Disney Live Action Remakes: A Huge Waste of Money


Nicholas Cordova, SHS News Editor

Disney’s live-action remakes have been coming out at a steady pace since 2016, and they’ve been getting worse ever since. None of them are even close to being as good as their animated counterparts.

The first movie I want to talk about is the live-action Aladdin remake which came out in 2019. This is probably the best of Disney’s live-action remakes, but that doesn’t mean it’s as good as the original. When I first watched it in theaters I thought it was pretty good, but when your adaptation of a masterpiece is just “pretty good” that is not something to be proud of. One of the things that made the original Aladdin so beloved was the comedy. In the original, there were two main characters who provided most of the comic relief, Iago and the Genie (played by Gilbert Gottfried and Robin Williams respectively). In the remake, Iago almost doesn’t speak at all, and while the Genie is still played by a funny actor, Will Smith, he doesn’t play the part with as much energy; that causes the jokes to be less funny. The only thing it adds is a couple of new lines, which don’t really add anything, and one new song which is pretty great.

Next, the Lion King remake, released in 2019. This one isn’t particularly bad but it doesn’t add much of anything to the original. It’s essentially the same movie except for the fact that the animated one has far more energy. If any Disney classic shouldn’t have been converted to live-action it’s this one. In the animated Lion King, the animals could be very expressive. For example when Mufasa dies, in the animated version of┬áLion King, you can tell how devastated Simba is because it is shown on his face. In the same scene in the live-action version, you can barely tell that Simba is feeling anything because his face looks the same as it does for the whole movie. Only one new scene was added, a scene showing Nala leaving Pride Rock, and it makes sense to be there. In the original, she just appears where Simba is with little explanation, while in the remake we know how she got there because we saw it. While the addition to the movie is positive, it can’t make up for how poor the rest of the movie is. The live-action Lion King is strictly inferior to the original.

The last movie I’ll discuss is the live-action Mulan remake which was released in 2020. This one is probably the worst of the bunch. When the Lion King remake was criticized for being too similar to the original, Disney decided to do a full 180 and make this one completely different from the original. This was a very bad idea. Mulan was one of the best of the Disney classics, so I personally didn’t see a reason to remake it. A huge problem with this remake is the characters. Most of the fan-favorite characters from the original are not here at all and any characters they left in are completely ruined. Instead of Mulan being this weak character that we see get stronger over time, she already knows how to do everything she needs to do, and therefore she has no character growth. Another big problem with the Mulan remake is the lack of the classic songs that we all love. In the previous remakes, the songs from the original are still there, or in the case of Aladdin, they add another song, while in this one the songs are completely absent. This makes the movie far more boring than it had to be.

Overall, Disney has a bad track record with live-action remakes which makes me sad that they are making more. Considering the quality of their original movies, it’s a shame that they continue to put resources into these remakes when the originals are so much better. Hopefully, they start putting more money into original ideas instead of wasting money on mediocre products.