Aladdin. The Lion King. Now, The Little Mermaid.
It seems as if any big movie made during the Disney 'Renaissance' period is getting its own live-action movie these days. While for some this is cool, I cannot help but give a big sigh every time I see a new one announced.
There's the saying that lightning cannot strike the same spot twice, and I feel like that really applies to these movies. While they are great for introducing young audiences to an older film, testing out new CGI techniques, and showcasing new talent, they never really quite capture the same magic as their originals.
Let's take the current Lion King remake for example. Instead of excitement over the idea of a new story, people are battling back and forth on the internet and comment sections about how close or far the writers will stick to the original story. One popular tweet joked that if the famous opening sound of 'NYAAAAAAA' doesn't hit correctly like the old one did, they are walking out of the cinema. Instead of connecting to a new world of characters, people are grumbling about how 'Scar doesn't look enough like Scar' or Timon and Pumba do not seem as funny. Instead of the animation being only an afterthought, there are hundreds of comments about how poorly it is done or how it should not have even been used in the first place. Everyone is yearning for it to be the same movie that worked so well in the past, and yet, it is not that same movie entirely. So, disappointment settles in.
I myself am guilty of this disappointment. The Lion King is my absolute favorite movie, and the whole time I have been watching the previews for it, I have been hoping to everything that they don't make Timon and Pumba cliche, and that the CGI looks a little better than that one clip from Hakuna Matata that has been circulating around Twitter (you know the one). I'm so trained on the details and the nostalgia of my past gleeful emotions toward the characters I've grown to love that my own favorite story is suddenly not something I am super excited to go see, lest my childhood favorite be 'ruined' by Hollywood.
This is why I think Disney should stop with the remakes, at least for a while.
I get it, they're fun to make and a lot easier to bank off of than new concepts or ideas. You throw in a few big names like Beyonce or Harry Styles, and the money will just roll right in. But, Disney is not about retelling the same story a billion times with flashy names and production. At least, it was not when I was a child. It is about telling new stories of wonder, adventure, and purpose. It is about introducing new princesses, each one more cunning than the next, and dropping people into worlds of race cars, toys, animals, and even floating houses -- worlds we never even considered before. While there still are those kind of movies being put out there, I am seeing them less and less, and it saddens me.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm longing for new material.
I'm longing for something fresh and new that adds a whole new section to a Disney store, not fits in with the old merchandise of its original movie. Put the effort into something really amazing and innovative, Disney. Invite me to a new world instead of re-recording 'A Whole New World.' Show me the progress the creative minds there are making in terms of storyboarding and world-building, because I know it exists.
As the great creator Walt Disney said himself, "Keep Moving Forward."
Keep moving forward, Disney.