Studios are money-grabbing whores. I think this is a truth that kicks a child into adulthood, as surely as discovering that the Santa you talked to on the phone when you were seven was an actor who only took the job to buy his daily twelve-pack. Once you understand that, there is no going back to the time when your gifts were given to you by a jolly old man and the movies you watched were made out of love and desire to make you the happiest person on Earth.
In that light, it’s no wonder that I have such an intense love-hate relationship with Disney.
The Disney sequels were probably the first sign that Walt Disney Studios were searching for easier ways to cash-in on their most prestigious stories and characters while avoiding to spend the resources necessary to make original movies. They were lazily animated and if some were harmless, most of them are best left unwatched, lest you want to stain your fond memories of the original film forever.
A couple of years ago, Disney entered a new phase in the exploitation of the classics: the live-action remakes. The reason for this shift probably lies somewhere between “it’s cheaper to get a few CGI effects than to develop, draw, and animate an entire freaking movie” and “look, special effects are good enough to allow us to just do that kind of shit now”. Also, they probably realized that if they didn’t do it, someone else was going to.
In any case, if the live-action retelling of our Disney classics started very, very poorly (yes, Alice, I am looking at you), it doesn’t seem like we’re going to get rid of them anytime soon.
It’s not that I am not happy to see movies come to life on the big screen again. On the contrary: even with the huge bias that I have for animation, especially classical animation, I am genuinely glad that fairy tales and just old classics are still going to be revived. We live in a society of short attention spans and visual stimulation. This means that a lot of people don’t actually read and prefer watching things. Fair enough. If visual stories are the way that we can pass down our culture to the future generations, then yes. Make those movies.
I just have one condition: make them well.
This is when, at least so far, the live-action remakes have failed at being the next big Disney trend and have fallen into the easy cash-in on famous franchises trap. I know there hasn’t been a lot of those remakes yet but so far they have been horrendous at worst and kind of forgettable at best.
By sheer curiosity, I have been following the announcements concerning those live-action adaptations of the Disney classics and it turns out that not only Cinderella and Beauty And The Beast are getting a live-action facelift, but Dumbo is already in development.
A live-action version of Dumbo.
See what I mean by love-hate relationship?
– Anais L