When You Wish Upon A Star, You Don’t Get What You Want



Akshita Nair, Staff Writer

Ah, Disney, the good old movie production business that never fails to wow us. Or does it? It’s not to say that Disney is failing us, but with every live-action movie that the company puts out, it starts to feel a little repetitive for viewers. Getting a few live-action movies coming out now and then would be fine, but spewing one out every other year is hard for audiences to keep up with or get excited about. Disney is so intent on giving their live-action remakes their main focus that dedicated audiences are left unsatisfied and newer fans are unimpressed.

While we love revisiting the classics, we’re perfectly content with viewing them in in their original animated form, which also brings along a nice sprinkle of nostalgia. Not to say that the newbies are bad, but CGI Simba will never beat the cute animated little cub we saw in 1994. When Disney does produce remakes, they try to justify their production by changing the plot slightly and saying that it is reimagined, but the changes only go so far. If they change too little, it’s often not enough for the viewers, and if they change too much, they take away from the original feeling from the movie. It’s a lose-lose situation on both sides. For example, in the upcoming live-action remake of Mulan that will be released in March 27, 2020, fans of the original were outraged at the new changes. First, the beloved characters of Li Shang, the general and love-interest of Mulan, and Mushu, Mulan’s hilarious mentor dragon, were written out of the script and replaced. This was especially disappointing since Li Shang was seen as a bisexual icon since he fell in love with Mulan both when she revealed herself to be a woman and also while she played her alter ego “Ping”. Disney is also taking out one of the main elements that make Disney what it is: songs. Fans were enraged that they’d have to part with fan favorites such as I’ll Make a Man Out Of You and Reflection. Fans elicited a similar response when Disney autotuned Emma Watson’s voice in the live-action version of  the Beauty and the Beast movie. While it’s known that Watson doesn’t have the most “sing-songy” voice, it doesn’t alleviate the problem by auto-tuning her voice to the point of unrecognition. Instead, they could have replaced her voice with someone else’s who sounds similar to her. This technique was used in the 1997 animated film Anastasia, where the speaking voice and the singing voice for the main character, Anastasia, were played by two different people. Many fans were also disappointed because the film seemed like a shot-for-shot remake of the classic animated movie and brought nothing new to the table. While the movie itself wasn’t bad, it didn’t quite live up to the hype around it pre-release.  

In the relatively recent reboot of the Star Wars franchise with the movie The Force Awakens (2015), a plethora of fans felt underwhelmed as they saw many similarities in the film with the original 1997 film, Star Wars: A New Hope. In both movies, there were a scrappy group of rebels, an evil Nazi-based Empire, a “Death Star-ish” space station, a planet getting blown up by the space station, rebels blowing up the Death Star, a secret plan that’s hidden in a droid, an old mentor figure that dies, an antagonist that’s somewhat related to the old mentor figure, protagonist who lives on a desert planet—the similarities are uncanny. Hardcore Star Wars fans were mostly disappointed in the new reboot seeing as it didn’t contain any new material, but rather copied straight from its predecessor. If a movie doesn’t try anything new, what is it bringing to the table?

It wouldn’t be so bad if Disney would release original films consecutively and a live-action film every once in a while. If that was the case, the viewers would be a lot more excited to watch the remakes. However, with the constant release of these movies, audiences only get more fed-up and disappointed every time they enter the movie theater. If Disney continues with its monotonous streak of putting out live-action remakes of classics, their fanbase will cease to exist, or at the very least be discouraged to attend the cinema.