Walt Disney Studios has been on a live-action kick lately, mostly due to the success of last year’s Maleficent and this year’s Cinderella remakes. To follow the huge box office momentum, a slew of animated classics are getting the live-action treatment, including Mulan, The Jungle Book, and Winnie The Pooh. Most recently, Pinocchio was added to Disney’s growing list.
Let’s not kid ourselves here: Walt Disney Studios is in no way, shape, or form hurting for money. The corporation owns ABC, ESPN, Marvel Entertainment, and countless other first name family entertainment companies in the world. Another round of remakes seems kind of reductive in a way, since Disney’s got more digitally animated material coming out of Pixar. But as long as the remakes are quality, we can’t complain too much.
Either way, they’re pulling in money like nobody’s business, so we’ll be seeing a lot more of these in the future. Here are seven Disney animated classics that deserve the live-action treatment.
The Little Mermaid
Everyone remembers the story of Ariel, the mermaid who trades her voice for the ability to become human when she falls in love with a handsome prince. The timely story, based loosely on the fable by Hans Christian Andersen, could either be a blowout musical or maybe a more contemplative character study with beautiful aquatic scenery.
There’s speculation that Aladdin’s villain Jafar may be getting the same treatment that Maleficent received last year, an origin story from the villain’s perspective. Even if Disney decides to go with a conventional remake a la Cinderella, Aladdin is a sprawling picture that could give some much needed exposure to Middle Eastern actors in Hollywood. And Gilbert Godfrey better come back as Iago, too!
The Lion King
Nothing more needs to said about this one. When will we get to see a live-action Timon and Pumba?
The Princess and the Frog
This New Orleans-flavored twist on the story of The Frog Prince was a modest success for Disney in 2009. Since then, it’s developed a loyal fan base that would turn out for a live-action re-do. And this time, Disney, make sure we get to spend more time with human Tiana.
Lady and The Tramp
Animal CGI has come a long way since the moving lips of Cats and Dogs. Lady and The Tramp is also one of the greatest love stories in an animated canon that could use an update.
Don’t lie: you already started humming “Go The Distance” in your head as soon as you saw the title. Disney introduced Greek mythology to a whole generation of kids with this animated tale of the super strong demigod. Since Danny Devito and James Woods both still fit their respective roles as Phil and Hades so well, it’d be a riot to see how Hercules would be updated, especially if they keep The Muses around.
From Phil Collins’ soundtrack to those awesome tree-surfing sequences, there’s a lot to love about Disney’s rendition of the Edgar Rice Burroughs story. But there’d be even more to love about seeing a live-action Tarzan wrestling a tiger and hanging out with gorillas. We’ll take any chance we can get to see dreadlocks on screen.
Dylan “CineMasai” Green is a movie geek, hip-hop aficionado, and pita chip enthusiast. Find him on Twitter.
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