Disney has launched it’s new campaign to make a lump sum of money with as little effort as possible by remaking all their classic animated movies into live-action/cg atrocities. Here is why this is unacceptable.
I don’t mean to sound so scathing but being an animation fan and animator myself, I took this to heart. I mean, this is a low blow to all the quality animation and unique storytelling that Disney had worked so hard to maintain over 75 years. Now to going back to the well to reiterate every original (or not original) story for the sake of getting butts in theatre seats is just doing a disservice to the creators and the fans themselves.
What is so effective about telling a story through live action that can’t be done through animation, if not even more effectively? There is a charm, a life to 2d animation. Animation has an uncanny way of making characters come to life, allowing its audience to sympathize with them. Design ideas are endless – the characters can be anyone or anything, they can even be invertebrates made of jell-o and you will still find an audience that is able to relate to them.
The problem with live action is that you’re never going to be able to convey a sense of wonder or magic without having to introduce flat, lifeless CG elements. Casting your characters to fit an already specific role can be a problem as well – how many people were disappointed or downright outraged when Emma Watson was announced for the role of Belle in the new Beauty and the Beast? How many were stoked? However you feel about her, you will never see “Belle”, you will always see Emma Watson.
Another infuriating fact about these movies is that the original captivating soundtracks are altered to the point of being unrecognizable or omitted completely from production. Literally the final and most charming part of these original movies is being stripped from these remakes to be replaced by some temp track that the director threw in during editing. But even if the director stays true to the soundtrack and manages to recapture the charm and beauty of the original we are left asking “What is the point?”
The sole purpose of watching this becomes essentially fulfilling the fantasy of Emma Watson playing Belle or Donald Glover playing Simba (yea, this is a thing. Donald Glover is somehow playing a lion cub). And after we went and spent upwards of $12 on our movie ticket to see this we are predictably left with a hollow feeling. Perhaps some folks were satisfied enough to put the experience out of their minds and never think about it again. Maybe even your small child got a kick out of it. But absolutely no one is blown away and no one is as enchanted as the first time they went to see Disney’s The Beauty and the Beast animated.
Nothing can compare to experiencing the original Disney movie and why should we even try to? Moviegoers want to argue “Well, it wasn’t so bad!” or “It was pretty good”. But is that all we want from our movies from now on? Are we willing to settle for “not so bad” or “pretty good” when it comes to fantasy storytelling? Do we want our future generations to remember Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as some lazy corporate scheme to make money?
Are we willing to let 2d animation become a lost art and die? Well I for one am not. If we want more from our media we need to take the power into our own hands and vote with our wallets. Hit these studios where it counts and stop watching rehashed garbage!
The animated classics are timeless and hopefully they will continue to stand the test of time while all these cheap remakes are forgotten.
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