Recently, many people have experienced a window of nostalgia into the late 1990s when they have visited the cinema. Disney has continued their trend of remaking old animated movies into live-action films such as Maleficent, Cinderella, Jungle Book, and Beauty and the Beast. Just this past summer The Lion King and Aladdin, were added to the list, recapturing the imagination of audiences worldwide. The Lion King, released in July, was remade with photorealistic computer animations. The majority of the movie was kept faithful to the original, but small adjustments were made due to time constraints. Many fans celebrated the return of James Earl Jones as the voice of Mufasa. The movie helped to bring back nostalgic sentiments in many adults who watched the animated movie nearly twenty years ago in cinemas and Broadway shows.
“I was amazed by how realistic the animation of the film looked, said Andrew Choi (11). “It seemed so real with the jungle and facial expressions of the lions.”
Likewise, Aladdin was remade into a live-action movie. Contrary to The Lion King, however, Aladdin has made significant changes to its story and soundtrack and has become considerably modernized. By including many popular artists such as DJ Khaled, ZAYN, and Zhavia Ward along with many traditional tracks from the original movie, the film has been adjusted to better reflect the current pop culture scene that adheres more to modern teenagers. The storyline has also been edited, with the addition of a secondary plot in which Princess Jasmine is shown fighting for recognition by clashing with the gender norms of her society. This change in the plot has led to the addition of songs such as “Speechless,” which emphasized the theme of feminism within the movie.
“The most memorable scene in the movie was when Princess Jasmine turned away from the soldiers to persuade Hakim to protect the people of Agrabah,” said Yewon Chu (12). “My favorite song in the whole movie also happens to be the song that she sung during this scene, “Speechless,” since the meaning behind the song really struck me emotionally.”
However, the remake of The Lion King and Aladdin received not only praise but also backlash. Many criticized the poor quality of the remakes and declared that they preferred the original films. Since the original version of The Lion King was viewed as a masterpiece, even the slightest adjustments in the new version of the film caused irritation from many critics. The Lion King was also denounced for its lack of varied facial expressions, compared to the original animation. On the other hand, “Aladdin” caused controversy with problems related to Orientalism and racist depictions of the Arabian culture.
“I’ve really enjoyed the remakes so far, unlike some of my friends,” said Asuka Kurebayashi (10). “I recently heard that Mulan was also going to be remade. I can’t wait to see what stays the same and what changes in this new film. I’ll patiently await March 27, 2020.”
However despite the controversies, The Lion King has beaten Disney Remake Box Office and Aladdin had successfully surpassed the billions with $1.043 billion at the international box office, according Forbes magazine. Due to Disney’s remake successes, they are planning new live-action movies in the future.