In the news today there was word that one of the writers for Game of Thrones would be working on a live-action remake of Sword in the Stone. Now, that’s news in itself, which I’m not really going to touch upon, but what I am going to talk about is my thoughts on Disney’s current slate of live-action remakes and whether I personally think they should just be left well alone.
So as it stands, Disney is currently working on ten live-action remakes from The Jungle Book and Beauty and The Beast to Mulan, Dumbo, and even The BGF. Most of these movies I have incredibly fond memories of, especially as they were all a big part of my television watching experience growing up. So with that, I have worries that these remakes won’t live up to the fond memories I have of these Disney classics. I’m also worried that the casting for the remakes won’t live up to my and I’m sure many others’ expectations of what a real-life Mowgli, Belle, and BFG (among others) will look like.
Another thing that concerns me is that the cartoon classics in themselves are absolutely fine as they are. They tell a perfectly magical story and frankly I don’t want to see Emma Watson dancing around with some CGI version of The Beast. Just the other week my wife and I re-watched my personal favourite Disney classic, Robin Hood, and sure the art, animation, and overall quality of the movie felt a little dated, but does that really matter?
The Jungle Book is exactly the same. It’s a little grainy, the animation isn’t quite as fluid as newer cartoon movies, but that, at least for me, is the point of Disney classics, they’re all timeless in their own right.
So, the thought of seeing some skinny lad in an orange loincloth prancing about with either CGI or real-life trained bear with the voice of Bill Murray, being hypnotised by a real snake, while a real Orangutan with the voice of Christopher Walken dances and sings about being the king of the jungle, isn’t one that really appeals to me.
Of course, other than my assumptions about the live-action version of The Jungle Book, we actually have no idea how it’ll look. It could take on a more up-to-date appearance of the early Pete’s Dragon, where the animals are cartoons and Mowgli is a real human. Or it could take on a Homeward Bound filming style with real-life animals “talking”. Alternatively it could be a more CGI heavy flick. Either way, I’m interested in how it’ll turn out, but I’m still dubious as to whether it’ll have the same magic as the classic ‘toon.
With the way that technology has evolved, especially movie special effects, CGI, and other cinema magic, these remakes could all be pretty incredible, but with a current total of 10 in the works, do we really want to be over-saturated by remakes of our favourite movies? And when will it stop? The Little Mermaid (that’s apparently in the works)? Bambi? Oliver and Company?
Fortunately I think the 54 Disney Classics will forever be able to outshine any live-action remake. After all, they’ve been classics since 1937 with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. And cynicism aside, Disney has already made live-action version of 101 Dalmations which is actually a pretty good movie.
I guess my fear is that in an effort to rekindle the magic from classic movies, Disney may accidentally put out the fire completely.