This week we took a look at Disney’s slate of remakes. Ever since Alice in Wonderland raked in more than $1 billion worldwide, it seems like the Disney live-action remake machine has gone into overdrive. With the recent success of Beauty and the Beast, we can expect even more. This week we look at the current slate and evaluate the good and the bad, and we have a healthy discussion about The Song of the South. Plus we recommend a few movies that Disney should consider remaking and which ones they should never, ever touch. That and much, much more. For the week of April 24, 2017, this is Episode 128 of The Disney Movie Review.
Here is the current list of remakes that we know of: Dumbo, Mulan, The Lion King, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Peter Pan, Tink, Cruella, Maleficent 2, Sword in the Stone, Jungle Book 2, Christopher Robin, and an Oliver Twist remake. See a full list here.
We all agreed that Disney is on the right track with a few of these movies, including Tink, Christopher Robin, and Sword in the Stone. Ed agreed that it would be nice to see an Aladdin remake, but only if James Monroe Iglehart would play the Genie. (Listen to our interview with the Tony-winning Actor here.)
I’d also like to see Disney try its hand at Atlantis. The movie doesn’t get a ton of love from Disney fans and I can’t figure out why. It’s very mystical with good voice acting and can be very Avatar-esq in a live action retelling. In fact, they could probably replace the world of Pandora in Florida with Atlantis if they wanted to.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame, would also make a great remake. We already know a lot about Quasimodo, but I’d love to know more about Phoebus, Frollo and Esmerelda. There is also a potential to move forward in the story and tell us about what the society looks like after the acceptance of Quasimodo.
Ed thinks Disney should look at redoing The Rescuers. We talked about how The Rescuers Down Under became Disney’s first sequel in episode 92. It’d be awesome to see if Disney could translate the magic of those two movies to the big screen and maybe make a trilogy of these mice solving cases.
If we’d venture outside of the movies to talk about the parks, it’d be great to get a backstory on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Disney is already working on a live action version of The Jungle Cruise and The Pirates of the Caribbean was really the first movie that brought Disney into the live action remake territory.
Kingdom Keepers is another parks-based story that could easily translate to the big screen. There are several books in the series and they already have a following. This could give Disney it’s own “Harry Potter” type of movie series. I’m actually shocked that they haven’t started this yet.
Remakes Disney Should Never Do
We all agreed that Disney tends to get into trouble when they remake some of their more popular films that are recent. Even if they are popular at the box office, it tends to dilute the impact of the brand. That means we all agreed that The Little Mermaid should be off the table. It’s too recent and, unless they are doing a spinoff, it will be too closely compared to the original.
Cruella fell into this category for me. Glenn Close was so iconic in this role that I think it’d be difficult to duplicate that. Ed felt Fantasia needs an animated sequel before we start to look at a live action version. And since flying elephants in a live action form creep me out, Dumbo was simply out of the question. Kristin has no desire to see a Pinocchio, but probably because of Johnathan Taylor Thomas’ epic portrayal.
WHAT REMAKES SHOULD DISNEY NEVER TOUCH?
The truth is, we disagree on almost all of what remakes Disney should not touch. Ed isn’t opposed to remakes because he falls back on the originals. That said, he doesn’t like Snow White remakes. I’d want Disney to stay away from Lady and the Tramp, Oliver and Company, and The Emperor's New Groove. Kristin wants Disney to stay away from Pocahontas and Song of the South. Specifically, we discuss three films at length.
Pocahontas - Pocahontas is (in my opinion) one of the worst Princess movies. In fact, it is one of the lowest performing Princess films. Disney ran into a lot of controversy by trying to produce this story as an animated film. It’s one of the reasons Kristin feels like Disney should not touch this again.
I’d like to see Disney try to redo this film with a little more creativity. Now that the story of Pocahontas is widely available on the internet, I don’t think Disney has to try to change it so much. They can take the same strategy they did with Saving Mr. Banks. They didn’t tell the whole story, but they didn’t change it so that it was unrecognizable. It’d be great to get a “second draft” on that from Disney.
The Fox and the Hound - Disney probably couldn’t remake The Fox and the Hound after putting Zootopia forward. But it’s also a movie they probably shouldn’t remake either. The story rests on two different individuals whose differences drive them apart.
Song of the South - Kristin brought up that Song of the South should never be remade, which opened a can of worms. (Really, I opened it up). Kristin felt like the movie was too racially charged to be remade. I think the movie gets a bad rap from Disney fans. Ed brought up the book, Who’s Afraid of Song of the South. If you haven’t seen the movie, here is a link where I watched it. (http://watchcartoonsonline.eu/watch-song-of-the-south-1946-full-movie-online/)
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