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