Disney recently announced all the movies they plan to release in the next five years. I counted nearly twenty live-action remakes that have a release date or at least planned. Among those are live-action remakes of Aladdin (1992), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Lady and the Tramp (1955), and The Lion King (1994). Pretty awesome, right? But…
Twenty remakes in just five years seems like a lot–that’s because it is. And it brings up the point: if Disney is just remaking movies from the past, does this mean their creative well has run dry?
Just Following the Trend
Not all blame rests with Disney. After all, what classic movie hasn’t been remade or been given a sequel by now? Blade Runner (1982), True Grit (1969), Footloose (1984), Ben-Hur (1959), King Kong (1933), Planet of the Apes (1968), and Star Wars (1977) have all been back in theaters in some form or another in the past ten years.
They’re not all bad movies either, as remakes can sometimes be. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) definitely had all the beloved Star Wars elements (to some people, at least) and True Grit (2011) was just as action-packed as the original. Some remakes even manage to surpass the originals: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), The Maltese Falcon (1941), The Departed (2006), and Dawn of the Dead (2004) were arguably much better than their predecessors. Just because Disney is adapting their animated films into live-action films doesn’t mean the actual quality of the stories will deteriorate.
But it begs the question: are there any original ideas left?
Missing That Disney Magic
The magic of Disney was going to the theater and seeing a new story that no other movies had ventured to create before. We relived the experience of playing with action figures like they were alive–because, to us, they were. We took a look into the mind of a teenage girl to figure out exactly what she was thinking. We even asked ourselves what would happen if a man turned into a shaggy dog.
Yeah, some of those ideas are harebrained, but they’re original. They were new and exciting to those who saw them for the first time. And, most of all, Disney lovers flocked to theaters to see them.
When we just relive those old stories over and over again, is it even worth going to the theater anymore when I can rewatch my old Disney VHS at home? Why would I pay $10 to go see the same thing in a dark, smelly theater? For the CGI? It’s a question we have to ask ourselves.
It’s Not Really a New Concept
When you think about it though, making adaptations isn’t really a new concept for Disney. Almost all of their movies are based off of a book or folk tale of some sort. Cinderella (1950), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Sleeping Beauty (1959), and basically any princess movie is based off of some sort of fairy tale.
And it’s not like they haven’t remade their own movies before either. Freaky Friday (2003), The Parent Trap (1998), and Race to Witch Mountain (2009) are all remakes of previous Disney movies. People liked those movies, but mostly because the originals weren’t the most popular Disney movies ever. It’s possible that could be the reason why the remakes were more popular–it was basically a new concept to new audiences.
Maybe that’s why all of these remakes seem excessive right now. It seems like just yesterday everyone was raving over The Lion King and now they’re making a live-action remake. Could it be that these movies are still just way too popular to be remade now? Then again, as a corporation, that’s exactly when you’d want to do a remake. Doesn’t exactly scream originality, though. Nor does it impress sequel/remake critics like myself.
What Does This Mean for Disney?
Obviously, with the monopoly Disney has over the world, they’re not going under anytime soon. But their ideas might run out. What happens then?
What happens when instead of bringing us another heartwarming movie about talking animals or a coming-of-age story, they just rehash one of their own story lines? Will people still be running to theaters just because it’s Disney? Or will they stay home and wait for pirated versions on the internet so they don’t have to pay money to see a story they’ve seen so many times before?
These are the questions we’ll need to keep asking ourselves as we continue supporting this super-corporation.
Thanks for reading! What are your thoughts on Disney’s live-action remakes? Comment down below!
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