I don’t normally cover direct-to-video releases, but I thought I’d make an exception for Disney’s DTV sequels, given that a couple of them did play theaters. This isn’t the absolute worst of Disney’s crop of cash-in sequels from around this time, but it may be the most blatantly uninspired. The main problem with the film isn’t just that it’s a retread of the previous movie—it’s that the recreation of the first movie’s setup required an incredibly forced and patently absurd plot contrivance.
For those who haven’t seen the movie, the starting premise is that Ariel and Eric’s daughter has been targeted by an evil witch (“Ursula’s crazy sister”), and instead of doing the sensible thing and warning her of the danger, they just forcibly cut her off from contact with the sea without telling her anything, for no other reason than that the film’s plot requires it.
The new characters are all blatant retreads of the originals, from heroine Melody, whom the film actually points out is exactly like her mother, to villainess Morgana, who shares Ursula’s voice actress and seems exactly like her apart from occasionally ranting about how their mother liked Ursula best, which seems odd given that avenging Ursula is her entire motivation for her actions in this film.
The songs are intensely annoying in both music and lyrics (a sample title: “Titanic Tip and Daring Dash, Adventurers-Slash-Explorers”), and the film ends with a cloying and risible climax where everyone on land and sea gets together for a big party. There are four or five Disney sequels worse than this one, but it’s pretty close to the bottom of the barrel.