From Cinderella to Beauty and the Beast, to the upcoming film Aladdin, Disney has been pumping out a stream of its classic animated features as live-action recreations for a modern audience.
With these movies being so popular, and garnering such large amounts at the box office, it’s no surprise that Disney have confirmed 14 more live-action remakes to be rolled out over the next few years.
While these re-imaginings of Disney renaissance movies may seem like an unspoken dream for children of the 90s, is this what devoted Disney fans really want?
Why are Disney Creating These Remakes?
Alice in Wonderland kicked off the live-action fairy tale remake trend, followed closely by Cinderella. In light of the success of these films and others, several live-action remakes have already been confirmed including The Lion King, Mulan, Dumbo, The Sword in the Stone, Aladdin.
It’s clear that the motives behind these remakes are more to do with money, than fan reception. While the remake of Disney’s 1950 film Cinderella received relatively positive reviews, it grossed over $500 million worldwide. With all of that money coming in for one film that worked from a pre-written story, it’s not hard to see why Disney went all in with their live-action films. Regardless of how the Disnerd community feels about these films, the proof is in the pudding. The live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast released earlier this year, brought in a whopping $1.2 billion worldwide, and is the highest grossing remake of all time.
In addition to the remakes of animated films, Disney has also lined up live-action remakes of several live-action classic films such as Mary Poppins.
So far it seems like only the Disney renaissance films and classic films are up for an upgrade, but it probably won’t be long till modern films such as The Princess and the Frog and Frozen will be considered for a remake.
Since Disney started this live-action business, the films have proved to be cash cows, and since they are all based on existing material, the Disney archives are providing plenty of material for future use. It’s clear that Disney will not be slowing down soon, and why the amount of live-action films planned appears to be picking up pace.
The Case AGAINST Live-Action Remakes
Fan reactions to the string of live-action remakes has not been completely positive. In fact, an online petition even exists, where people can sign to encourage the Walt Disney Company to cease their production of their live-action remakes (to see the petition go HERE).
Some fans love the live-action remakes, while some fans are questioning why they are necessary. With the money flowing in, it seems unlikely that Disney will stop making these remakes anytime soon. There are two main reasons that fans argue the remakes shouldn’t continue to be made.
Firstly, fans argue that the casting for the remakes is inadequate, and often overshadows the amazing performances given in the original. For example, of the new Mary Poppins live-action remake that is set to take place shortly, one fan says: “Just no. Julie Andrews is a goddess.” It’s understandable that long-time fans of the original don’t want to see their favourite actors and actresses displaced.
Secondly, many fans believe that remaking these films solely for monetary purposes does not protect the integrity of the story. Film Enthusiast blogger Mike Boccher says that “While Disney will still make money hand over first, it doesn’t mean it’s right to do so.”
The Case FOR Live-Action Remakes
Of course, there are lots of fans which love the Disney live-action remakes, and enjoy watching these creative, alternative takes on the classic stories that have inspired us. Here at HourLoop, we have even argued that this is an exciting new era for Disney – a live-action renaissance (to read about it go HERE).
Here are several reasons why we LOVE Disney’s live-action remakes:
- Disney’s original animated films are retellings
While we might think of those earlier movies as ‘the originals’, they are recycled material. Walt Disney blazed his trail by taking dark fairy tales as his source material and re-creating them into full length feature films. While it’s easy to regard Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as ‘the original Disney film’, it was a ‘Disneyfied’ retelling of a Brother’s Grimm story which re-imagined the plot and characters. This has served the Walt Disney Company well – they take out of date stories and turn them into a story that is accessible for a new, contemporary audience. This is what they are also doing with the live-action films. We should also note, that live-action re-tellings are not new. The 1991 film Hook did the same thing, and received a very good reception.
- Times, they are a changin’
Movies such as Pete’s Dragon demonstrate that today’s technological advancements allow even mythical creatures to be brought to life in a live -action film. This means, Disney are not simply popping out a live-action version that is a carbon copy of its original, but rather is using the updated technology we have to create something completely new, that was not available at the time of the original films conception. In addition, the times have changed in other ways. For example, Le Feau’s homosexual innuendo in the recent Beauty and the Beast film, reflects something of the times in which it was made. The 2017 film carried with it, concerns that differ from the 1991 film. In this way, each film contains fresh elements which keep it interesting and relevant.
While some fans have found that the live-action remakes don’t inspire them the way the original films do, there is still plenty of reasons to like them. Despite the films having small differences, there is a comfort to them. They still contain the major features of the same film and the wholesome feel of a Disney film. It’s like going to your favorite restaurant to order the same meal – there’s a familiarity which makes you feel at home. I personally love watching the remakes, and I don’t blame Disney for cashing in on the nostalgia – it’s an attempt to recapture some of the old magic from the timeless canon of films that keep on giving.