Enchantment. It’s the first word that always comes to mind when I think of my earliest experiences watching Walt Disney films. From my early love for Sleeping Beauty to my later obsession with The Little Mermaid and Beauty & the Beast, Disney animation has captured my heart and taken residence with my soul. Sharing that love with my children was a goal from my earliest onset in motherhood and Disney’s current trajectory with the reimagining of their classics into live action films has brought many of my favorites to the newer generation.
As my children grow they have begun to crave that more human connection that live action films offer. A fuller imagining of fantasy and fairy tales that allows the audience to feel as if they could be a part of the story is what live action versions of the Disney classics has given us.
As Broadway took the Wizard of the Oz and converted it to a stage phenomenon with the adaptation of Gregory Maguire’s Wicked, audiences were given a taste of how stories can have more than one viewpoint. Disney took this direction when they introduced the Maleficent movie starring Angelina Jolie as the iconic villain of all villains from Sleeping Beauty. We were gifted an explanation of what caused a fairy to curse an innocent child, and it offered children a look at how the actions of others impact our feelings and actions. It made the villain that once haunted my dreams as a little girl, more human, more understandable.
As the success of such movies has gained more and more momentum, Disney has produced multiple remakes of their classics, including Cinderella, Beauty & the Beast, Mulan, and even the CGI masterpieces, The Jungle Book & The Lion King directed by the incredible Jon Favreau. As these wonders continue to enchant children and adults alike, Disney has set its sights on more. Releasing this Friday the reimagining of 101 Dalmatians with Cruella starring Emma Stone as the fashionable villain Cruella de Vil, Disney is giving us more backstory to the beloved puppy drama.
They aren’t stopping here, however, or rather thankfully! We have several classics coming to us that are sure to reawaken our love for the Disney classics even further, with the long anticipated live action version of The Little Mermaid, my daughter’s favorite, but also Pinocchio and Peter Pan.
Pinocchio, set to star the beloved Tom Hanks (who has already played the man himself, Mr. Walt Disney) as Geppetto, is sure to be a spectacular event. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is set to star as our voice of reason, our embodiment of conscience, Jiminy Cricket, with Luke Evan’s making it into another live action Disney role after his role as Gaston in 2017’s Beauty & the Beast, as the Coachman. Disney is aiming for another smash, which is definitely within their grasp with a cast like this.
As my children and I gear up to be fascinated and in love with another round of fantastically real versions of the movies we do love, I wonder what we will do when they run out of those fabulous classics. Thankfully we have some time before that dilemma presents itself. So stay tuned with Disney and their ever expanding catalog of live action remakes for the newer generation. The fantasy doesn’t end here, with Disney it’s ever evolving and constant, as it should be.