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Disney Live Action Remakes: The Art of Laziness


So, today I was supposed to make a blog review on the Indian Uber Police comedy Stuber, but it was rated-R, so... instead I'm going to be discussing the recent trend initiated by Disney to recreate their most famous animated classics into live-action modern epics. Mainly because I saw Lion King a few days ago. No, not the abhorrent mess that was 2019's, but the original 1994 iteration. The general consensus with these films is that they're cheap cash-grabs, aimed at profiting off past success and nostalgia of older audiences for box office revenue, and I must agree. Despite being a contrarian quite often, I must side with the masses this time. A counter-argument I also see quite often on the internet from Disney fans defending their new trend is 'what if these remakes are good?', which leads into a whole debacle over the subjective nature of that term, but in my humble opinion, no matter how polished nor grand-scaled, and no matter how masterful the cinematography is, Disney remakes can never be truly 'good'. And here's why: Fundamentally, when you boil these movies down to their barebones, they're literally comparable to videogame DLCs. Additional content coming with the main franchise. Unlike movie sequels or prequels, these cinematic experiences are more or less accurate depictions of past events, only with a gritty, modern setting. Take Halo Two, for example. An epic sci-fi shooter adventure, Halo 2 was remastered a few years ago for the Master Chief Collection. This meant the graphics of the game were supremely upgraded, what seemed pixels on the screen were now vibrantly colored characters interacting in cutscenes and far more eye-pleasing combat segments. However, unlike movies, videogames are replayable content with different objectives and side-quests the player can accomplish. It's not the same for movies. Movies are very narrow experiences, in the sense that you can only enjoy them in one form, watching them, and if they fail to deliver on this front, they've lost completely. Remastering a videogame isn't the same as remastering a movie. When you remaster a videogame, you create an iteration of that game with better graphics you can play through, noticing and enjoying all the big and little tweaks the developers put in to truly revitalize their game for a modern audience. With a movie... you only watch a retelling of a cinematic experience you've already seen.

Objectively, recreating old movies also creatively stifles the production team and casts. The heroes and villains are cemented in stone, the conclusion is already largely known, all the character defining moments and key development stages in their personalities are mapped out from the beginning. What's the point of reading a book if you've skipped to the end and know what the narrative builds up too? It's the same logic here. Producers can't make their own executive decisions, only a few minor tweaks to characters are allowed. This entirely betrays the very concept of a cinematic experience. They're meant to take the audience through a visual adventure, present to them ideas, compelling heroes, villains, and entertain them all throughout. Sure, it may be exciting to see your childhood heroes played by real humans fighting CGI monsters (though I really don't see how anyone could find that exciting, but this post isn't here to judge), but ultimately, there can't be anymore enjoyment derived from it. At the barebones, this is a cash-spawning money pool that Disney is submerged in.

Well, that's my rather short yet 'passionate' rant about Disney live-action remakes. I hope I get to one more movie before summer ends so I can discuss it to you all.