In the last 2 years or so, the live-action movies have blown out and Disney may have exaggerated with some. I don’t say that all of them are bad, but I think that some of them just aren’t worth it. I’ll talk about these below:
The first one that scandalizes me is…
THE LION KING (2019)
Even though I haven’t seen the movie, I didn’t agree from the start with this idea. And many others seem to agree with me. Now, let’s set off a thing from the start: we all spent our childhood with the animated movie and loved it- it was child-friendly and everything was made perfect, so that the kids would enjoy it. And we did. My question is, now, why change a perfect animated movie and turn it into something emotionless that looks more like a National Geographic documentary than a remake of the classic movie?
- Most of the fans of the animated classic movie complain about the emotionless characters and the lack of emotions portrayed in the movie. In the 1994 version, you could see and feel the sadness and heartbreak of the little Simba when his dad, Mufasa, passes away. In the remake, the characters don’t show any emotion, are stiff and wooden. This wouldn’t be a problem if it came to an animated documentary, but we’re talking about Disney’s The Lion King, a remake of one of the most beloved animated children’s films of all time.
While the original succeeded to touch the hearts of the viewers, the 2019 remake seemed to “touch” only the wallets of the audience and make them to tear up only out of boredom.
- Another thing fans noticed is that the cast didn’t give their best in voicing the famous characters. IndieWire’s David Ehrlich probably said it best when he noted:
“Scar used to be a Shakespearian villain brimming with catty rage and closeted frustration; now, he’s just a lion who sounds like Chiwetel Ejiofor. Simba used to be a sleek upstart whose regal heritage was tempered by youthful insecurity; now he’s just a lion who sounds like Donald Glover.”
The original had a believable, emotionally-charged voice acting entourage from Matthew Broderick, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Rowan Atkinson, and Jeremy Irons. Even though the film has a largely all-star cast, it lacks all-star performances.
Despite all of these sharp-edged criticisms from fans and critics alike, the live-action movie managed to gross $1.3 billion worldwide, but has a 52% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, slipping far below the pristine 93% rating of the original. Ouch!
Next is MULAN (2020):
This should have been advertised as a retelling of the story of Mulan, not as a live-action remake of the classic Disney movie. Because some of us got into it with the original in the back of our minds and were disappointed.
This live-action “remake” has mixed opinions. Some liked it or even loved it, while others hated it or didn’t even watch it. I am in the second category. Let’s see why some people didn’t like this version of the movie:
- First of all, it’s the fact that in the new movie, Mulan was born with superpowers from the very beginning instead of keeping the original part where she was a teenager who works hard to succeed as a soldier, to better herself in order to defeat her enemies and to bring honor to her family.
- The second thing is that they replaced some characters which made the story more entertaining and cheerful, such as the wise-cracking dragon guide Mushu and Mulan’s love interest, Captain Li-Shang. They are replaced with a sister with no purpose, a phoenix who doesn’t do very much but looks pretty, and 2 new villains, Bori Khan (Jason Scott Lee), a nomadic leader and a witch called Xian Liang (Gong Li), who plays as Mulan’s Lacanian “double”.
- Li ultimately steals the film with several scenes between her and Mulan (Liu Yifei) that prickle with sexual tension as she attempts to turn Mulan to the dark side. That wasn’t even in the story! Why add extra stuff and alter the plot when you can just follow the original story?!
- They went even farther and even edited out a love scene. Was that even necessary?!
The last live-action remake is “DUMBO” (2019):
According to ScreenRant, Dumbo’s remake would be the worst from all the Disney live-action movies made so far. I can’t say it is the worst, but I’ll just say I don’t think it wasn’t necessary or worth it.
The same as The Lion King’s remake, Dumbo and the others animals are CGI-made which makes them show no facial expressions and emotions. No one ventures out to the cinema aiming to feel dead inside. But Dumbo’s lack of emotional resonance presents a solid argument that Tim Burton finally might be.
My point is: You can have good Disney live-action movies like “Cinderella”, “Beauty and the Beast” or “101 Dalmatians”, but they were good because they had stuck with the original and had mostly actors as characters. But if it’s a movie focused on a story of animals or just an animal with few humans, don’t turn it into a live-action movie because it will lose its essence and emotions and they won’t be worth it.