Let me start this by saying that I love you, I really do. All that I am about to say comes from a place of love and devotion and me not wanting you to look stupid or get hated on.
It is time to stop with the live action re-imaginings of your classic movies.
Put the back catalogue down, step away from the ideas board and take some time to think of something new.
Maleficent was great. It gave audiences a fresh take on an aged fairytale which we all knew by heart. It made us view things differently and we all applauded the way you had so cleverly woven the old and new stories together.
Cinderella is currently bringing another classic story to life in the most magical of ways, and Branagh has seamlessly blended real life actors and CGI effects together to bring us a film of true beauty and heart.
I’m beyond excited for Beauty and the Beast, because the casting is perfection and it’s going to be a musical. I also admire the fact that you have stressed that this is just a retelling of the classic animated film that we all know and love, rather than a remake or reboot.
Even Jungle Book works relatively well for me, since it was originally a dark tale that Kipling gave us, and one where the animals didn’t even talk, so a live action version of that? Yes, I’m on board, even if we won’t see Baloo wearing coconut shells.
Mulan? Well, it’s not one of my favourites, and you’ll come under fire for whatever casting decisions you choose to make, but it’s a popular choice for a live action remake.
Great. So far, so good.
The scepticism sets in somewhere around Pete’s Dragon. Sure, the huge advancement in special effects means that you can now make the dragon look as though he really is in the same scene as the actors, and not just drawn in, and on some level I get that you want to retell the story using modern day technology, but my issue is that I don’t think Pete’s Dragon needs it.
In the same vein as Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks, what makes these films great for audiences nowadays, is their age. There is something sweetly nostalgic about Disney’s use of animation and live action from back in the day, and Pete’s Dragon is a gorgeous film, wholly because of its simplistic storytelling and animated effects.
Moving on to Dumbo, and Disney, I am disappointed that you even need me to tell you why this is such a bad idea. Some things should never be touched and I class Dumbo, and your latest live action target, as two of those things.
Dumbo is your shortest Classic film. It is also one of your most heart warming and dearly beloved tales and it doesn’t need ANY alterations. No one cares that it’s so short, because it’s one sweetly beautiful package. Don’t get me wrong, I love elephants, but no real life elephant is going to be able to capture all the expression needed to portray Dumbo’s feelings. Only talented animators can make a mute character speak through his eyes alone.
So now word is out that Winnie the Pooh is your latest subject for a live action revival, and here is where I call the men in white coats to come take you away.
Unless you’re planning on using actors dressed in the Disneyland character costumes, I just don’t want to know. Winnie the Pooh is a gift to the world from the brilliant imagination of A.A Milne. There are people out there who are still mad at you for changing this:
I am not so bothered, having grown up with both versions, but turning these classic tales into live action movies?
How would it even work? Apparently the new WTP will centre on Christopher Robin reconnecting with the bear as an adult. Disney, any human with half a heart can tell you that you never need to reconnect with your childhood toys. They’re always there, always a part of you.
Awful plot line aside, this either means that all the stuffed toys will remain exactly that; stuffed and lifeless, or we will be taken into Christopher Robin’s imagination, as always, only this time it will be to some hideous world of CGI blended with live action that will become lifeless, soulless and not at all enjoyable.
Disney, take a long hard look at all you have achieved and all you continue to achieve in your work. You are the world’s number one for animation, no other studio even comes close. You’re not DreamWorks. You are the top dog, the absolute best. Your work in recent years has been phenomenal. We must mention Frozen, which has become the biggest animated film of all time and has done a grand job of freezing Disney’s debts.
Big Hero 6 had a profound effect on me as an adult and is one of the best films I’ve ever seen. What is more, I’ve not read a single negative review about it. This is your future, Disney, don’t keep harping back to the past.
Yes, your back catalogue is impressive, but each and every one of those movies stands as a brilliant piece of animation and can be left as such. Some animated films work well as live action re-imaginings but Winnie the Pooh is not one of them, trust me on this. Go make a better version of Sword in the Stone, or something. Better still, get to work on a Big Hero 6 sequel. That’s what the world needs and is waiting for.
As for Winnie the Pooh, he is the corner stone of my five year old’s very existence. His ‘Baboo’ is his best friend in the entire world and his lifelong companion. I thank you for bringing such joy into his little life, now please leave him alone to enjoy it as it is meant to be.
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