Aladdin, The Lion King, Dumbo: How to Succeed in a Live Action Remake of a Disney Classic

The great Disney classics have been given new life with new versions updated and visible on Disney+.

By successfully casting

Their super buddies Marvel Cinematic Universe know it well: a good Disney is above all a good casting, finding the perfect actor or actress to embody a legendary character. The stroke of genius of the new Aladdin ? Hire a Will Smith in great shape to embody the Genie, and therefore find another comic style, obviously more physical and sexier than that of Robin Williams. That of Lion King and of Dumbo ? Above all, hire two fascinating directors who will be able to imprint their style on the Disney “brand”. The passion of Jon Favreau for photorealistic digital effects, brought to its climax in The Lion King new version, and the love of Tim Burton for the freaks, the dented and the anti-system (a radical discourse incidentally unheard of in a Disney) in the new Dumbo. Casting isn’t just about actors, of course.

Keeping the good songs

Disney magic is also (mostly?) musical magic. Can we redo Aladdin and The Lion King without repeating the hits by Alan Menken, Tim Rice and Elton John? Obviously: no. Already because the musicals (madmen) of Broadway have been able to reinvent them on stage without anyone finding fault – and it is therefore impossible to conceive these universes without their music. Second, because the original musicians were directly involved in the live action remakes (yes, even Hans Zimmer came back for The Lion King) to give a deep polish to classics like Hakuna Matata Where I am your best friend.

By betting on the spectacular

The Lion King 2019, live-action or not ? Completely shot in digital in fact, but that doesn’t change the fact that the film wants to give the appearance of live action, of absolute photorealism and the result is literally colossal. Action sequencesAladdin bear the hallmark of its director, the English Guy Ritchie, who had already quite succeeded in his King Arthur (yes! see it again) in the same genre of popular and uninhibited, radically spectacular fantasy. arriving in town to the sound of Prince Ali, grandiose as a Disneyland parade, is not bad either but less “Ritchian”, let’s say. The flamboyant finale, almost anar, of Dumbo feverishly contrasts with that of the original. All of this goes to show that Disney doesn’t view its live-action remakes as quick-fire, name-driven money machines (orintellectual propertyas we say in theamusement), but many real films with a substantial budget and driven by a real ambition for the spectacular – and therefore for cinema.

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