So What’s With All The Live Action Disney Remakes?
So I recently read online that a live-action Mulan remake is in the works. This now makes Mulan another of many others getting the live action remake treatment with Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent and most recently Cinderella, and remakes for Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan, Dumbo, and not one but two Jungle Book remakes are currently in production. Is all this really necessary? Especially those two Jungle Book films. Let’s face it, we all know that if we do see it, there’s only one people are probably gonna watch, and it’s gonna be this one. The other one’s really not necessary.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that the reason this trend is going on in the first place is because of the gargantuan box office success of Tim Burton’s version of Alice in Wonderland (I still can’t believe he’s been tapped for the Dumbo remake but ANYWAY). The weird thing though is that almost all the other Disney remakes being produced are from the “classic” Disney canon, but Mulan is really a pretty recent film when you think about it: it’s nearly 17 years old–just barely old enough to drive, and it isn’t totally what people consider classic Disney either. Heck, it barely qualifies as part of the Disney renaissance like it’s older and more accomplished sibling Beauty and the Beast does (god I need to stop anthropomorphizing these movies for the sake of creative writing).
Now the other issue I have with the remakes is that they have the possibility of tarnishing the reputation of the originals, which somehow all those direct-to-video sequels never did, but maybe that’s because no one really watched them or took them seriously as high-level entertainment. I can’t speak for other people but I’ve really only seen one of the Aladdin sequels and Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, so what do I know. They might be beloved by other kids around my age, but I’ve never heard people really talk about them, so their impact is probably minimal at best. Anyway back to the original point: with film technology getting stronger every year, younger generations are gonna watch something like Alice in Wonderland or The Jungle Book (which will combine live action with CGI animals similar to Life of Pi), and that might be their first exposure to the Disney canon. So if and when they watch the originals, which of course were done with hand-drawn animation (an increasingly dying art by the way), they might not appreciate the original films for not being as up to par technologically as it’s contemporaries, and future generations might not even care too much for traditional animation, as they’ll be more accustomed to CGI.
I know I sound like a total purist, and I’ll admit that I pretty much am, but the originals are classics for a reason, and no matter how much fancy movie magic you bring to the remakes, no matter how much of a sympathetic story you give a Disney villain or secondary character (I’m looking at you Maleficent, as good as it is, it’s an expensive piece of fan fiction at the end of the day), and no matter how much money these films make and foolishly encourages Disney to make more, the originals will almost always will be better.