides to head off on his own, and Iago heads off with Cassim. Aladdin and Jasmine wish him farewell as he rides off into the desert.

August 8

August 8, 2000 – The Direct-to-Video Movie Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins is Released

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“This is the universe. I work here. The name’s Lightyear: Buzz Lightyear.”

On August 8, 2000, the direct-to-video movie Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins was released. Based on the fictional line of Buzz Lightyear toys introduced in Pixar’s Toy Story series, the movie acted as a pilot for the animated television series. It was animated by Walt Disney Television Animation, with the animators at Pixar doing the animation for the opening sequence set in Andy’s room. The film was written my Mark McCorkle, Robert Schooley, Bill Motz, and Bob Roth, and directed by Tad Stones. It stars Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, Nicole Sullivan as Mira Nova, Stephen Furst as Booster, Larry Miller as XR, Patrick Warburton as the Little Green Men, Diedrich Bader as Warp Darkmatter, and Wayne Knight as Evil Emperor Zurg.

The movie begins in Andy’s room, where the toys are eagerly awaiting the new Buzz Lightyear movie. They put the movie in the VCR, and everyone gathers to watch. The story begins with an introduction by Buzz himself, and the introduction of his partner Warp Darkmatter. The two are to find three missing little green men (LGM), and find themselves in the Zeta Quadrant, on an uncharted moon. After being unable to find them, Warp drives to the dark side of the moon; as they drive, they discover that the three little green men are in the back of the cart. Unfortunately, the three little green men in the car are on their own mission to save the missing little green men, and alert Buzz and Warp to the presence of evil. A crater viper appears and attacks, and while Buzz and Warp are fighting a herd of vipers, Buzz tries to follow the little green men to where the other lost ones are. As Buzz and Warp fight and try to save the “lost ones,” they realize that the moon is actually a lair for Emperor Zurg, Buzz’s nemesis. Zurg has been torturing the lost ones, trying to determine how their mind link works.

Zurg tortures the LGMs for information on their mind unification, known as the Uni-Mind

Zurg tortures the LGMs for information on their mind unification, known as the Uni-Mind

As Zurg continues to torture the lost ones, Buzz bursts into the lair and attacks, although Zurg is able to escape. Buzz is able to save the lost ones, although Zurg has activated a self-destruct button for the moon, giving Buzz and Warp 60 seconds to go after Zurg and his cronies. Unfortunately, Warp is stuck under some wreckage, and tells Buzz to go, activating Buzz’s rocket launcher as he does. The moon explodes, and Warp is killed in the blast. Back at Star Command, Buzz has taken Warp’s death hard, blaming himself as he briefs the members of star command. He vows to work alone from then on, so no ranger would die for Buzz again. He soon reports to Commander Nebula, and watches as a recruit named Mira passes the hardest level in the training simulator. Mira, who is actually a princess, has a ghosting ability from her home planet which allows her to complete the training. Mira is assigned to be Buzz’s partner, although Buzz refuses, stating flatly that he works alone. Although people think Buzz is by-the-book and a loner, he actually has a friend named Booster, who is a janitor with a dream of being a space ranger; Buzz encourages him to take the entrance exam.

Zurg recruits a new agent he names Agent Z, who is part man, part machine. Zurg continues the mission to discover the “Uni-Mind” on the LGM homeworld, using a spy drone to infiltrate the Uni-Mind. Back at Star Command, the LGM give Buzz their take on a new partner: XR, the experimental ranger. Buzz has his reservations, and the LGM reveal that they made him themselves. Buzz gets angry at everyone telling him that he needs a partner, but he soon has bigger problems: Zurg has invaded the LGM’s homeworld. The LGM scramble to protect the Uni-Mind, but Zurg’s Agent Z is able to break their defenses. Fortunately, Buzz and XR are able to launch a counterattack, although Agent Z is able to anticipate Buzz’s every move. Agent Z is able to take the Uni-Mind, and defeats Buzz before he leaves. Without the Uni-Mind, the LGMs are unable to do anything.

Zurg is able to turn the Uni-Mind into a force for evil, and starts enslaving planets

Zurg is able to turn the Uni-Mind into a force for evil, and starts enslaving planets

Back at Zurg’s main lair, he celebrates his success, as he plans to use the Uni-Mind to enslave the universe. The Space Rangers plan on launching a full-scale attack on Zurg’s planet, and Mira is able to find a way to slip in and destroy Zurg’s defenses using a one-man ship. Buzz, naturally, volunteers for the mission, but Mira points out that she found the way in, so she should go. Unfortunately, Commander Nebula ignores both of their requests, and decides to go with a full-scale attack. Mira and Buzz decide separately to sneak off in the Alpha 1 ship for the one-person mission, and end up fighting over the ship. Mira is able to win the fight and takes off in the Alpha 1, and Buzz is ordered to go after her. As he goes in his ship, he doesn’t realize that Booster and XR are hiding inside. Zurg soon tests his new Uni-Mind fixed for evil, and turns several planets completely evil. While Buzz chases after Mira, Zurg finally turns his ray on Star Command, taking over the minds of all space rangers. Buzz and the others head back to Space Command to find everyone under the control of Zurg, and although they make it back to their ship, a bomb has been placed inside. Zurg believes that he has destroyed Buzz, but Buzz and his team were able to escape in the Alpha 1.

Buzz and team head to Zurg’s planet, although they have a rather bumpy landing. Buzz heads off to defeat his foe alone, but Mira tricks him into accepting them as his backup. However, he demands that they get back on the ship and help evacuate any planet that isn’t under Zurg’s control. Buzz makes his way in alone, and ends up fighting once again with Agent Z. Agent Z reveals that he is actually Buzz’s old partner Warp before knocking him out. Warp reveals that he’s been a double agent for Zurg since they academy days. Zurg and Warp begin mocking Buzz, and Buzz sends out his final mission log, which is actually a coded message for help to Mira, Booster, and XR. The three head back to Zurg’s planet and are able to save Buzz. Zurg and Buzz have their final showdown, and with his partners, Buzz gets ready to arrest Zurg. However, Zurg is able to slip free, and taunts Buzz with the fact that wherever Buzz goes, he will hear Zurg’s voice mocking him. Mira and Buzz head into the area of the Uni-Mind, and Mira uses her ghosting powers to send Buzz into the core of the Uni-Mind to reverse it from evil to good, and the universe is restored to its natural order. The Uni-Mind is restored to the LGM’s homeworld, Warp is arrested, and the universe is saved. Buzz decides not to take just one partner, but a team instead. Buzz, Mira, Booster, and XR are awarded with the highest honor in Star Command, and will work as a team from then on.

December 13

December 13, 2005 – The Direct to Video Sequel Kronk’s New Groove is Released

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“But then he did a whole 180, said vamoose to the shady lady, now he’ll teach your kid to talk like a squirrel.”

On December 13, 2005, the direct-to-video sequel to the 2000 animated feature film The Emperor’s New Groove, titled Kronk’s New Groove, was released. This sequel was nominated for three Annie Awards, including Best Home Entertainment Production, Best Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production, and Best Writing in an Animated Feature Film. The film overall was panned, as critics considered the storyline weak. It was written by Tom Rogers, Anthony Leondis, and Michael LaBash, and was directed by Elliot M. Bour and Saul Andrew Blinkoff. The film includes the original cast from the first film, including Patrick Warburton as Kronk, Eartha Kitt as Yzma, David Spade as Kuzco, John Goodman as Pacha, and Patti Deutsch as the Waitress; the film also includes Tracey Ullman as Miss Birdwell, and John Mahoney as Kronk’s father.

The film begins with a cheese explosion at Mudka’s Meat Hut, where Kronk is the head chef. Kronk is distressed, as his perfect life seems to have gone awry. He takes the audience back to when his troubles started – earlier that same day. Kronk has changed a lot since the end of his involvement with Yzma, with the whole town adoring him. Kuzco interrupts Kronk’s narration to talk about himself, but explains that the film really belongs to Kronk, but still interrupts here and there. Back at the Meat Hut, Kronk continues his duties as head chef and head delivery boy, and sees his friend Pacha and his family. Soon, an urgent message arrives for Kronk, which he attempts to hide from everyone. He is panicked that his father is coming for a visit, as he hasn’t told his father that he doesn’t have a wife, family, and a house on a hill. His father never approved of his cooking talents, and Kronk feels like he always disappointed his father.

True to form, Kronk misses the signs that he's heading into a dangerous area

True to form, Kronk misses the signs that he’s heading into a dangerous area

Kronk begins telling the story about how he gained and lost his house on a hill to the waitress, where he first goes to the senior citizens home, where the seniors are wishing for a youth potion. He is unaware that he’s being watched by Yzma, who comes up with a trap to catch Kronk. She is no longer a cat, but still maintains some catlike qualities, including a tail. She claims that she has changed and wishes to help others, and takes him down to her secret lair, where she has created a youth potion. She tasks Kronk to sell the youth potion to the seniors, knowing that he needs the money to buy a big house and finally get a thumbs up from his father. Everyone takes the potion, and starts believing they are now young and beautiful, although they are really only having a placebo effect. Yzma soon reveals that she’s been running a scam, as the potion is nothing more than sewer slime.

Kronk soon makes a lot of money, and as the seniors need money to buy more youth potion, they sell Kronk the home. After a while, one of the seniors named Rudy stops by to visit, but isn’t wearing any clothing. Rudy reveals that he had to sell his clothes to buy more youth potion, and Kronk gives him a free bottle. Rudy then goes crazy on receiving the potion, and Kronk realizes that the potion was a fake. Kronk feels incredibly guilty for helping Yzma to cheat his friends, and Rudy reveals that the seniors were ready to elect Yzma as emperor. Kronk exposes Yzma as a fake, and the seniors chase after her. After they catch her, the seniors realize that they’re only as young as they feel, but still wish to get their belongings back from Yzma. She pulls out her most diabolical potion ever, and turns into a fluffy pink bunny, but is soon taken away by a hawk. Kronk then returns his attentions to the problems at hand, and decides to give his house back to the seniors.

Kronk finishes his story, and begins the tale of his lost love

Kronk finishes his story, and begins the tale of his lost love

As Kronk finishes telling the story of how he gained and lost his house on a hill, he starts to cry. The waitress sends Kronk back to work, but he then moves into a story about how he lost his girl. Kronk begins with taking the village children to Camp Chippamunka, competing for best troop for a third year. There, Kronk falls in love with troop leader Miss Birdwell, but thanks to the antics of his troop, the romance between Birdwell and Kronk doesn’t last long, turning into a rivalry between the troops. The two have a fight one night, but come to an understanding and work together to make a treat of raisin bread for their troops, which once again leads to a mutual attraction. The two declare to their troops that they are ending the feud, but are unaware that Tipo from Kronk’s troop is planning on playing a mean prank on Miss Birdwell’s troop. At the final event of the contest, Kronk’s troop performs exceptionally well, and Tipo puts his plan into action, accidentally leaving behind his empty pouch of itching powder in their grip chalk. After discovering Tipo’s bag of powder, marked with Tipo’s name, Kronk steps in to take the blame, and loses the woman he loves. He then goes back to the present, and the waitress points out that his father is on his way.

Kronk then comes up with the idea to borrow Pacha’s wife, kids, and house on a hill. Kronk’s father soon arrives at the restaurant, and Pacha’s family pretends that they are Kronk’s family. However, the idyllic scene is interrupted when Pacha enters the scene dressed as a woman, but Kronk pretends that he’s his mother-in-law. Kronk’s father, thinking Pacha is attractive, starts hitting on him. Kronk also has to pretend that he’s not the chef of the restaurant, and as he tries to balance cooking and meaningful, yet meddlesome, gestures from his friends as they try to assist him, the fondue explodes, bringing it back to the scene at the beginning of the film. Kronk finally explains the truth to his father, and resigns himself to being a failure. Chaca, one of Pacha’s kids, tells Kronk that he has the entire village, which cheers him up. His father finally gives him the thumbs up he’s always wanted, and tells him that he’s proud of him. The movie ends with Miss Birdwell returning, and the two rekindle their romance.