Disney’s live-action remakes of their animated classics have been a mixed bag. Mixed because, with the exception of The Jungle Book, these remakes have failed to reimagine the source material in any meaningful way. Beauty and the Beast pays lip service to the many bad-faith arguments lobbied against the original while mishandling the relationship between the two leads. Aladdin gave Princess Jasmine the unnecessary song “Speechless” – Jasmine never was – and despite Will Smith’s talent, nobody can touch Robin Williams’ original legendary performance. Critics and audiences alike agree that Dumbo is, well, perhaps appropriately titled. And so on. But Disney has a long list of upcoming live-action remakes in the works, and some of them seem pretty promising. Here are the top three movies that have piqued our interest.
The Little Mermaid
As one of the greatest films in Disney history, it’ll be interesting to see how the House of Mouse reimagines this classic – especially the scenes under the sea. We are excited to see Halle Bailey, a Black actress, play the role of Princess Ariel, and how that may inform the reinterpretation. That said, it’s a shame Disney didn’t cast Tituss Burgess as Ursula. He’d make the perfect sea witch!
We chose Cruella mostly out of morbid curiosity. Like, how in the world is Disney going to garner an ounce of sympathy for a villain who eventually aspires to kill 99 puppies to turn them into fur coats!? Woof. Whatever the case, hopefully we’ll at least get to see some adorable dalmatians. That alone is worth the price of admission!
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The original Hunchback is an otherwise incredible movie held back by some tonal issues. It seems the filmmakers wanted to tell a more serious story, yet couldn’t let go of what had by that point become the Disney Renaissance formula – that is, pairing an earnest lead with a sidekick played by a comedian. But that’s what’s so exciting about the remake, for it could be everything the original should have been. We hope to see the new film explore how Judge Claude Frollo’s unchecked authority and possessive desires led to an abuse of power, and how Quasimodo and Esmeralda help each other overcome the villain’s tyranny.
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