Are Disney’s Live Action Remakes Actually Good


Photo courtesy of Disney.

Asa Stuart, Reporter

     Since 2015, Disney has pumped out a remake of a classic fairytale every year with the trend continuing into this year. With so many remakes coming out, many people wonder if Disney is running out of ideas, or are they just trying to make money? When a new remake comes out, everyone knows about it, everyone watches it, and it’s either highly rated and recommended, or highly criticized. Recently every Disney remake has been criticized for bad retelling of the original story, most recently Cruella and Mulan. Many of these remakes have changed the plot and musical aspect that made the originals so magical. Without the songs and magical aspects, Disney movies are left feeling hollow and wrong. 

     In Disney’s 2020 live remake of Mulan, they removed Mushu, arguably the best character, and the romance between Mulan and Li Shang, who wasn’t even in the movie, because of the uncomfortable and unfortunate implications of Mulan falling in love with her captain. Mulan was not a musical, like the classic movie, so we did not get the iconic song “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” and the movie felt empty without the songs. Some remakes have gotten away with straying from the musical norm of Disney fairytales, such as the 2015 Cinderella, which was a magical rendition of the classic fairy tale. 

     Other movies that revamped the classic tales in a new and interesting way were Maleficent, Pete’s Dragon, The Jungle Book, both 1994 and 2016 versions, Alice in Wonderland – the 2010 version and its sequel – and Christopher Robin. Recent movies such as Mulan, Aladdin, and Dumbo failed to hit the mark as the plot fell short without music, or even with music – good music. 

     The movies that get bad reviews are because of claims Disney puts no real care into the plot. Some movies are carbon copies of the original with a few modern changes, or some are modern adaptations that rewrote the classic story in a way that was in no way necessary, such as the 2021 Cruella movie. The Cruella movie would have been an amazing movie, if there wasn’t the background of the classic Cruella, a family-hating, dog-murdering older lady. 

     Disney movies sometimes just feel like a cash grab, a way to bring back people every year. Outside of fairy tale remakes, Disney has made amazing animated movies, such as the just released “Turning Red,” an animated movie about a 13-year-old girl, who is the daughter of first generation immigrants, and turns into a giant red panda when she gets excited. 

While Disney movies are always highly anticipated, do they ever live up to the hype? Are Disney movies good because it’s a good movie with a good plot and good cast? Or is it because it’s a copy of a movie we watched as kids, so we feel nostalgic watching it again?