Disney has been cranking out remakes of their classic animated films in zany live action form. Why? To make buckets of money, of course. There is no other reason. Artistry is a byproduct of this, not part of the design. Cynical? Yes! True? Pretty much.
And so far the buckets of money part has been pretty good for them. The only real disappointment so far has been the live action version of Dumbo, which suffered from a couple of things:
- too old to benefit much from nostalgia
- being old, it was also never a mega-success in its original, which is what Disney wants these days–there was not enough to build on
- Tim Burton. He’s also flitted between brilliant and pedestrian as a director, and of late he’s done a lot of walking, if you know what I mean
- flying elephants are kind of dumb
The Lion King is next and will probably be a huge hit, but to me the photo-realistic animals kind of kills the point of the whole thing. Photo-realistic animals can’t emote like humans, so they just kind of stand there and look like they’re part of as nature documentary. Also you get a weird animal version of uncanny valley when they start talking.
Nevertheless, The Lion King is beloved by modern audiences in a way Dumbo isn’t, so creepy animals shouldn’t keep it from making hundreds of millions of dollars.
On the other hand, even Disney might hesitate before committing to live action versions of the following:
- Song of the South. Okay, this is a mix of live action and animated, but yeah, not gonna happen. Would be very interesting to see how they’d handle it, though. Very interesting.
Actually, Song of the South is the only one I think Disney would never touch. I mean, they won’t do a live action version of their WWII animated documentary Victory Through Air Power because it’s obscure and not something people think of when they think of Disney. People don’t think of Disney as being hilariously racist, either, hence Song of the South remaining firmly a thing of the past.