Disney seem to be pushing their live-action remakes with a vengeance. This year alone we have both Alice Through the Looking Glass (a remake/sequel) and Pete’s Dragon. Adding to that is the Emma Watson starring role in Beauty and the Beast, as well as Emma Stone playing a young version of Cruella De Vil. This week however, another classic Disney movie as added to the production slate. Following the stellar success of The Jungle Book remake comes the news that Peter Pan is getting yet another movie.
Only last year we got the critically and commercially unsuccessful prequel Pan. This movie sounded like a poor idea from the beginning but it also demonstrated that Peter Pan isn’t the draw he once was. The BBC produced a Peter Pan story this Christmas that seemed to pass people by, while nobody watched or remembers the more dark and moody version starring Jason Isaac as Hook. In fact you mention Peter Pan to most people and they will have fond memories of Robin Williams in tights rather than the Disney animated classic.
Disney have another product they can take advantage of, one that will have much more excitement surrounding it than another return to Neverland. No, not The Lion King (although that would be cool and has to be inevitable) but rather Aladdin. Aladdin is for many the greatest Disney film, with fantastic songs, great comedy and best of all, cool characters with incredible action set-pieces. It has it all, a good family film with lots of appeal to the older generations. It would also be awesome in live-action.
There are so many parts of the film that would translate; the chases through the market as Aladdin flees the palace guards, the magic carpet ride through the treasure tomb, the final battle with an evil, super-powered Jafar. All of these things would be great in a live-action setting.
It isn’t like we don’t have the young actors to play the role either. It wouldn’t be too difficult to find some young hunk to play Aladdin and a beautiful actress to be Jasmine but Jafar may prove more difficult and the Genie almost impossible. Robin Williams made that role iconic however you could also say the same for the animated versions of The Jungle Book characters. Although not quite on the scale of the William’s Genie, the animated Baloo and King Louie felt like the only version that could work until you hear the dulcet tones of Bill Murray and menacing anger of Christopher Walken.
The Genie would be so much cooler now too. The CGI effects we have would really work to make him a mystical and supernatural force rather than a goofy side-kick: a move which could distant the character from it’s more famous incarnation.
Not that Disney are letting an already iconic version of the Genie stop them bringing him back to the big screen. Disney are making an Aladdin movie – unfortunately it is a prequel. The film is called Genies and is set in the “Genie Realm” and explores how the Genie came to be trapped in the lamp. Unfortunately, it is a tale nobody wanted and the kind of movie which never works.
Overall, The Jungle Book was a success because it took a well-loved Disney film and added a level of realism and CGI which brought it to life. The same can be done for Aladdin. The film has action, love, comedy and great characters and making it live-action would bring a whole new dimension to a Disney classic.