The Good and Bad of Disney’s live action films

Disney’s animated films are top notch across the boards. They were the centerpiece to a lot of childhoods and led the company to its dominant stage of recent years. As of late, though, they’ve placed every effort in remaking their animated films as live action movies. The problem lies in them attempting to recreate classics in a limited field. Everything imaginable can happen in an animated feature. Disney magic can run free and bring the most magnificent story to life. However, no matter how great CGI has gotten, it can’t keep up with the full unhindered potential of animation.

Disney recently released another scene from the upcoming live action Aladdin. While the scene does not look too bad, it seems like a very low energy and mundane take on the Prince Ali segment. A memorable segment of the original film that involved Robin Williams changing his voice and visually turning into animals, women, children and Macy’s Day Parade commentators. It now has Will Smith, in human form, simply dancing. I can’t help but feel like it is because the sheer amount of money, time and effort it would take to make him do a bunch of magic in that scene. They could have simply made him do little things like transforming people’s clothes or turning water into wine, but I digress.

A recent teaser released for Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. I did enjoy the first Maleficent and think this is where the live action angle makes sense. Rather than remaking Sleeping Beauty, they told the story from the villain’s view and essentially made a new property in the universe out of an old one. I don’t think anyone saw Maleficent and thought “this isn’t as good as Sleepy Beauty.” That tends to be the case, though, even with their stronger do-overs like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. Maybe a prequel about the witch that cursed Beast could’ve been more unique. All we do is think about the music not matching the old versions and the performances we miss.

Check out the new trailer below:

This is not to say I hate the live action remakes. I will be in theaters for Lion King just as I was for Jungle Book, but I have a feeling that the Hakuna Matata sequence will be less fluid in the character’s motions and a bit off. Hopefully Donald Glover’s voice will hypnotize the notion out of our minds. Disney has seen this backfire, though, with the recent film Dumbo. I think maybe the pressure to recreate something so specific and beloved is too much and subverting to a new angle and story is the most sensible take. Either that or just completely new live action fairy tales like Enchanted.

This won’t be stopping anytime soon, as Disney is currently working on Mulan for a 2020 release. A while back they were also casting for The Little Mermaid, and Lady and the Tramp starring actuals dogs is set to release on the Disney+ app in November.

I much more prefer the risky and ambitious projects that focus on a new angle of those older stories. For instance, rather than remaking yet another live action 101 Dalmatians, they are taking the route they took with Maleficent and are beginning production on a villain centric film titled Cruella. Despite its rocky reception, I also thought Tomorrowland was a breath of fresh air. A completely new and unique angle on a piece of the park. I hope the upcoming Jungle Cruise does well. I would love for Disney to come up with interesting stories for their park rides and locations as films rather than continue to remake their classics.

What upcoming Disney releases are you looking forward to? Do you prefer the animated films or the live action ones?

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