Today’s film industry is absolutely obsessed with reboots and long-awaited sequels to classic films and stories. Big name movie franchises like “Star Trek,” “Jurassic Park,” “Star Wars” and many others have seen reboots, reimagined stories or sequels that have brought millions into movie theaters. Lately, Disney has begun a small trend of its own by creating a series of live-action interpretations of some of their animated classics. With each one being different from the last, many have wondered why exactly these films have started to come about.
“It is a new age, and therefore, time for new ideas and portrayals of Disney classics,” said sophomore Deanna Venezio, “currently, I have only seen ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Jungle Book,’ and it is clear that Disney is onto something incredible.”
There is no doubt that these kinds of movies are easily marketable, as people love nostalgic feelings and would easily go see their favorite Disney classics back in theaters. Not to mention that Disney has had extreme success with big-name film lines and doing reboots of films. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has brought Disney much acclaim with tackling different stories and they are even having immense success with the sequels and side stories they are making for the “Star Wars” franchise. When the idea came to create live-action interpretations of some of their most famous animated movies, Disney already had plenty experience in creating different interpretations of classic tales.
“I’ve really been enjoying the live-action renditions of classic Disney films,” said senior Melissa Aiello, “in most cases, they’ve breathed life into these classic films in an entirely new way.”
Disney first started what would be a long lineup of live-action Disney tales with “Alice in Wonderland” back in 2010. Focusing on an older Alice, played by Mia Wasikowska, the film showed off Alice’s intelligence and strength that was not shown in the animated version of her as a child. With amazing visuals and a group of iconic characters, Disney was able to show that its live-action line-up of films stood a chance of being unique as well as a success. “Alice in Wonderland” was also such a success for Disney that it was able to put out a sequel in 2016 called “Alice Through the Looking Glass” that covered the events of what happened in Lewis Carrol’s second book with the same name.
Disney then chose to flip the script on a classic tale with “Maleficent;” a different interpretation of the classic “Sleeping Beauty” story that center’s on the origins of the original film’s antagonist Maleficent. With Angelina Jolie under the iconic evil witch’s cloak, “Maleficent” was set to tell a different kind of fairy tale story. Although the film was met with some mixed reviews, “Maleficent” helped show that Disney has a stronger set of characters that were not just main princes or princesses.
A “Cinderella” remake of the classic story that pretty much mirrored the animated film was next. “Cinderella” helped bring the iconic fairy tale of the young housemaid Cinderella, played by Lily James, to the big screen with some minor differences. “Cinderella” was the start to audiences questioning the importance of these kinds of films existing and why they should spend money to go see them.
Junior Andrew Herrera believes that Disney is just trying to cash in on audiences’ cravings for nostalgia. “The first remake's success was simply the green light to milk this idea as much as possible,” said Herrera, “these live-action remakes are just an attempt to capitalize on nostalgia.”
When Disney released their remake of “The Jungle Book” that was filled with CGI animals and an extremely similar plot to the 1967 animated classic, people were a little less thrilled. However, it seems that these live-action remakes are getting new life with the newly released remake of “Beauty and the Beast.”
With the film, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, breaking box-office records and earning an estimated $170 million at the box-office in its opening weekend, Disney could have a good chance to win audiences over again.
“I especially liked how they filled in some holes in the story in “Beauty and the Beast,” said senior Haley Andrulewich, “and the music was great.”
Nevertheless, Disney has a plan to crank out a slew of live-action remakes for the next decade or so, including remakes of “The Lion King,” “Dumbo,” “Mulan,” “Aladdin,” “Winnie the Pooh,” a remake of “101 Dalmatians” focusing on Cruella De Vil called “Cruella,” “The Sword in the Stone” and many others.