Your Top Three is a series here at Movies.com where we choose a topic and you give us your top three picks.
This weekend's major releases consist of two number twos. There's a comedy sequel, 22 Jump Street, and there's an animated-movie sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2. Because we've already done a Your Top Three for the former category, it's time for one on the latter. And it's an even tougher bunch to work with.
Unlike comedy follow-ups, it's not easy to find a whole bunch of animated-movie sequels. But like comedy follow-ups, it's hard to find a few great ones. Until very recently, animated-movie sequels weren't a big deal. There were tons of direct-to-video retreads of the worlds of Don Bluth and Disney's classics, but not much on the big screen.
Now too many of Pixar's movies are becoming franchises, and DreamWorks Animation has been churning out the sequels for more than a decade. Of course, the one studio's Toy Story movies and the other studio's Shrek films have remained the most respected and beloved. Few are going to mention Cars 2 or Ice Age: The Meltdown among their favorites, let alone Happy Feet Two or Hoodwinked Too!.
Still, I'd love to know of any movies that aren't the usual choices. Are all the Disney continuations that terrible? Should I have bothered with any of the Land Before Time installments after the first? Is there a reason to finally watch Fivel Goes West after all these years?
My Top Three Animated-Movie Sequels:
1. Toy Story 2 - It's impossible not to begin with this early Pixar release, a movie that's up there with the best sequels of all time, and it's one of only a handful that is arguably better than the original. For one thing, I find it difficult to watch Toy Story and not wish Jessie were there from the start. Toy Story 3, on the other hand, is merely so-so.
2. Kung Fu Panda 2 - Another that's better than the original, this DreamWorks feature offers multiple animation styles, a great historically inspired story and some of the best action directing I've ever seen with the genre since Brad Bird. As someone who was never a fan of Shrek, I was also surprised at how funny and timeless (partly as in void of pop-culture jokes) the Kung Fu Panda movies are.
3. Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown - Is it weird that I might have loved this third Peanuts feature in part because I loved Up the Creek as a child? Maybe it's the other way around. Either way, this isn't quite the best of the Bill Melendez-helmed movies starring Charlie Brown and Snoopy and the rest, but it's the one I always enjoyed most. I still find it to be quite a thrilling adventure for a large-scale cartoon.
Your Picks (the top three being Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3 and Shrek 2):
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