Disney dominates live action


By Maddie Baker

Since “Pete’s Dragon” was recently added to Netflix, Kaeli Bauman, 9, watches it after school with her dog. Photo by Maddie Baker
Since “Pete’s Dragon” was recently added to Netflix, Kaeli Bauman, 9, watches it after school with her dog. Photo by Maddie Baker

Disney has lived in the hearts of many since its very first full-color animated film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” As technology and cultural values evolve, Disney does, too. They haven’t abandoned animated films, “Moana” being proof, but they seem eager to expand their talents to live action with CGI and remakes of classic stories.

There are several smash hits already out for the public’s enjoyment. The first live-action Disney movie to capture audiences was Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.” Last year this film was accompanied by a sequel based off of Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass.” Afterwards came a revamped version of Sleeping Beauty told from the villain’s perspective and appropriately titled “Maleficent.” Then “Cinderella” and “Tomorrowland” were released in 2015. In the last few years, “Jungle Book,” “Pete’s Dragon,” and the “BFG” were released proving the amazing works of art that can be made using computer-generated imagery. The latest Disney movie released in theaters was “Beauty and the Beast” on March 17, grossing 180 million dollars domestically on its opening weekend.

“My favorite live action Disney movie is ‘Beauty and the Beast’ because I loved the original, and the first time I saw the live action version I was amazed. The cast was perfect, and the soundtrack for the movie was magnificent. My favorite song is ‘Evermore’ by Dan Stevens (the Beast),” Jacob Teague, junior, said.

Disney has lined up and saved dates for many new movies, and there won’t be a shortage to anticipate for the next few years. Next year there will be a live-action “Mulan,” and Disney is currently looking for an all-Chinese cast. Hopefully, there will be amazing action sequences “to defeat the Huns,” sing-a-long moments, and a sassy Mushu. Also lined up is “The Little Mermaid” with music from the original film, Alan Menken, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. After years of independent Snow White films, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” Disney’s first animated movie, finally got signed for a live-action flick as well. In addition, Disney is planning another live-action movie about Snow White’s sister, named Red Rose, where Rose travels with the dwarfs to save Snow.

After the success of the CGI “Jungle Book,” Disney has given the go ahead for a “Lion King” movie using the same director, Jon Favreau and, according to his Twitter, he “just can’t wait to be king.” Tim Burton is currently set to direct “Dumbo,” so audiences can expect an even darker version of the childhood staple, if that’s even possible. Another twist on a childhood classic will be “Winnie the Pooh” that’s supposed to follow a grown-up version of Christopher Robin, who was of course Pooh’s human best friend. The famous television show “Chip n’ Dale” will also be transferred to the big screen.

Disney breaks stereotypical fairytale expectations with a “Prince Charming” feature, which is different than movies told from the princess’s point of view. Since the prince from “Cinderella” and “Snow White” are both referred to as Prince Charming, it’s unclear which version of Prince Charming will be delivered to audiences.

“I’m excited to see Prince Charming because we never really get to see his side of the story. It’s going to be cool to see him fight for his love rather than waiting half a movie for him to magically appear,” Zoë Conrad, sophomore, said.

Further breaking the fairytale movie mold is another movie featuring the villain, “Cruella de Vil,” rumored to be starring Oscar-winning actress Emma Stone. Disney has proven within the last few years that it can think outside the box when it comes to classic characters, so this take on Cruella de Vil holds promise. With so many versions of J.M Barrie’s classic, Disney is finally doing its own live-action version of the boy who never grew up. Accompanying Peter Pan is his best friend Tinkerbell, who will get her own moment in the spotlight featuring Reese Witherspoon. They are also recognizing some of their less popular movies by creating a live action “Sword in the Stone” and “Pinocchio.”

Director Guy Ritchie will be bringing “Aladdin” back to the big screen, but Disney has also considered doing a prequel about Genie’s life before Aladdin appropriately titled, “Genies.” No one is quite sure how Disney will ever find a replacement for Robin Williams as Genie. Furthermore, not all of their new live action movies will be completely new stories. Disney has also scheduled “Jungle Book 2” and “Maleficent 2.” “Jungle Book 2” has an animated sequel, but Maleficent’s story ends at the conclusion of “Sleeping Beauty,” so audiences have to see what the writers have planned for returning lead actress, Angelina Jolie. Another sequel to anticipate is “Mary Poppins 2” with Emily Blunt filling the legendary role of everyone’s favorite nanny. It will be interesting to see how Disney goes about this sequel since the original is such a beloved classic.

“I think the sequels will be more successful because it’s kind of a follow-up movie on the original. It’s like getting to relive old movies from when you were a kid,” Hannah Masluk, freshman, said.

Disney’s big screen achievements will continue to dazzle audiences of all ages as its remakes take over movie theaters. Most of the confirmed live-action films have no set date, except for “Mulan” on November 2, 2018. There are also untitled films that Disney has claimed are coming in the future. Fans eagerly await the announcement of what other remakes there are in store. Nonetheless, Disney won’t disappoint with everything they’re planning for audiences.