Recently Disney announced another live-action remake to add to their already quite substantial list. The newest was The Sword in the Stone and unless I’ve missed a few, this brings the ever-increasing list to 5.
I have already written about how I think Disney are losing their creative magic and this proves it further. Doing straight remakes of already beloved animated classics feels pointless and nothing more than a cash-grab. Especially because if you wanted to, you could develop some of these great stories further instead.
So with this in mind, here are my proposed ideas instead of the live-action films Disney have already announced – starting with their most recent proposal;
Sword in the Stone should be – The Legend of King Arthur
Sword in the Stone was good but not a great Disney animated film anyway. A lot of it is Merlin and Arthur as animals, getting themselves into scrapes. It isn’t really about the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table until he pulls the sword from the stone at the end of the movie.
There are so many different tales involving King Arthur and the Knights of Camelot that retelling the old story is a waste. At a time when there is now a gap in the medieval/fantasy movie area, Disney could throw their money and more importantly, creative magic, behind a film that begins with the Sword in the Stone but includes Lancelot, Guinevere and a sword called Excalibur.
The Jungle Book should be – Return to the Jungle
We don’t need another Jungle Book story. The Disney animated version is a classic and a live-action version already exists. What about after the film’s events though? What about if Mowgli went back to the Jungle? What will have changed? Would he still be the Man-Cub that the animals raised or will the human world have corrupted him?
There is a much more interesting story to be told here than just the usual remake and with a prequel already in the works, maybe a look at the world after the Disney movie would offer some creative freedom.
Beauty and the Beast should be – The Story of The Beast
I’m not usually a fan of prequels. It feels lazy and never works in the same way you’d actually hope. I’d be willing to make an exception if it meant that Disney did something instead of a straight remake of one of their best animated features.
The idea here could be the story of how Beast became a Beast. We know he was a callous, uncaring and heartless Prince so develop that further. Why was he this way? What happened? Who put the curse on him? There is plenty here that could be developed and if Disney can try to develop a character like Malificient with her own movie, Beast should be easily adaptable.
Aladdin should be – Arabian Nights
The proposed idea by Disney is to do a prequel to Aladdin called “Genies” which tells the story of how the big blue Genie from Aladdin ended up in the lamp. This is a terrible idea! I’ve already said that I don’t particularly like prequels (unless they are about Beasts apparently) but to try to develop a film around a character so iconic is a poor idea. I may reconsider if Robin Williams was still alive but it is because he can’t play the role that this doesn’t work. To a generation of people, Robin Williams is Genie so to tell his specific story, you’d need his voice. Anything else just won’t work – and would feel slightly insulting.
Instead, read around the story of Aladdin. The 101 Arabian Nights has loads of other stories ripe for telling. If you don’t want to focus on just one, have Aladdin find himself involved in a mix and mash of many of the different stories. A sequel which is without the genie but focuses on the hero that Disney will eventually want to “reboot” or “remake” or whatever.
Pinocchio and Dumbo should be – left alone!
Some stories don’t have an alternative. Just leave them alone. Pinocchio is pretty perfect as it is. It tells the story in a faithful way, with good characters, great animation and a some of the most beloved songs. Dumbo was never that good a Disney film to begin with. There isn’t much to the movie aside from an elephant with big ears losing his Mum and learning to fly – it doesn’t deserve a remake!
Overall, Disney need to focus more on new, creative output than just rehashing and remaking older, animated movies. Any of the ideas above would offer more interesting prospects that just watching a pretty decent actress/actor go through the motions and perform what we’ve already seen done very well as a cartoon.