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West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

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(she/her) Gretchen is a junior at West and this is her first year on the Trojan Epic staff. She is staff on the Trojan Epic and helps with design. She is on the golf team and enjoys hanging out with friends...

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Ranking and summarizing nine classic animated series

Animation has a habit of making sequels or trequels despite the feelings of their audience, here are some of those ranked.
Airi Thompson
Classic Animated Series

Something a lot of movie fans know and have come to expect, especially from large animated studios, is a sequel or even a trilogy. Disney and Pixar are especially guilty of making additional movies for movies that were already a big hit.

Sequels that are notorious for being not as good as it’s predecessor, the same often goes for prequels. Despite the public’s less than enthusiastic opinion on sequels, trilogies or even quadrilogies a lot of big studios still decide to make more movies no matter how the audience might feel.


#1 “How to Train Your Dragon” 

The first movie was an incredible show of music and art, leading it to 10 Annie Awards and a Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature. The first movie’s world building and story-telling overlapped into the second and third movie in a way that felt natural and not too forced.


#2 “Toy Story” 

The original “Toy Story” trilogy is a childhood classic. The story of Woody and his friends going from being with Andy and learning to adjust to children growing up and change is something a lot of kids and adults can relate to. The original three movies captured this perfectly by starting with Woody learning to adjust to change and accepting that he is no longer Andy’s favorite toy. Into helping Jessie learn to trust again after being abandoned and that Andy is an adult moving to college. Andy has grown up and doesn’t need Woody anymore, but Bonnie does. This was a perfect ending to the series and a great show of how Woody as a character had grown. The fourth movie didn’t feel like it connected to the other movies like the first three did; it felt like it undid the lessons about being there for each other in the second and third movies.


#3 “Kung Fu Panda”

As of writing this, the fourth “Kung Fu Panda” movie has been released but I have not watched it yet so I’ll be ranking based on the first three movies. While the first movie was great and the message of self determination and identity will always be great message for kids, I’ve always preferred the second movie. The portrayal of trauma and healing was not something I would have expected from a movie about a panda doing Kung Fu. 


#4 “Cars”

The first “Cars” movie’s message about learning not to learn that racing isn’t everything in life and learning to take life slow is a great message for children and is another children’s classic; but the second movie felt really out of place and more like a spin-off than a sequel. The third movie felt like more of a sequel than the second, for it follows Lightning McQueen as he faces newer, faster gen cars and McQueen has to learn to be “smarter.” He also takes on a sort of protegee in the way that Doc Hudson was a mentor to McQueen in the first movie.

While a great parallel, the message felt very similar to the first one and it felt a little like they undid the character development McQueen went through in the first movie of learning that racing isn’t everything.


#5 “Despicable Me” 

“Despicable Me” was a great movie about a man learning to care for three foster children as his own. It was an interesting movie because, instead of going the classic route of a man falls in love with a woman, it was about a man learning how to be a father; and while they did take that route in the second movie, they still managed to keep that character development in Gru and not push his adoptive daughters into the background to focus more on the romance plot line with Lucy Wilde. However, the third movie’s “secret twin brother” felt out of the blue and didn’t add much to the overall story or Gru’s character development. “The Rise of Gru” had a similar effect in that, while entertaining, it didn’t add much to Gru’s character and just gave the minions more screen time. 


#6 “Shrek”

Shrek is another movie series that has a fifth movie coming out. Shrek took classic fairytale stories and put a crude humourous twist on them. While an original take for it’s time and a memed classic, the sequel and trequel managed to connect well with each other.


#7 “Trolls” 

The music was always pretty good, probably because all the voice actors are well-known singers. Besides the music, though, the movies have a habit of pretending what happened in the previous movies didn’t happen. Despite that, the movies manage to have a surprisingly good message about learning to open up to others, family and the differences between equality and equity.

#8 “Ice Age” 

“Ice Age” is similar to “Shrek” in that it is a bit of an internet classic. The difference, however, is that while the first couple of movies were fine and explored their world of prehistoric animals in interesting ways, after the third or fourth movie, the plots and storylines began to feel overdone as they repeated the “world is ending” plot line for the fifth time. The comedy in the movies also has the same effect of not hitting in the way the writers probably intended.


#9 “Madagascar”

These movies never really had a “deeper” message to them. I’m sure there could be something said about friendship, but overall, the movie didn’t feel like it had that interesting of a plot line. While humor is subjective, the movie’s humor always felt overdone or just unfunny. The second and third movies had more interesting plotlines but still had the same issues stated previously. The pacing also has been off, probably because the movie was made for kids, but just because a movie is made for children shouldn’t mean sacrificing the story for jokes. 


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About the Contributor
Airi Thompson
Airi Thompson, Assistant News Editor
This is Airi's first year on staff, they are a senior. They are super excited to be this year's Assistant News Editor.
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