Are the new films just cash grabs or something for a new generation?
Growing up, Disney was the foundation of my childhood. I get nostalgic every time I think of hitting the play button on the VHS. The animation of each movie gave me unrealistic expectations for relationships but also showed me that Disney magic can put a smile on any little kid’s face.
Now that we are all grown up, Disney is creating live-action remakes of the classic movies we know and love. For instance, “Snow White” was the first princess movie that Disney released in 1938. Its live-action remake, “Mirror Mirror,” was released in 2012.
I am all for adaptations and updated versions of the classics we know and love. Recently, Disney announced that there are two new live-action movies coming to screen, “Pinocchio” and “The Little Mermaid.” I’ve been waiting to see how Disney would make “The Little Mermaid” live-action and what kind of twist they would put on it because it was one of my favorite movies growing up. As for “Pinocchio,” it was never my favorite movie, but I still loved it and am eager to see the adaptation.
“Pinocchio,” originally released in 1940, is the story of a puppet who wants to be a real boy. The film uses both live-action and animation to bring the story to life. The best parts of the movie are how true the directors stayed to the original animation. Pinocchio stays his puppet size, whether he is alive or not, and the majority of the cast from the animated movie are included but with a little bit of a twist. The details are well done, with a mix of the original elements and new ideas.
However, its release has not been welcomed with open arms. On Rotten Tomatoes, a platform notorious for rating movies online based on how people enjoyed the film, “Pinocchio” received a mere 27%.
According to a writer at the Empire, Alex Godfrey, “Ultimately, it’s all a bit flat, and feels like an exercise. It exists because it can.”
Godfrey continues, “Though not without charm, and some splendid CGI, this scattershot grab-bag of good intentions results in a bit of an emotional flatline. This puppet will not tug on your heartstrings.” Throughout the film, Geppetto dreams of having a son to call his own, but the movie falls a tad bit short of that heartwarming moment since they are not together for most of the film.
The other live-action movie that is being released soon is “The Little Mermaid.” Based on the trailer itself, the visuals are beyond beautiful and well done. It appears that it adhered to the soundtrack and storyline of the original
This movie, however, is receiving a large amount of backlash. In the classic film, Ariel has vibrant red hair and light skin. In the live-action film, the directors cast Halle Bailey, who is a woman of color. Some viewers believe that this is not following the original design and goes against what Hans Christian Andersen first wrote back in 1837.
NPR’s Vanessa Romo states “The hashtag #NotMyAriel quickly began trending on Twitter, and since the announcement last week, scores of fans have pledged to boycott the film.”
I disagree with that statement. It shows inclusivity and a new adaptation to capture the hearts of the younger audience. Parents all over TikTok have been posting videos of their children getting excited to see this movie.
A journalist at NPR, Jonathan Franklin, shared some of those clips. The little girls in the TikToks have the most magical looks on their faces and excitement in their voices when they say, “Mommy! … she’s brown like me!”
The big question is if these remakes are a money grab for Disney or if they’re actually worth making. My answer? They are 100% worth it. Do some movies fall short of the completely earth-shattering Disney magic? Sure. But what makes a Disney live-action movie worth it is when a child’s eyes light up and when they can relate to a character. Moments like that are what Disney does, and these live-action remakes are another way of bringing hope and excitement for all ages.