Live-action remakes are all the rage right now, but why does Disney insist on remaking classics? They’ve given us everything from straightforward remakes, like Beauty And The Beast, to slightly reimagined versions, like Cinderella and Aladdin.
They even told us the story of Maleficent, who, it turns out, isn’t so evil after all. Then they tried to reimagine movies filled with animals, so it was less ‘live-action’ and more CGI animals with celebrity voices running around.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed some of them. Lily James as Cinderella and Emma Watson as Belle were perfection. But The Jungle Book and The Lion King just didn’t work as live action, in my opinion.
But overall, as I sat there watching them, I just thought that they were a bit unnecessary. And it definitely seemed like Disney might have just been trying to squeeze every last drop of money out of their audiences.
Introducing New Audiences To Classics?
Last week it was announced that Disney’s latest live-action project would be Hercules, directed by the Russo brothers. This makes me nervous, because Hercules is by far one of my favourite Disney movies.
It has everything you could want in a movie; Greek mythology, an independent woman, and of course the Muses. So it makes sense that Disney would want to capitalise on this as the next instalment of they remakes. But c’mon guys, is it necessary?
And honestly I’m not the only one wondering about remakes, there have been a handful of articles over the past five or so years asking some variation of the same question. My answer? Money. And Familiarity. We all feel comfortable with the familiar, and that could be a good reason to remake some much-loved classics.
But it isn’t just about selling familiarity for Disney. It’s about inviting new audiences in to experience these classics in new ways. Us older kids will go and see them because it’s what we grew up with, and parents will take their younger kids to see them because of how much WE loved them as kids.
The aspects that I love about Disney animation are not inherent to live action filmmaking, and the filmmakers and producers don’t seem to be interested in actively bringing in those aspects. I just can’t get excited for the lifelessness in these Disney remakes.
— William O. Tyler (@WilliamOTyler) May 1, 2020
We also can’t say that Disney remaking classics is a new concept either. Look at some of their princess movies for example. They’ve all been remade from books! Snow White was based on the book by the Brothers Grimm; The Little Mermaid was from Hans Christian Andersen; and Cinderella was written by Charles Perrault, and was then later reinvented by the Brothers Grimm.
Most of these loved stories were dark fairy tales that had to be reimagined by Disney for a children’s audience.
I’m Still Not Convinced
Even by rationalising it here, I’m still not convinced by the remakes. They’re mostly the exact same as their animated counterparts, or they add a few new songs, characters, and secondary storylines.
If they’re insistent on doing remakes in live-action, why not make some based on how they were written by Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm? Show us the not-so-pretty versions. Show us Prince Eric not choosing Ariel and her turning into sea foam. Show us Cinderella’s step-sisters having their eyes pecked out by birds. Okay, so these are a bit dark but hopefully you get my drift – show us something new.
We don’t know yet when the next lot of remakes are due, now that most cinemas around the country are closed due to the COVID-19 situation, but there are a lot planned. Some are reportedly in pre-production, but most are still in development
Will I still go and see the remakes of Mulan, Hercules, and The Little Mermaid? Yeah I probably will, because I’m a sucker for Disney movies. But I’ll still be thinking Disney, just stop.
Image Source: Disney