In 2019, almost all of the traditional Disney films set for release are going to be live action remakes of animated classics, the main exception being sequel Frozen 2, proving that there is little originality left in the House of Mouse.
We saw Disney begin their live action crusade back in 2014 with Maleficent, and it continued with Cinderella, The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast. Meanwhile, it has been three years since their last original animation film, Moana, came out. The animation process certainly takes longer than it does to put together a live action film, but this does not excuse the fact that the remake is often not able to live up to the standards of the original, instead seemingly only serving to fill time and make a profit. The recent Aladdin trailer seems to indicate that this trend is set to continue for a while yet.
For some, these remakes won’t be an issue. Any Disney is good Disney, right? Yet suggesting that what we want out of film companies is a constant stream of remakes and sequels means we lose out on newer concepts and ideas. The Walt Disney Company takes fewer risks by going with what they know, and this safe film-making increases the time between original content and spreads out staff and resources that could be going towards making the next big animated hit. In both the golden age of Disney animation and the Disney Renaissance we saw new, original Disney animated films almost annually, yet when Disney released their schedule for 2019 and beyond, we saw a huge amount of remakes, and very few original animated films. Disney may be bigger than just animation nowadays, but it is still at the core of what makes Disney so beloved.
None of this is to say that these live-action films are bad, as often films like Beauty and the Beast have stunning cinematography and can be good on their own merit. But to say that what we want in future films are remakes and sequels is to say we are tired of originality. Why should Disney and other studios always rely on past successes when this could mean we miss out on some truly amazing new films?
A remake here and there is not a bad thing, but when almost all the films coming out this year fall into that category, surely enough is enough?