Disney, when they’re not buying literally everything in the entertainment industry, practically printing money with the Marvel films, and pumping out Star Wars movie after Star Wars movie, are on a warpath remaking all of their old animated classic movies in live action. It started way back in 1994 with their remake of The Jungle Book, as well as 101 […]
Disney, when they’re not buying literally everything in the entertainment industry, practically printing money with the Marvel films, and pumping out Star Wars movie after Star Wars movie, are on a warpath remaking all of their old animated classic movies in live action. It started way back in 1994 with their remake of The Jungle Book, as well as 101 Dalmatians in ’96, but it didn’t really take off the way it has in recent years until Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, and the OTHER remake of The Jungle Book.
Disney has since realized that there are literally billions of dollars to be make remaking and selling people their childhood’s back. With the use of CGI, suddenly all of their fantasy stories about talking creatures and magic could enter a whole new world: The real one. They’ve made 8 live action remakes since 2014, and show no signs of stopping, having already announced remakes for The Lion King (we’ll put “Live Action” in quotes for this one), Mulan, Pinocchio, Lady and the Tramp, Lilo and Stitch, and The Little Mermaid just to name a few. Disney has made it’s intentions known that anything and everything that they’ve animated is fair game for a live action remake.
While a bunch of people are happy, and Disney is making literally all the money with this venture, I can’t help but feel something is missing from these old movies that isn’t translating into live action. The animators for these movies took these abstract concepts like animals talking and magical worlds and made them come to life in a way that I don’t think a live action, CGI “realistic” style can really capture. Sure, the technology for making these movies is much better than it was when they were created, and I don’t mean to belittle the efforts of the CGI artists and their work (seriously, those guy have some real skill that should not be understated) but it just feels like there’s something intangible that isn’t translating to these updates.
These animated movies were created by the best of the best animators and story boarders of that generation, something that is apparent to even kids watching these movies. The talent and skill that went into making these things come to life and feel as whimsical and magical as they do is something that I don’t think can be recaptured with a “realistic” CGI movie. The upcoming remake of The Lion King is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. The animators went through painstaking detail to make sure every frame of that movie was full of personality and life, while the remake, with it’s much more realistic and anatomically accurate version of the characters, don’t feel like they have that same kind of energy and magic in them.
I’m not saying these movies are going to be bad. Disney is throwing enough money and hiring stellar actors and actresses to do the voice work (although actors vs voice actors is a whole other argument I won’t be getting into right now). The CGI looks exactly what they were going for with their previous ventures, but the problem is that these movies aren’t better movies because they’re more realistic looking. The choices in animation were deliberate and add personality to the movies that a realistic style and tone don’t have. Using actual actors and actresses for movies like Aladdin or Cinderella feels like they’re less energetic and have less personality than they did in the movie they’re remaking.
Maybe I’m wrong and my feeling that these remakes are missing the magic and style that these hand drawn animators brought to the movie, but it really feels like these movies are missing something. Because while the technology for making these movies may be better, they aren’t better movies because they’re no longer animated, just newer.
But who am I kidding? Disney is going to make billions off these movies and everyone will go see it, old and new fans alike. I just wish that animated movies were given a bit more respect and that the only way they cold be considered “legitimate” isn’t for the medium to be adapted into live action. You can update the way the movies is presented, CGI can’t replace style.
Posted by Austin Hamblen, Owner and Main writer of Endlessmonkey.com