Disney live action: Has the magic disappeared?

Whilst Disney is busy remaking all of their original classics into live-action movies, including Dumbo and The Lion King, it begs the question, is it necessary?

No-one can deny that Disney movies epitomised many a childhood, and whilst I may have seen less Disney movies than the average person of my generation, it is undeniable that these films have a certain ‘sparkle’ that can’t be found in anything else. Is remaking these films just a way of reviving the magic we once knew, and giving us the freedom to watch them without the guilt that we’re “too old”? Certain people may argue that Disney films are for the whole family, but if that’s the case, then why do so many of us hide our love for them?

It’s obvious why Disney have decided to remake their so-called ‘classics’ – they all contain fond memories from our childhoods, and therefore they can surely all benefit from a shiny and new reboot, with the latest CGI technology and different actors’ interpretations. The film industry is a profoundly risky business, so sticking to films that we know and already love is seen as a ‘safe’ idea, utilising our already captivated hearts to get us in front of the cinema screens, to relive some of our most treasured memories.

The box office certainly seems to think this is the case as well, with two of Disney’s most recent remakes being Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella, both becoming instant hits worldwide, with Beauty and the Beast grossing $1.2 billion, against a budget of $200 million, which surpassed the total gross of its original version in just six days.

Disney will be hoping that the newly revived Aladdin, based on the original 1992 film, will follow this successful trend. However, after the reveal of the first trailer at the 2019 Grammy awards, the portrayal of the Genie, played by Will Smith, has prompted a backlash from loyal Disney fans. Originally portrayed by Robin Williams in the 1992 film, Will Smith has faced controversy before for his role as the Genie, after he appeared on the cover of Entertainment Weekly to promote the film, looking very un-Genie like. However, he promised loyal fans that he “will be blue” and that he was in his “human form”, and at the time this was enough to comfort Disney supporters. But the backlash has since resurfaced, stating that the character looks “too human” and is just Will Smith painted blue.

Although the Genie is only one part of the beloved film, and there is much more to look forward to that we can see a glimpse of in the minute-long trailer, including a newly enlarged version of the flying carpet, and hopefully the Disney magic we all know and love. However, It’s fair to say that fans have been disheartened by the latest trailer, which doesn’t bode well for its eventual release. Aside from the Genie, Disney has also received backlash from the casting of Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine, who fans say is too “pale” to be playing the character. Jasmine is an Arabic woman, whilst Naomi Scott is of British-Indian descent and has, therefore, prompted a negative response from fans, accusing Disney of saying that Middle Eastern and South Asian ethnicities are interchangeable.

Will our original love for the classic film be enough to carry its success forward? Or, is this just proof that Disney should quit whilst they’re ahead?

The first trailer for Aladdin may have had a negative reaction from audiences, but both The Lion King and Dumbo have had an overwhelmingly positive reaction so far, reviving the Disney magic we saw in the originals.

Which Disney remake are you most excited for? Should Disney leave these classics alone? Let us know in the comments!

By Faith Pring

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