It's not quite a bibbidi-bobbidi-bungle, but "Cinderella II: Dreams Come True" definitely is one of Disney's lesser direct-to-video efforts. Tepid production marks yet another step in the Mouse Factory's campaign to recycle beloved characters from animated classics in bland time-killers aimed at tykes with short attention spans.

It’s not quite a bibbidi-bobbidi-bungle, but “Cinderella II: Dreams Come True” definitely is one of Disney’s lesser direct-to-video efforts. Tepid production marks yet another step in the Mouse Factory’s campaign to recycle beloved characters from animated classics in bland time-killers aimed at tykes with short attention spans. Target aud is sufficiently large to guarantee huge, though probably not record-setting, sales and rentals.

Billed as a feature-length sequel to Disney’s 1950 “Cinderella,” vidpic actually plays more like a loose-knit collection of three episodes from a TV series spin-off. Wrap-around sequences have the Fairy Godmother (voiced by Russi Taylor) reminiscing with Jaq (Rob Paulsen) and other cheery mice, prompting tales about Cinderella (Jennifer Hale) and her happily-ever-aftering.

In the first segment, Cinderella frets about making preparations for her first royal ball shortly after honeymooning with her beloved Prince (Christopher Daniel Barnes). Think of it as a variation of “The Princess Diaries,” with snooty court taskmaster Prudence (Holland Taylor) in Julie Andrews’ role.

Other segs involve Jaq’s misadventures while briefly in human form, and Cinderella’s attempts to play matchmaker for stepsister Anastasia (Tress MacNeille) and a smitten baker (also Rob Paulsen). Each tale hammers home the same moral — “Be yourself!” — and each comes equipped with an instantly forgettable tune sung by teen warbler Brooke Allison.

At the very end, Allison also performs a bubble-gummy pop-rock re-arrangement of “Bibbidi-Bobbdi-Boo” that likely will make purists cringe.

The animation, handled mostly by artists employed at Disney’s Japanese subsidiary, is at best uneven — note Cinderella’s jerky movements as she bounds up a staircase — but may be just brightly colorful enough to satisfy undemanding pre-schoolers.

Cinderella II: Dreams Come True

Production

A Walt Disney Home Video release of a Walt Disney Television Animation production. Produced by Mary Thorne. Directed by John Kafka. Screenplay, Tom Rogers, Jill Blotevogel, Jule Selbo. Supervising animation directors, Kazuyoshi Takeuchi, Hiroshi Kawamata. (Color).

Crew

Editor, Julie Anne Lau; music, Michael Tavera; voice casting and dialogue director, Julie Morgavi; sound (Dolby Digital), Donald J. Malouf. Reviewed on videocassette, Houston, Feb. 22, 2002. MPAA Rating: G. Running time: 73 MIN.

With

Voices:
Cinderella - Jennifer Hale
Anastasia - Tress MacNeille
Jaq, Baker, Sir Hugh - Rob Paulsen
Gus - Corey Burton
Fairy Godmother, Mary Mouse, Beatrice, Daphne, Drizella - Russi Taylor
Prudence - Holland Taylor
Stepmother - Susanne Blakeslee
Pom-Pom Lucifer - Frank Welker
Prince - Christopher Daniel Barnes
King - Andre Stojka
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