I love Disney, I have always loved Disney and I will love Disney FOREVER! I think their movies are great, sure there are some misfires but overall, Disney is solid. So there are a nice amount of Disney remakes coming up, they are live action remakes of some of their animated features.
Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)
I remember when they announced this, it seemed to take a while since I think Angelina Jolie got sick around that time. But, I was excited. I never really liked Sleeping Beauty like that, however, I started a Disney animated marathon (didn’t finish) and I have a new appreciation of that film. It’s a beautifully animated film. Man. Anyway, I expected more, I left disappointed. I didn’t mind the fact they tried to give Maleficent a reason to be angry other than “not being invited” but a few things I didn’t like:
The fact that her name was Maleficent as a child, her parents set her up for failure.
The fact that she mended her curse instead of allowing the fairies to give a loophole.
The curse is supposed to make “Aurora prick her finger and DIE!” and Merryweather uses her gift to make her fall into a “death like sleep”. In Maleficent, the King begs and she changes it herself. Meh.
The fairies were stupid. If anything, Sleeping Beauty is the fairies’ movie and I did not like how they were turned into twits just to make Maleficent look good. Meh.
Anyway, this is not a review but I’m just saying. Maleficent was okay.
I actually liked this one, I wasn’t sure how I felt about her dress because of the butterflies but once I saw the movie, the transformation, while long, was beautiful and I understand why the butterflies were there but I still didn’t like them.
I appreciated that Cinderella and the Prince (Kip) met before the ball and their relationship continued and that it wasn’t just a one night thing. I know in some versions of the story, it’s a three night festival but ya know Disney cut it into one. I also appreciated how Prince Kip received a story line instead of just being Prince Charming. The stepsisters of course were there and were funny but not important. Cate Blanchett was wonderful as the Stepmother and I did really like Ella’s character.
The only “negative” thing, I can think of right now is that it didn’t seem like Ella really had a reason to stay… she left and that’s how she met Kip in the first place. She said she didn’t leave because she wanted to protect her house or whatever, but then she marries the prince and leaves the house anyway. So, it didn’t really seem like she didn’t have a choice to stay compared to the animated film where Cinderella really seemed locked into her life… I don’t know, just something I noticed.
Cinderella was really good. Beautiful movie and the music was lovely.
The Jungle Book
I really really liked this one, probably my favorite live action remake out of the three we’ve gotten in recent years. I would need to watch it again to do a review, which I always planned on doing, just never got around to it. But the young actor who played Mowgli was great in his role, I appreciate his casting. The music is great, and I just loved how real the animals looked.
I thought this was cute, I never saw the original but I enjoyed the movie. You can read my review for this film here.
So moving forward, we’ve had a few announcements about live action remakes. Up next is Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens which I am super excited about. Personally, I find Beauty and the Beast to be a masterpiece and to be Disney’s best animated film, so I have high hopes for the remake, it already looks promising. Next we’ve been told about The Lion King, Mulan and I think I saw rumors about Aladdin and The Little Mermaid, I’m not sure if the last two were confirmed but I’ll mention them anyway. I’m excited about them all honestly, yes the animated versions are amazing and are untouchable but that doesn’t mean we have to ignore anything else that comes out of them.
Mulan: Mulan 2
The Lion King: The Lion King 2, The Lion King: 1 1/2, a Broadway show, Timon & Puumba, and The Lion Guard
Aladdin: Aladdin: Return of Jafar, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, Aladdin: Animated Series, Jasmine’s Princess Power Hour (it was a special thing with Ariel).
The Little Mermaid: The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea, The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning, The Little Mermaid: Animated Series, Broadway Show.
So it’s not like these movies are “untouched” lol.
I think Mulan, if given a Pirates of the Caribbean treatment, could be awesome. Disney needs to give it an epic feel.
Cast: An all Chinese cast is imperative.
Eddie Murphy should reprise Mushu, if they bring him back. Excepton.
Real horse for Khan but animate Khan’s expressions though.
I think Ming Na Wen should play Mulan’s mother, as she was the original Mulan voice.
Music: The music needs to be amazing.
“Make a Man Out of You” should actually be in the film.
“Reflection” could be instrumental in that scene, or be internal instead of outright sung.
The Villain: They should do a bit more with him because that dude is one of the “weaker” Disney villains. Very forgettable.
Mulan could be epic. Just imagine that avalanche scene in IMAX or even the scene where Mulan uses the fireworks to blow up the villain. I think it could work if they give it lots of care.
The Lion King
It’ll be given the same treatment as The Jungle Book, which is fine with me.
The cast: Black actors. Do not ignore African actors.
Bring back James Earl Jones, Mufasa must be James Earl Jones
However, I will not be opposed to Samuel E. Wright voicing him. He was the Original Broadway Mufasa. Fun fact: he also voiced Sebastian in The Little Mermaid.
Heather Hedley could be Sarabi (Nala from original broadway cast).
Jeremy Irons should reprise his role as Scar, he would be an exception lol.
I think it would be nice to show Simba’s teenage years with Timon and Pumba.
Music: The Lion King has some of the most iconic music, and only three of them are technically sung by characters in the film.
“Just Can’t Wait to Be King” should be sung by young Simba.
“Hakuna Matata” obviously, though I was never a huge fan of that song.
“Be Prepared” I think that would be a cool scene.
I would like for some of the Broadway songs to be added:
“Endless Night” is such a beautiful song. I think that song could be part of the soundtrack, Simba doesn’t have to actually sing it, it could be an internal song.
“Shadowland” is great song for Nala and a nice introduction to her adult character.
“They Live In You” and “He Lives In You”
It’s been a while since I’ve seen the animated film, but perhaps the instrumentals of these songs are sort of there.
Thoughts on Rafiki: I am not against Rafiki being male in the movie, but I wouldn’t mind a woman like in the show and she can lead “Circle of Life”. We don’t have to see Rafiki singing it but the actress could sing it. I think it could be great! I’m excited lol.
My third favorite Disney animated film.
Cast: People of color. That’s it. As the location is based on a few different places, it’s hard to say so just people of color.
Iago shouldn’t talk if in the live action film.
Abu didn’t really talk but he shouldn’t either (think the monkey from Night at the Museum).
Rajah should also be there, as I read that tigers (and monkeys) are a large population in Agra India.
Agrabah is based off Baghdad, Iraq and Agra, India. The Sultan’s palace is based off of the Taj Mahal.
The Genie: I think this would be a challenge as Robin Williams has passed and he was iconic in this role. I’m not sure how he would be handled. They shoud look at some genie or jinn mythology
A physical person, use technology to help his appearence, but I don’t think he should look exactly like his cartoon counter part.
They shouldn’t try to copy Williams’ performance with someone else as most of his lines were improvised and that version was written with Williams in mind.
“Friend Like Me” is hard to replicate without Robin Williams, as well as that particular version’s energy, comedic timing etc… but if approached different might be okay. Otherwise, leave it out. Or look, at the Broadway show for ideas.
The live action Aladdin could have an “epic” feel to it too. Give a chance for more story telling, character expansion, especially for Jasmine.
Explore Aladdin’s life a bit more before meeting the genie.
The Cave of Wonders could be kind of scary in certain aspects.
Aladdin and Jasmine should have a few more meetings before they decide they’re in love.
I think the final showdown between Aladdin and Jafar should be a bit more involved.
It’s great in the film of course, but let the people do some stunts!
Aladdin doesn’t have to sing “One Jump”, it can just play in the beginning, just to prevent from being too cheesy and too “musical”.
“A Million Miles Away” is a song from the show, it’s during the scene in Aladdin’s apartment after they meet in the marketplace. It’s such a great and sweet song, gives insight into both characters.
“A Whole New World” can stay in the same spot. Bring it!!
The Little Mermaid
My favorite and I will be totally critical of this one, so critical. There is a version in works with Chloe Grace Moretz attached, but to be clear, her version is based on Hans Christian Anderson’s book, not the Disney film, which is why she will keep her blonde hair and her name will not be Ariel. While the Disney film is based from the book, the live action DISNEY remake will be on their own movie, not the book. So, just like with Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman, there will be two The Little Mermaid movies.
Music: It’s such a big part of the movie and I think it should stay.
“Part of Your World” may be a challenge as it’s an underwater scene. It should remain in the movie but be handled carefully.
“Poor Unforntuate Souls” is the same, a great song and scene.
I think this one would require a ton of care due to the nature of the film. It’s not like mermaids can’t be done, we’ve see it, in Splash, Aquamarine, Hook, The Thirteenth Year, Peter Pan (2003), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and H20: Just Add Water, just to name a few. They all looked good in their respective movies and different, only thing would be with the talking underwater. Obviously, they wouldn’t really be talking underwater, but it’s just making sure it looks believable. So we’ll just have to see with this one.
So these are my thoughts, at the moment, on these Disney live action remakes. Considering what we have, I’m optimistic about what’s to come. I truly believe Beauty and the Beast will be wonderful and I think the others will be too, just as long as Disney takes my suggestions lol. Just kidding, but no seriously. I’m excited to see what they do with these upcoming films, I can’t wait to start pictures and I can’t wait for Beauty and the Beast.
Below are some links to songs I want to be included. Enjoy them, they’re all beautiful.
Aladdin: A Million Miles Away
The Lion King
“Endless Night” sung by Jason Raize (RIP).
“Shadowland” sung by Heather Headley.
“They Live In You/Reprise” Samuel E. Wright is Mufasa in this video and Rafiki is a woman here.