Disney has become the juggernaut studio that it is mainly through four key areas – Marvel, Star Wars, animated films and live-action remakes of its classic animated fare.
The last of that group has been a big earner for the studio, even as critical reaction to many of those live-action fairy tails has mostly been muted or mixed. Certainly, it seems that Disney’s glory days of creativity and risk, such as the early 1990s when they churned out films like “Aladdin” and “The Little Mermaid,” are behind them.
This week Disney Legends John Musker and Ron Clements, who directed those two aforementioned animated films, offered their opinions to THR about the studio’s recreations of their greatest animated hits. Turns out, Musker says he’s “bemused” by the remakes and thinks it’s the ones that do a full-on reinterpretation (eg. “Maleficient”) that work better than the ones that are simply a direct remake:
“I love to see new techniques being explored in animation. I also like the idea that the medium has enough elasticity and potential that there are many types of stories that have yet to be done in animation, and I am hoping in the coming years they will be.
I am bemused by the live-action remakes, although the more successful ones to me are the ones ironically that reinterpret the source to a greater degree, like Maleficent. I think Favreau’s a brilliant filmmaker, but the shot-for-shot fealty to the hand-drawn Lion King, as well as the inexpressive animation in his film, left me uninvolved.
In general, I would rather see more original content and fairy tales, particularly by their nature, don’t seem to accommodate or demand the extension and/or repetition of their self-contained narrative arcs. But Frozen 2 just made more than $1 billion, so what the heck do I know?”
Musker and Clements between them have over four decades of animation work on their resume and have helmed other Disney features such as “Moana,” “Treasure Planet,” “Hercules” and “The Princess and the Frog”.
The next live-action Disney remake is “Mulan” which hits cinemas in late March.