Disney seems to have landed on a jackpot recently. They own Marvel, Star Wars (along with all of Lucasfilms), all their blockbuster classics, Pixar, Disney-Pixar, and the rights to the Live Actions for the old classics. So basically every blockbuster movie coming out in the next while is owned by Disney. But let’s talk about the pot of gold they hit in the live action area.
In 1950, Disney released it’s first live action film ‘Treasure Island’. Since then they’ve made many live action films. However, only recently have they started redoing some of their classics.
Alice in Wonderland (2010) was the guinea pig of sorts. It had some very well renowned actors, great CGI effects, and a darker twist on an already twisted novel. Certainly darker than the original cartoon released 1951. It was also a twist on the classic, featuring storyline that was not entirely familiar.
After that, Disney tumbled headfirst (pun intended) into idea of redoing their beloved classics in live action.
Maleficent (2014) came next, four years after Alice. This movie was also darker than the traditional classic, choosing to add something new to the plot we already knew from the cartoon Sleeping Beauty of 1959.
Long story short, Maleficent was a huge success. This lovable tale introduced deeper feelings and themes like betrayal, redemption, hate, and love. The live action rendition allowed a more immersive look into the life of a very hurt woman who ends up becoming Maleficent. It is a story that has become just as beloved as the classic, if not even more so.
After Disney saw the success of Maleficent, they jumped in, and suddenly plans for many more live action films jumped into being.
Cinderella (2015) was less of a twist on the tale like Maleficent and Alice in Wonderland had been, and stayed fairly true to the lighthearted feel of the classic. This was drastically different from the darker themes of the first two movies, however, it was well received.
Shortly after Cinderella twirled her way into the ballroom, The Jungle Book was hitting theatres (2016). The Jungle Book veered away from the lighthearted tale of Cinderella and joined Maleficent and Alice on the darker side.
This was was a grittier movie, with more suspense, more action, bigger threats, and bigger CGI effects. Phenomenal actors showed up in this movie, and all around it was well done. A big plot change was added to the end of the film, but this was well received as well.
On a whole, the movie delved into deeper themes like Maleficent had, and ended up being a very emotion packed film that rocked the theatres with its release.
Disney actually tripled up its classic movies this year with their release of Alice Through the Looking Glass, which was a sequel to the first movie, and Pete’s Dragon a relook at the original 1977 film.
So… what’s the movie for 2017 then if we’ve had a movie every year since Maleficent?
Good question. This one is my absolute favourite Disney movie of all time, and I think that statement holds true for a lot of people, as this is easily the most hyped Disney movie yet.
Proof of this is in the fact that in the teaser trailer’s first 24 hours, it reached 91.8 million views, which topped the number seen in that amount of time in history, including other films such as Star Wars: the force awakens, Civil War, and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Can you take a guess? With all the advertising happening for the film, I’m sure you’ve got an idea.
If you guessed Beauty and the Beast (2017), then you’d be correct.
The classic was released 1991, and was one of the first animated films to feature computer animation, which showed up in the classic ballroom scene. Disney actually borrowed Pixar’s animation technology to create the room where the title song played.
The classic was well loved for its themes of acceptance, redemption and love.
The live action film looks as though it will still stay pretty close to the original, however we are promised new songs, content, and characters. For example, Cadenza a grand piano played by Stanley Tucci is an entirely new character.
Also, when Belle (Emma Watson) and the Beast (Dan Stevens) briefly read lines at a table read that went public only recently, the lines they speak are new content that was not in the original film.
Here’s the teaser trailer:
And here’s the brief little bit of table read we get to see:
I suppose this is probably the best time to mention that the cast for this movie literally couldn’t be better. We have Hermione and Matthew Crawley (Downton Abbey) starring opposite along with some incredible other actors such as Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts) and Ian McKellen (Cogsworth). Of course, Mr. McKellen is most well known as Gandalf, and Disney very cleverly played off of this by having him say one of his most iconic lines in the teaser trailer for Beauty and the Beast: “you fool”. Everyone knows it’s him then, and it only adds to the hype surrounding the movie.
In the Diamond Edition of the classic film (available in stores on September 20th) there is promise of a full featurette with more to see, but for now, we are left with very limited images.
Of what we can see, Disney seems to be taking the realism to a whole new level, by being very accurate with their rooms and sets to how they might look in the time period. This can be seen in the details in the teaser trailer, and also in this image of Gaston’s tavern.
With all the realism added, we can only assume that it will make the shock of an enchanted castle that much greater and more magical.
Quick note on the musical scores:
Lin-Manuel Miranda (Writer and actor of Broadway smash hit Hamilton), has officially been signed on to join the Disney team and I couldn’t be happier. He wrote music for Moana (the latest Disney cartoon being released this Thanksgiving), and will be contributing to many future Disney movies which is absolutely thrilling.
In a talk with some other artists, including Alan Menken, who wrote the scores for the original Beauty and the Beast along with Howard Ashman, Miranda can be seen fangirling over Beauty and the Beast which is honestly the best thing to grace the internet. Watch it here:
Absolutely magical, right there.
I, for one, am eagerly waiting the release of this movie March 17, 2017
Now… on to all the future live action Disney movies that are scheduled to grace theatres in the future….
Cruella (Shooting to begin late 2016):
You heard me right. Emma Stone has been signed on to play the villain of 101 Dalmatians. Seeing that this movie has also been named after the villain like Maleficent was, we can assume it will be a twist on the original story, and will probably explain the actions of this villain.
Apparently the first one did well enough to warrant another run of the show! We don’t know much about this movie yet, but it is expected that Angelina Jolie will return for her role.
The Jungle Book 2 (Oct. 19, 2018):
Again, this one did well enough that a sequel was planned even a week after the release of the first one.
This beloved tale will get a bit of a remake, as Tim Burton steps up to direct the story of the circus elephant. Apparently it will be quite different from its classic counterpart featuring a “family story”.
Disney already has a script writing team signed on for Mulan, featuring Elizabeth Martin and Lauren Hynek. This, so far, looks to be a pretty classically redone version of the original.
This movie looks like it will follow in the path of Maleficent, Cruella, and all the others that deviated from the original story. Instead of focusing on Aladdin, this tale will centre around the Genie, and how he ended up in his lamp.
Another interesting decision:
Not many princes get their own story in Disney movies, but this film promises to change that in which the prince stereotype will get a new spin. What that looks like, we can only guess.
Mary Poppins 2 (December 25, 2018):
This will be a sequel to Mary Poppins in which Emily Blunt is rumoured to be playing Poppins herself, and Lin-Manuel Miranda to play Jack a lamplighter. The movie will centre around Micheal Bank’s three children.
Last but not least:
The Little Mermaid:
Lin-Manuel Miranda is going to be composing, and that is enough for me. This movie is still largely rumoured, but with the direction Disney is going, it is almost safe to assume that every classic will at least get a rendition in live action.
My final note, is something I found interesting in all the covers for the latest movies. There seems to be a bit of a theme:
Is it just me or is there a lot of blue going on? But anyways, all gorgeous posters, especially the Beauty and the Beast poster which features the iconic rose.
What Disney movies are your favourites, and which are you looking forward to most?