Are Disney live action movies worth it?

Category:  Opinions
Friday, September 6th, 2019 at 11:33 AM

In 1994, Disney aimed for a hit with a live-action remake of “The Jungle Book.” However, it wasn’t until 2017 that they seemed to perfect the commercial potential in this idea, as Bill Condon’s remake of “The Beauty and The Beast” topped $1 billion in the worldwide box office. Since this success, Disney has put out live-action versions of “Dumbo,” ($352 million worldwide) “Aladdin” ($1 billion worldwide) and “The Lion King” ($1.5 billion worldwide). 

There are many overheard debates in the Spectator office. This week, two staff writers, Abby Martinson and Olivia Steck, take on live-action Disney movies and their merits beyond the box office.  

What do you dislike about the live-action movies? 

Abby Martinson: I dislike that fact that live-action movies take away from the creative animated side of what Disney is known for. Part of the appeal of Disney movies is the animation itself. Also, when I watch Disney movies, it always gives me a nostalgic, child-like feeling because of the animation. Sometimes the live-action movies don’t always cut it. 

Olivia Steck: I dislike the lack of passion in them. There’s no originality within them and they don’t add anything new to a story that’s already been told. 

What do you like about the live-action movies? 

AM: I do think that the live-action movies do deserve some praise for the fact that the intention of them is to bring our favorite childhood movies to life, making you see the characters in a whole different way.  

I think it’s really cool seeing some of my favorite actors portray a character that I’ve grown up seeing.  The live-action movies are able to create some diversity that was lacking in the original movies.  

For example, you have Halle Bailey being cast as Ariel in the upcoming live-action “Little Mermaid” and Will Smith being cast as the genie in “Aladdin.”  

The original Disney movies were unfortunately made during a time when diversity wasn’t really taken into consideration enough. 

We are now able to incorporate the progress we have made as a society when it comes to equality and appreciation for all types of people. 

 OS: I like that they are putting more emphasis on the power of women. By portraying more of the intelligence and strength in characters like Jasmine and Belle, they are promoting strong female characteristics that all young girls should see in modern media. 

Why do you think Disney took this approach?

AM: If I’m being honest, Disney’s main reason in taking this approach was probably just to make even more money off the movies they know have become classics. 

On the other hand, I think their approach also could’ve come from wanting to revamp the originals and see if they could be improved with the new technology we have now. 

OS: It’s good for business. The originals are well-known and beloved. Recreating them in a more “real” fashion is an easy cash grab for Disney.

The animated version of “The Beauty and The Beast” received a Rotten Tomatoes score of 94 percent, whereas the live-action version only received a 71 percent. This is a trend we’ve seen when we compare the animation movies and the live-action movies. However, they are still bringing in millions of dollars. How do you interpret that? 

AM:  They’re definitely bringing in loads of money, due to the fact that literally everybody is going to see them. Even though not everyone may have necessarily enjoyed the live-action, they still paid the money to initially see it due to curiosity and the want to see their childhood movies brought to life.  

OS: I interpret that as just a difference in creativity. The animation versions were special because animation doesn’t adhere to real-life physics, so you can make a character or object do things they can’t in the real world. People like that and respond to it more than the live-action remakes. However, I believe that the live-action movies keep raking in the cash due to the new audience of children that Disney wants to cater to.  

Will you still go to the movies to see these new live-action takes, or stay away? Why? 

AM:  I think that I will definitely see the new live-action movies, but I don’t think I will pay the money to see it in theaters. I will probably end up just waiting until they’re out of theaters, so I can watch for free. I am excited about these movies, but not excited enough to pay the money for it. 

Also, it’s just not fun paying what feels like hundreds of dollars on my movie snacks at the theaters.   

OS:  No. I don’t want to see something I’ve already seen and done much better before. I’ll keep my money saved for original stories, thanks.

Tags: disney, opinion

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