Live action Disney movies are fast becoming as common as the animated versions, it’s not unusual for a Disney Classic, Disney Pixar and live action to follow each other in quick succession.
This year, Jungle Book has burst onto our screens with computer generated characters, an actor (Neel Seth) playing the part of Mowgli and not a dancing Baloo or King Louie in sight. Aside from Mowgli’s father (Ritesh Rajan), all other characters are voiced by actors, but there is a distinct difference between the Disney animated classic and the 2016 film.
Maleficent was the 2014 effort, an unusual take on Sleeping Beauty where by the villain of the piece was a subject of pity. Almost completely live action bar some computer generated imagery, the bar was beginning to be set for a new take on Disney’s favourites. Cinderella similarly followed suit with Downton Abbey actress, Lily James playing the fallen girl in rags. Again, there were some effects added including lizards and mice, but otherwise, the actors were at the heart of the film. Pete’s Dragon is set to become a live action film, the original having previously been a part live action, part animated movie.
Begging the question, is this the future for all Disney films? Theatre-goers have been treated to live versions of The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and on Broadway The Little Mermaid and Aladdin (soon to commence a West End run) have also been staged.
Animation has changed since the early days of the original films like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, which were released in in 1950 and 1959 respectively, and Disney Pixar has also paved the way for a different future for Disney movies. However, are the days of part animated, part live action behind us? Are the styles used in Enchanted and Who Framed Roger Rabbit never to be repeated? My personal view is that re-making popular classics is an innovative way of bringing the stories up to date, whilst not stealing the limelight from the animated versions that we all grew up with and love.
Maleficent, the latest version of Cinderella and now, Jungle Book are among some of my all-time favourites and have a place in my heart with the golden oldies. Live action Disney movies? Bring them on, say I, Walt would be proud!
Featured photo courtesy of Wikipedia