Are Live Action Adaptations Better than the Cartoon Originals?

Hayden Masia, Print Arts Editors

During my downtime during quarantine, I’ve had a lot of time to think about the things that I appreciate in life. I’ve thought about things that I’m especially grateful to have in quarantine, one of which is Disney+. It may sound ridiculous, but I am a sucker for old Disney movies, so much so that any time Disney begins to remake another movie, I have the same two thoughts sequentially: Yay! A cool remake of a movie that I love! followed by Oh wait, these are normally not that good.

Now, I’m not saying that all Disney remakes are bad. They’re not. Sometimes movies need updating, and Disney comes to the rescue. For example, Mulan (1998) had some tasteless, racially insensitive jokes and commentary, so the new movie (released in March 2020) revised its errors.

In fact, I would go as far as to say that Aladdin (2019) is a fun, colorful, and beautiful movie with some interesting updates to the music that make it feel almost original. A new character is added to the mix, and Mr. Will Smith himself plays the genie. He was no Robin Williams, but he gave a great performance. As Junior Tharun Potluri stated, “The original Aladdin is really good, but the [added elements] of the remake still make it a good movie.” 

However, with the good comes the flops. For example, the original Cinderella from 1950 is definitely better than its successor (or clone) from 2015. It was nice to see the beautiful dress and the King in the North himself Richard Madden playing Prince Charming, but the movie was stiff with very little originality. The same sort of thing happened with Beauty and the Beast (2017). The 1991 classic was nominated for Best Picture at the 1992 Academy Awards and had some fantastic music and a compelling story. The remake… was fun to look at. I love Hermione Granger and Emma Watson, but the music of this movie just does not compare to the 1991 version. Ewan McGregor’s Lumiere doesn’t hold a candle (I had to) to the original, voiced by Jerry Orbach. This movie’s only savior was its visuals, which were admittedly stunning. 

I’ll close with some hope for the future. It has been confirmed that Disney is making a live-action version of Hercules directed by the legendary Joe and Anthony Russo, who you may recognize from a couple of little indie films they did like Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Rumors are flying as to who will play the characters and pretty much everyone hopes for Danny DeVito to reprise his role as Phil. We’ll just have to see what Disney does next!