Magazine Opinions Volume 69, Issue 2

Do the Disney remakes live up to the hype?

by Mateo Requejo-Tejada

In the past few years Disney has been pushing out remakes from left and right trying to generate the same positive reviews and cash flow as the original movies made. A description on Rotten Tomatoes for the live action  The Lion King  reads, “While it can take pride in its visual achievements, The Lion King is a by-the-numbers retelling that lacks the energy and heart that made the original so beloved-.” Some of Disney’s live-action remakes have received very positive reactions with audiences and critics, such asThe Jungle Book, however most of the movies weren’t really able to recreate the same spark that attracted a cult following like the original ones did. One of these movies that did terribly is the live action remake of Dumbo, which according to Rotten Tomatoes, received a 47% rating among critics and a 50% among audience. 

The lack of popularity among some of the remakes could be attributed to the fact that none of these stories are new to the viewer; they’re the same plot, characters, and settings with minor changes. These stories are predictable and it’s difficult to give full appreciation for the art and story because it feels like something that’s already been done and is just another way for Disney to make even more money. Although if Disney were to try and stray too far away from the original movies it might cause a backlash among fans because it is far different from the original beloved movies that were made by Disney.

 A good example of this is when it was announced that a black actress named Halle Bailey was cast as Ariel for the live action The Little Mermaid. People reacted by arguing whether or not she is a terrible choice due to the fact that she is black and in the original movie the imaginary animated mermaid, known as Ariel, is white. There are still some movies such as Aladdin  that were given poor scores from critics, but very high scores with the audience members (which is common among movies however the difference between the two in some movies was noticeably large) . Aladdin  scored the high audience rating of 94% and the low critic score of 57%. Disney will continue to make movies that sell lots of tickets and attract parents and kids to movie theaters, yet there is no secret that all these live action remakes that have been promoted, such as The Lion King, are essentially a rerelease of the original movies.