Friday, 18 November 2016

Another Classic Ruined?



With the release of the live action version of Beauty and the Beast, we’re all waiting on which childhood memory and beautiful film Disney will ruin next. I know it seems that I have been ‘bashing’ Disney lately but just to reiterate, I do love Disney film, the classics, Pixar (mostly) and the occasional live actions BUT NOT REMAKES. I have a rant about Frozen ready to go but I’m holding back a little longer (waiting for Moana to set sail to brilliance). Of all the films of live action fairy tales, I liked Cinderella. This was probably due to me not particularly liking the animated classic as much.


Let me launch into this. My favourite Disney classics are Beauty and the Beast, Robin Hood most likely The Little Mermaid. I can hold on to the fact that a live action of Robin Hood would be near impossible. Remaking with humans just wouldn’t work and no one can match the voices of Peter Ustinov and Terry Thomas. I hope, as I write these words, that I’m not sealing the fate of the film, oo-dalally. Unfortunately, this doesn’t save my two other favourites from being potentially destroyed.
This reign of fairy tale films is lasting longer than I expected. With successes, Snow White and the Huntsman, there were disappointments, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. With mediocre performances too, Jack the Giant Slayer. The key to success seems to be, follow the formula, meaning just copying the original story and making it look better, which is what Cinderella did. But with Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Peter Pan, they changed things.

The wave of changing fairy tales isn’t new. Bill Willingham has been doing it since 2002 in the epic universe of Fables. The delicate balance between ridiculous and brilliance was taken care of throughout the comic series and its’ spin offs. But what Willingham did was take note from the original fairytales rather than the Disney versions. The ABC TV show ‘Once Upon a Time’ tried to do all three. Copy, twist and Disneyfied. Now it seems that they just have Disney characters appearing as well children’s literature characters pop with myths and legends. The show was in danger of stepping on Fables coat tails but luckily the creators shot themselves in the foot. Fables is now free to be amazing even though there is the threat of a film on the horizon.




With each Disney live action remake, there is the loss of magic that animation brings. It is replaced by CGI and tricks. The more magical moments, I find are those that include more within the frame, the art direction is beyond amazing, even with the the more terrible film that have been produced. It has been said many a time that remakes are there to bring the story to a new audience, thus depriving the 'new audience' of the brilliant originals. A 'new audience' will never understand that Maleficent was one of the greatest villains created but was ruined in a mediocre attempt in making her the 'good fairy'. Why 'twist' the classic tale? The same was done with Snow White and the Huntsman but this wasn't Disney. It was just a terrible attempt at changing the story.


Back in 1996, 101 Dalmations bounced onto the big screen. Technically this could have been a straigh forward adaptation of the book but it was made by Disney. It kept the story, it kept the villain a true marvelous villain AND the animals didn't speak. It was brilliant. But Disney didn't learn from this successful film, it tried to change it. Cinderella followed the story and was successful. I actually really enjoyed this version. I was never close to the animated classic and I hated the mice. The cast were perfect, the costumes beautifully made and everything fit so well. I haven't seen the whole of The Jungle Book yet but I've been told its brilliant. It sticks to the story and the songs are even intact. a sense of childhood memories mixed with terrifying scenes. All you could want really. I haven't seen Pete's Dragon, I haven't even seen the original. This barely made it on the radar when it was released. But out of the remakes, this made sense as it was the lesser known Disney. But with the news of Beauty and the Beast and the release of the second trailer, I don't think its going to be what we've waited for.


Of course CGI is at hand to make the memorable characters of Cogsworth, Lumiere and Mrs Potts come alive but the Beast? There is something not quite right. And that brings me to Belle. Emma Watson is not Belle. She is too harsh and has that know-it-all expression that doesn't suit this character. Where as Luke Evans and Josh Gad at Gaston and Lafou are spot on. The fact that the songs are to be included, worry me too. I really wish that Disney hadn't tampered with this film. Now that Mulan is the next film to be ruined remade, that means all the classics you hold dear are in the firing line. How the hell would they do Mushu? There has also been talk of an Aladdin spin off prequel about the Geni. With stories and rumours like this, I wonder, why can't Disney make some original films? Zootropolis was amazing! Why can't they continue their winning streak? I really can't understand any of it.

5 comments:

  1. I didn't mind Maleficent but I haven't been a fan of these live action remakes in general. Emma Watson is a terrible actress. It was hard enough watching her completely miss any emotional nuance as Hermione. This one looks awful, I'll stick with the cartoon.

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    1. I didn't mind her as Hermione but she is no Belle. I'm dreading the release.

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  2. I'm in a little different place when it comes to these. I don't mind them reimagining the classics because those tales are so well known, and still often seen, there really is no need for a direct remake. I really feel there is no need for most Disney movies because, unlike most live action fare, the animated classics are often passed down from one generation to the next. My own kids weren't even born when The Lion King came out, but have seen that dozens of times along with plenty of the Disney classics that came before it. The same goes for many of the kids I work with. Granted, all of the reimaginings aren't winners, but I appreciate the effort. Direct remakes really have to work hard to impress me. I haven't seen The Jungle Book just yet, but I have seen the latest Cinderella. I was pretty much bored to tears because it was the same tale I've heard ten million times, just with different faces. That said, I fully understand your point. I think we're on the same page when it comes to the bottom line. Disney, and everyone else, should make more original movies.

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    1. I'd love to see some original works from Disney. And when they say there are no fairy tales left they're just thinking or looking hard enough. There are loads of tales that could expanded but they seem fixed to remake everything. It's a waste. You're right these movies are passed down and are timeless. That's what makes them great. A remake tarnishes the classic.

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  3. Sometimes I'm irked by remakes, but haven't minded the Disney ones too much. That might be because I haven't considered the re-imaginings a lot. Cinderella has been my favorite so far, but not enough to go back and rewatch it. One viewing was enough for that and Maleficent, and have no interest in The Jungle Book either. Beauty and the Beast is my all-time favorite Disney movie and Belle as a character. The remake doesn't upset me too much, it intrigues me. The cast seems great, and the sets looks wonderful. There are a few things that are disconcerting like Beasts' motion capture looks believable enough in some scenes but weird in others. Bill Condon as the director doesn't excite me either because the editing for most of his films is atrocious. For the most part, I'm really excited. Sometimes remakes can give movie goers the chance to go back to the original and appreciate them even more. The original Beauty and the Beast was like catching lightning in a bottle, and it does make wonder how much of that groundbreaking achievements are lost or diminished with the live-action remake. I'd love to see more original films, but I think Disney already knows they have an audience with classic films - so instead of gambling on originals they'll go with familiar stories 'cause they can make money there.
    SORRY this turned out to be a novel. :/

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