With the success of Aladdin fresh in its shareholders’ minds and the impending floods of people heading to multiplexes to see The Lion King, it’s not a crazy thought that Disney might look at what else is available in its animated back catalog to give the live action treatment.
There are just short of 60 animated movies to choose from if we only go on the official releases from Walt Disney Animation Studios and not any of the questionable sequels. And you only have to look at the MCU and its merchandising tie-ins or Star Wars and the latest addition to Disneyland in Galaxy’s Edge to know that Disney isn’t one to miss the chance to maximize its properties.
So with that in mind, here are five Disney Animated Classics we think should get a live-action remake - and five that definitely shouldn’t.
10 Should: Pocahontas
The fact that it’s a fan favorite of many millennial Disney fans and because it has several relevant political and societal undertones; Pocahontas could be well positioned for a remake.
Maybe it wouldn't be a musical affair like Aladdin but the story would certainly lend itself to a much more dramatic retelling with a powerful message for young women - not dissimilar to Jasmine’s new role in Guy Ritchie’s movie. It wouldn’t be out of the realms of a director like Wonder Woman’s Patty Jenkins, a director that knows how to deliver awesome female characters that have much more to them than the typical Disney Princess.
9 Shouldn’t: Home on the Range
Home On The Range isn’t on the ‘shouldn’t’ list just because a live action version wouldn’t work, it’s that the movie was so forgettable that nobody would care if it was remade. The movie wasn’t the slightest bit funny and made no sense; it, unfortunately, shows that not everything Disney touches turns to gold and some things should be left that way.
It’s not likely that Disneyland will be soon overflowing with Maggie merchandise. Plus, we’ve already got Babe and you can’t improve on that.
8 Should: Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Certainly considered one of the internet’s most underrated Disney animated movies, Milo’s crew of rogue adventures and the Ulysses Submarine would work really well as a live-action extravaganza.
While we have seen Atlantis recently in last year’s Aquaman, the steampunk-esque visuals of this particular Disney Classic would make for some really special production, costume, and set design. It would, however, need to be handed to a director who knows how to create something visually spectacular with a great deal of style - like Taika Waititi.
7 Shouldn’t: Oliver and Company
While some Disney films are based on old fairy tales or fables, others are abstracts of other well-known literature or stories with their own live-action outings. One of these is Oliver and Company, a quietly popular animated classic that derives its story from the classic musical Oliver!
While there might be the temptation to give this one another lease of life, if nothing else, to allow animators to bring a spirited pack of dogs to life. But Oliver and Company is such a great piece of animation from an era when the medium was not thriving that it should be left untouched, so families can enjoy the film's beauty without feeling like it has been ruined.
6 Should: Fox and The Hound
As CG talking animals become more and more normal to audiences in live action films, who wouldn’t want their hearts absolutely shattered in stunning photoreal 4K? A live action The Fox and The Hound would need to be handed to someone apt at creating almost entirely CG sequences while being capable to evoke emotion from actors who are only providing facial capture or voices. It is far from a simple task.
Providing they can do that, The Fox and The Hound is one of those Disney films that’s a bit older than people think; therefore, a live-action remake would bring it to a new audience. It’s also not an animated film that has too much merchandise constantly on sale, but you have to admit you’d love to see some plush versions of Todd and Copper on sale.
5 Shouldn’t: Peter Pan
Some of Disney’s animated features are just so good that they should not be touched. It’s a well-known idiom that you don’t cover Beatles songs and the same should apply to Peter Pan.
Such a well-known story, even outside of the world of Disney, Peter Pan is a story that’s had several retellings. The world of J.M Barrie’s boy who never grew up is such a well-trodden one that there’s not much else the House of Mouse could add to it to make it any more magical or compelling. While Disney has plans to release a live-action remake helmed by David Lowery, it would need to be something truly special to wipe away the memories of recent travesties like Pan.
4 Should: Hercules
This most definitely wouldn't be a musical, but a live-action Hercules should without a doubt be entertaining. Obviously, we would need to collectively forget what the Rock did back in 2014; once that's done, we can all get on board with a Disney-driven Hercules, one complete with comedy pratfalls and completely bonkers fight scenes.
Disney would need to do what they’ve done with The Lion King and recast Danny Devito as Phil because no one else can do that job. With regards to the titular demigod, you could even see someone like Chris Evans’ taking this on as his next project following Captain America's departure from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
3 Shouldn’t: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Watching Quasimodo ringing the bells and pining after Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame is - even all these years later - a dark affair by Disney’s animated standards. The story is such that any live-action remake would need to be much darker than the fun lively remakes we’ve seen recently.
The brutal mockery of the main character, the unflinching evil of the antagonist Frollo and the fact that the movie ends with a tragic event involving fire that the world has literally just witnessed are just three of the reasons that the time isn’t right for a live-action outing of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
2 Should: Princess and The Frog
Disney’s return to hand-drawn animation in 2009’s The Princess and The Frog is a completely underrated Disney Classic. Its songs are catchy and upbeat, it’s the story of a go-getting character who works really hard to achieve her dream and it’s got a singing alligator. Frankly, Disney should have already greenlit this live-action remake.
Plus, Tiana was Disney’s first black princess and she’s a popular go-to for many visitors to Disneyland, so why not bring that to the live action screen and give young women even more great role models?!
1 Shouldn’t: Fun and Fancy Free
There’s one character that’s in charge of the lot. He is a character that appears in several Disney Animated Classics, one of them being the unrelentingly enjoyable Fun and Fancy Free. However, there is one thing that would be unforgivable. One thing Disney should attempt to do. Nobody wants to see a live-action Mickey Mouse.
Mickey Mouse is an icon that has a special meaning to a lot - if not most - people on the planet. But he’s one that works just fine in 2D, at the very most 3D. Could you ever imagine seeing Disney's big boss in a live-action world, massacred like Sonic the Hedgehog was on the verge of being? No, thank you.