Disney is steadily working its way thorough its animated classics library, bringing them back to life as live-action remakes and reimaginings - but how do they all rank against each other? So far, each of the Disney remakes have been mostly well-received, with some arguably improving upon the originals. Now it's the turn of Aladdin
One of Disney's best-loved animated movies, Aladdin retells the classic fairytale, with a bit of Disney magic thrown in. First released in 1992, Aladdin became the highest grossing animated movie of all time upon its release, and won two Academy Awards. The fourth Disney movie released during what became known as the renaissance era, Aladdin instantly became ingrained in popular culture, thanks largely to Robin Williams' vocal performance as Genie. His role, which was mostly improvised, paved the way for well known actors to lend their voices to animated characters. The new, 2019 version follows the same tale as the original, but with a few added twists and turns. Starring Naomi Scott as Jasmine, Mena Massoud as Aladdin and Will Smith as Genie, how will a live action Aladdin fare in our list?
With so many Disney live-action remakes now released, will Aladdin soar above them all, or sink without a trace? Below, we've ranked all the Disney live-action remakes so far, from worst to best, including Aladdin.
10. Alice Through the Looking Glass
Although not strictly a remake, since this is the only version of this movie, Alice Through the Looking Glass is included here because it's a sequel to Burton's 2010 Alice in Wonderland. It's also easily the worst movie of Disney's live-action adaptation trend. Released in 2016, Alice Through the Looking Glass was produced by Burton and directed by James Bobin. Virtually all of the Alice in Wonderland cast reprise their roles, including Mia Wasikowaska as Alice, Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, and Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen. While the movie is visually impressive, and Burton's hallmark is clear, the storytelling is weak and directionless, and the movie lacks any kind of purpose or punch. Alice Through the Looking Glass did not fare well at the box office, bringing in an estimated $70 million loss for Disney.
Released in 2014, Maleficent was Disney's live-action take on Sleeping Beauty, one of its oldest classics. Directed by Robert Stromberg, Maleficent stars Angelina Jolie as the wicked fairy, but the story of Sleeping Beauty is told from her perspective, with a smart twist on the notion of true love's kiss. Maleficent's place on this list isn't because it's a bad movie; on the contrary, it's an enjoyable enough story, cleverly told, and Jolie plays the misunderstood fairy excellently. In fact, Maleficent has proven itself worthy of a sequel, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, which is set to be released in October 2019. However, it's not as impressive as Disney's other movies. This is because as good as Jolie is, if it wasn't for her performance, Maleficent wouldn't be nearly as good.
8. Pete's Dragon
Pete's Dragon released in 2016; a live-action remake of the 1977 live-action/animated hybrid musical. Directed by David Lowery, starring Robert Redford, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Oakes Fegley, Pete's Dragon wasn't musical, but it was arguably a significant improvement on the original. A beautiful story with real heart, Pete's Dragon was well-received by critics but didn't really set the box office alight. In part, that was owing to the fact that the original movie hadn't been a massive hit either. Regardless, the movie was a financial success owing to its modest budget.
7. Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland was Tim Burton's first foray into live-action Disney remakes, and it worked well. Burton assembled an all-star cast, including Johnny Depp, Alan Rickman, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Stephen Fry, and Michael Sheen, among others. His vivid imagination and talent for dark, twisted storytelling is a perfect match for the whimsical story told by Lewis Carroll, which Burton loosely weaved into his movie. Alice in Wonderland was a huge hit at the box office, becoming the second biggest movie of 2010 (behind Toy Story 3), and while it wasn't the first Disney live-action remake, its success then paved the way for Disney to remake nearly all of its classics. A visual treat, Alice in Wonderland is an enthralling watch, but it does sacrifice a lot of Carroll's original novel leaving the resulting movie often incoherent at times.
In Dumbo, Burton took on the rather unenviable task of embellishing Disney's shortest, but one of its best-loved, classics. Dumbo is an adorable baby elephant and his story of triumphing over all his fears and insecurities and learning to fly is a heartwarming tale. However, Burton needed to significantly add to the story; not only for it to be longer, but also to effectively tell an entertaining enough story when the main character is entirely mute.
For the most part, Burton achieved this well. Dumbo himself is cute as a button, and you can't help but root for him. Danny DeVito and Michael Keaton are both fantastic as shrewd circus owners, and Burton's visuals are a feast for the eyes. But it's a predictable tale right from the outset, and Burton's love for darkness means that some scenes are particularly upsetting for children.
Page 2 of 2: The Top 4 Disney Live-Action Remakes
- Aladdin (2019) release date: May 24, 2019