Disney live-action remakes: nostalgic or just unoriginal?

Emily Foster

Staff Writer

Anyone who watches Disney has noticed its recent trend of remaking its beloved classic animated movies into live-action films.

In some cases, it seems to be a success. In others, I’m a little more skeptical.

The 2016 remake of “The Jungle Book” was one of Disney’s first recent live-action remakes, and overall it seems like it was a big success.

It could be said “The Jungle Book” was an easier film to remake since it had many animals in it, plus the original animated film was from 1967, and it wasn’t necessarily a lot of people’s favorite movie from their childhood.

However, the movie was a good film — the animation was done well, and the story was compelling.

The next, most notable live-action remake was “Beauty and the Beast” in 2017 starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens.

While this movie was good and some people seemed to like it, it didn’t seem to receive as much love and support as “The Jungle Book” did.

Perhaps this is because people are so attached to the original animated film that they are reluctant to accept the changes, however slight, that the remake had, like minor details such as dubious French accents and evident Auto-Tune.

Either way, for as good as the live-action “Beauty and the Beast” was, I don’t know if I loved it more than the animated one. If I had to pick one to watch right now, it would probably be the 1991 version.

This begs the questions: how necessary are these live action remakes, and why is Disney doing them?

Is the only reason Disney is remaking all of these films with a lot of big-named stars simply because they know people will pay money to come see them, regardless of how good they are, for nothing more than nostalgia and Disney’s reputation?

Maybe Disney is  making live-action versions because they now have the means and technology to do it well, and they owe it to the older movies to give them new life with real faces.

If that’s the case, I hope Disney embraces the challenge and creates the best live-action versions that can be made of our beloved classic films.

But if they are only doing it because they have no more original ideas for animated movies and they know that this is a guaranteed way to make big bucks, I worry for the quality of the films that will be coming out.

As for films we will be seeing in the near future, many  have high hopes for “The Lion King,” one of Disney’s most successful classics.

The live-action remake of “The Lion King,” which will premiere next year, is being praised for featuring an all-black voice cast, with the exception of Timon and Pumba.

James Earl Jones will be reprising his role as Mufasa, and other well-known names will be joining him, including Donald Glover and Beyoncé.

After the acclaim “The Jungle Book” received and the talent that will be featured, I am optimistic about how “The Lion King” will turn out.

“Mulan” will also be remade into a live-action film, but there seems to be a lot of controversy around the fact that it will not be a musical.

The animated film had such beloved songs like “Reflection,” “Honor to Us All,” “A Girl Worth Fighting For” and my personal favorite, “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.”

Knowing that the “Mulan” scheduled to be released Dec. 20, 2019, will not be a musical seems like a bit of a letdown, and I fear there will be something missing.

I do have to admit, however, that of all the Disney movies to take the goofy songs out of, Mulan could do well as a more serious film.

There are many more Disney movies scheduled to be remade into live-action films whether we like it or not.

Though I have my reservations about some, I can guarantee I will be in the theater to see every single one — I owe it to my childhood to see what Disney does next.

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