Disney’s Live Action Repeats

Disney should stop making subpar live action remakes

Zach Dulny, Staff Writer

     I won’t be seeing “Mulan” when it opens in March. Here’s why.

     Walt Disney Pictures has been releasing live action remakes of their animated features since their 1996 live action remake of “101 Dalmatians.” Honestly, they have really been going downhill ever since. This trend started as a cool idea for nostalgia but has become a repetitive annoyance.

These remakes are like parasites feeding off of better movies that spenT more time telling a story and less time being a money grab.

— Zach Dulny

     Starring Glenn Close as Cruella De Ville and other stars like Jeff Daniels, the movie currently sits with a 46% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it a critically mediocre film. Although the film didn’t do well with critics, it made $320 million and maintains a small cult following. But the live action films that followed just got worse.

     Excluding 2000’s “102 Dalmatians” (a sequel), the next live action film was 2010’s “Alice in Wonderland” directed by Tim Burton. The movie earned a 51% on Rotten Tomatoes and has been panned for its story, but acclaimed for its visuals.  Those visuals are the only thing keeping these movies watchable.

     “The Jungle Book” (2016) was one of the first films to have an actor interacting only with CGI characters and nothing else for the bulk of the film. The movie had stellar animation, making very realistic looking animals. That’s another thing about live action movies — they aren’t live action.

     “The Lion King” (2019) was the first of these live action remakes that didn’t have any live actors in it. The whole movie was realistic CGI that looks like real life, but is truly still a form of animation. At least with all the previous “live action” movies there were humans on screen. Still, most of these movies rely predominantly on CGI. The whole live action branding is clickbait for realistic CGI movies, and that’s something I have a problem with.

     The worst part of these movies is that most of them are just a complete remake of the original film, with little to no creative difference. Some of the exceptions include “Alice In Wonderland,” “Maleficent,” “Alice Through The Looking Glass” and “Dumbo,” but the rest are pretty much the same movie with a different animation format. One of the worst culprits is “The Lion King”  internet users have made side-by-side comparisons of scenes from the two films, proving that the so-called remake is nothing but a crappy copy of the original.

     Since these movies don’t have to define characters, a story, chemistry or anything really, watching them without seeing the original makes for a confusing experience. Without seeing the original, “Beauty and the Beast” (2017)  makes no sense. These remakes are like parasites feeding off of better movies that spend more time telling a story and less time being a money grab.  

     No matter how much they try, these movies will never be the original. No one can replace Robin Williams as the genie in “Aladdin” or Pat Caroll as Ursula in “The Little Mermaid” and certainly not Jerry Orbach’s version of Lumière, the candlestick in “Beauty and the Beast.”

     And that’s why I won’t be seeing “Mulan” when it opens in theaters March 27. I don’t have a reason to. If it was something more than a copycat version, I would go.

     But it’s not.