Disney Live-Action: Not As It Once Was

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Remember Meet the DeedlesSnow DogsMax Keeble’s Big Movie? Me neither, because I never saw them. These are all products of the debacle that was Disney live-action films of the early 2000s.

It seemed the company was just churning out whatever cheap film they could make to get the attention of persistent 8-year-olds to drag their parents to the latest family comedy.

The Disney studio had become what Walt Disney himself never intended: cheap entertainment that pandered to the lowest denominator of audiences.

(No offense if you happen to like any of those movies; I confess I’m quite partial to Heavyweights.)

But those days are long behind us.

Just like Disney’s animation division, their live-action films are giving the rest of Hollywood a run for their money, especially in the realm of their sub-genre – live-action remakes of old Disney animated classics.

It started with the odd, yet bewildering Alice in Wonderland in 2010. That was improved on with 2014’s Maleficent, a bit formulated, but more impressive than most people expected. Last year’s Cinderella confirmed that Disney has hit upon something great with this remake franchise by delighting us all. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

And now the studio’s newest release, The Jungle Book, is taking the box office by storm. And well it should! I saw it the other day and was seriously blown away. It was like watching Peter Jackson’s King Kong all over again, only, dare I say it? I bit more dazzling.

Sure, it follows Disney’s original ’67 animated version, but the detours are delightful! It was hard to believe that these animals are completely CGI (be warned parents of young ones: this is not Babe – far, far from it). Nothing at all looks fake in this movie. As impressive as it was to look at, I’d say the most wonderful thing about it is that there’s literally not a single dull moment. I never checked my watch, I never even bothered to scratch the itch on my ankle for fear of missing something.

And you will never see Shere Kahn the same way again. This new version of him just may be the most fearsome villain in the whole Disney pantheon.

And the franchise, it looks like, has just begun. Disney has confirmed that they will be remaking many of our childhood favorites (Dumbo, Peter Pan, Aladdin, Pinocchio, etc.). And if they keep on doing whatever it is they’re doing right, I say bring it!

Have you seen The Jungle Book? Share your thoughts.

 

Published by Andrew Toy

Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

12 thoughts on “Disney Live-Action: Not As It Once Was

  1. I’ve not seen it. My 8-year-old son went with a friend and though he loves the animated version, he found this one pretty frightening. I might have skipped it, but if you say so, maybe I’ll give it a try. I did love the live action Cinderella re-make.

  2. I’ve seen the movie two days ago and I have to say I don’t really understand all the praise it got. Yes, it has some good momenys but there were scenes that made me want to watch Batman vs Superman again and it’ś not good.
    Visuals were indeed fantastic. I was a bit annoyed with Mowglies way of talking, he clearly needs some lessons in pronunciation.
    In the end I found the movie to be OK, but far from great.

    1. That’s precisely why I liked Mowgli, because he wasn’t bred from Hollywood. He wasn’t the greatest speaker or actor, but that actually made him more believable as a boy who grew up in the jungle. You’re the first and only person I’ve spoken with who didn’t like it, but I’m sure there’s more out there. That’s what’s crazy about the entertainment business, is that reviews and opinions are always going to be subjective. I was the only one, apparently, who hated Avatar.

      1. Avatar wasn’t the best movie when it goes to the story, but it was the first great 3D production and that made it special. It had it’s advantages and it was pleasant to look at, but some dialogs and scenes were so cheesy and stereotypical :). I still like it.

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