Ranking the Disney Live-Action Remakes

There’s no denying that remaking past animated films has become a big part of Disney’s film strategy recently. There are no less than 4 re-makes coming out in 2019 alone! That being said, it felt like it was time to visit the remakes and see how successful Disney has been.

Pete’s Dragon (2016)

This remake of the original 1977 animation/live-action hybrid was completely dull. The dragon was neither cute nor cool looking and looked more like a furry lizard. The plot and characters were mostly forgettable, just like the rest of this film.

Alice in Wonderland(2010) & Alice Through the Looking Glass(2016)

The first live-action remake is the film that really kicked off the current modern era of remakes. The original Alice in Wonderland animated film came out in 1951 and was a perfect fit for animation with it’s out of this world characters and settings. The first of the 2 remakes is the better film, but I have lumped them both here together as they have similar problems. They both feature some neat visuals that haven’t aged well, and gimmiky plots that lack much substance.

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

The original Best Picture nominated animated film came out in 1991. Some films really don’t need to be remade, and Beauty and the Beast was one of them. I think I would have rather seen a different take on this particular story, than such a close re-make. The production design is excellent, but some poor casting choices and underwhelming directing hurt the film.

Dumbo (2019)

The flying baby elephant was first seen on screen in 1941. The remake keeps many of the themes of the original film, but introduces new human characters and story line. The result in a mostly enjoyable film that is visually appealing and feels much more modern. Read our Dumbo review here.

Maleficient (2014)

This 2014 film was less of a remake of the 1959 Sleepy Beauty film, but more of a complete re-imagining of the Maleficent character from her point of view. Angelina Jolie was perfectly cast as the titular character. The new film portrayed the character as much more sympathetic than villainous. This type of “hidden” story of Disney characters is a type of remake I’d like to see done more often.

Cinderella (2015)

Now, this is how a modern remake should be. This version of the 1950 classic animated film was charming, entertaining, and well acted by its terrific cast. It still hit all the story beats of the original, but was different enough to feel fresh.

The Jungle Book (2016)

While the original 1967 animated film is loved for its goofy and lovable characters, this remake with its photo realistic animals is downright thrilling. The musical numbers in the middle of the film did feel a little out of place though. As far as the live-action remakes that have been released thus far, The Jungle Book currently sets the bar.

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