Disney sure is committed to remaking every animated feature, aren’t they?
In the next few years alone, we’re getting live-action remakes or reboots of Mulan, Aladdin, The Lion King and (ugh) Dumbo. At least one of them promises to be a shot-for-shot re-do of the animated film because there’s nothing Millennials love more than seeing the same thing over and over again, I guess.
I’ve aired my grievances about the live-action remake trend before (short version: Cinderella good, Beauty and the Beast bad). But the more I see Disney announce the endless onslaught of remakes, the more I think of the films I would actually want to see Disney make (since it’s unlikely that my primary demand of reviving Touchstone Pictures is going to happen):
A live-action remake of Atlantis: The Lost Empire:
2001’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a weird little entry in the Disney animated canon. As much as I appreciate it for what it’s trying to do, it ranks extremely low on my list of Disney films. Atlantis was yet another failed experiment in Disney-Animation-tries-to-do-an-action-movie.
Then, why would a live-action remake actually work? For one, nobody cares about Atlantis. The original isn’t a cult film or an unfairly maligned classic. It’s a below-average Disney movie that most people don’t remember ever seeing (and based on the box office numbers, not many people did 🤷♀).
The problem with remaking a beloved classic like Beauty and the Beast or The Lion King is, people (me) are going to be comparing it to the original and all the ways it falls short. This can be avoided the same way Disney avoided it before with Pete’s Dragon — remake a movie that nobody cares about and actually improve upon it.
Stretch it out for two hours so the story actually had time to make sense. Cut out the unnecessary characters. Hell, make it PG-13! You can totally do that, Disney. You own Marvel.
(Also, I’ll see any movie if you throw in a Michael J. Fox cameo.)
An adaptation of Aida:
I feel like even less people remember or care about Aida. Aida remains the only Disney Broadway show not to be based off of a pre-existing Disney property. Instead, it was a rock musical adaptation of the classic opera with songs by Elton John and Tim Rice. The musical had a pretty successful run (plus a few Tonys), and rumours had been going around in the 2000s about a film adaptation.
The adaptation obviously hasn’t happened yet. And it might actually be for the best? At least, the 2000s-version of Aida would probably not work today. Aida takes place in Egypt and Nubia. Who did Disney get to play the Egyptians on stage? Two of the white actors from RENT. Call it a reverse-Hamilton?
But hey, we know better today! Cast Rami Malek as your Egyptian romantic lead! He’s doing that Freddie Mercury movie so that means he can sing. Get a visionary director (aka Not Bill Condon). I want to see some Prince of Egypt-level gorgeousness in the sets. I want to hear those Elton John-composed songs in glorious 4k.
Always more Muppets.
Remember Muppet Treasure Island and Muppet Christmas Carol? How about Muppet Twelfth Night. Muppet Cyrano de Bergerac. Muppet Dangerous Liasons.
Speaking of Treasure Island:
There’s a good Treasure Island remake in you somewhere, Disney. Not Treasure Island in Space. Just a completely straight Treasure Island remake with some prestige actors.
But seriously, also revive Touchstone Pictures:
Think about it: Three Men and a Baby starring all three Hemsworthes and directed by Taika Waititi.