We’ve already received an abundance of Disney live-action remakes and they aren’t slowing down anytime soon. Thanks to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, Disney execs and the entertainment industry at large went “Ya don’t say?!” and made sure to get a ton of these moving down the pipeline. In 2016, we received this mega-hit The Jungle Book, warranting a sequel (?) and an announced “live-action” remake of The Lion King from Jon Favreau (??), along with the moderate hit of Pete’s Dragon (which, if you haven’t seen, is one of the best movies of the year).
I am, personally, a big fan of them, as they don’t hurt the original film’s legacy (If one more person goes “They’re ruining my childhood,” I’m going to smack them and yell “They didn’t burn every copy ever made of the original. It’s still there! Stop whining! AHHHH *jumps into creek*) and they have all been rather stunning and beautifully done.
Now, as talks begin for the oodles of remakes heading our way as far as behind the scenes choices and on-screen talent are concerned, I’ve thought that some pairings are simple no-brainers. On top of that, some obvious live-action remake choices haven’t been discussed at all, which I find truly shocking. I don’t truly understand why some of these haven’t been brought up in the rumor mill, as they just make sense. Here’s hoping that any of the following come to fruition over the next year.
- Mulan – Now, this may be my most anticipated film for the future. I am a hardcore Mulan fan in general (She’s in my Top 3 of Disney Princesses. Yes, I have an official ranking of Disney Princesses. Stop hating.), but knowing that we are getting a live-action Disney war movie with a female protagonist brightens every feminist and movie-loving fiber of my being. I can just see the film now with the same grit that the poster promised us and kind of, sort of achieved. Which, is not to say the animated film is bad, as it is rather gorgeous. As far as the pairing goes, the film has yet to hire a director, and I believe Mira Nair would be a fantastic choice. If you haven’t seen her incredible work on this year’s Queen of Katwe, I urge you to check it out. She understands how to embrace a story’s culture and allow it to thrive through gorgeous cinematography. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing her work could be on the action sequences of this film.
- Cruella – This film, an origin story of the woman who “‘ought to be locked up and never released,” is set to star Emma Stone as we find out what made her obsessed with killing puppies. Arguably one of the best Disney villains of all-time, this movie should be incredibly fun and interesting. Alex Timbers (director of the fabulously underrated musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) has been tapped to direct, but Tom Ford is a choice that needs to happen. The acclaimed fashion designer also has a highly regarded directing career with his two films, A Single Man (available on Netflix, one of the most gorgeous pieces of film I’ve ever watched) and the new release Nocturnal Animals, earning him critics love and many accolades. Cruella’s motives are all based on fashion, so why not have an actual designer help to make the film look and feel like a Vogue cover photo. I yearn for this.
- Peter Pan – David Lowery, who directed 2016’s aforementioned Pete’s Dragon, will be directing this remake, which is coming out in some very choppy waters. Peter Pan tales have become very tired in today’s current landscape. Pan, this past year’s origin story, was a huge box office flop. Audiences are sick of “the boy who never grew up”, so Disney better have some good ideas to make this work (Maybe make Peter not the worst and avoid racism?). While making it a musical is a necessity, frankly, for getting audiences involved (It seems that Disney’s 1953 animated classic is the only version people want, nothing else as of late), a few key casting choices can make all the difference. Tinkerbell should go to the always delightful Gina Rodriguez (of The CW’s Jane the Virgin) first and foremost. Her acting chops are impeccable in her starring role on the dramedy telenovela. With the slightest facial expression, she can portray a myriad of emotions. So, as Tink is quiet the whole movie, bringing and comedic and dramatic powerhouse to the role would be huge.
- Pinocchio – Peter Hedges, who wrote the underrated The Odd Life of Timothy Green, will be adapting the classic story with an emphasis on the father/son relationship (Sorry, Stromboli). Now, I think this could be super interesting and well done, if the right people are on board. Jacob Tremblay seems like the most delightful choice for the puppet who just wants to be a real boy, but times a wastin’ and he isn’t getting any younger. However, Michael Peña as Geppetto would be a revaluation. First off, this man deserves every single leading role that comes his way. On top of that, being able to be light-hearted and emotional are traits he has greatly shown off in other films (Hello, The Martian anyone?!) and this would be a great role for him.
- Pocahontas – No, this has not been announced *sigh*, but as someone who is obsessed with this film, its music, and its titular hero, I can only hope that this announcement is near. In this time where studios are, happily, trying to diversify their entertainment to feature a wider variety of human beings, Native American stories haven’t come up that often. There are problems with the animated film, I understand that, but taking away the weird “You can now speak English” winds would do wonders for the story and build-up. Roger Deakins, cinematographer extraordinaire, would do wonders for this film. As the animated film did so well, the world is lush with color, and some of Roger’s best work comes out when he utilizes color (EX: the lantern scene in Skyfall still takes my breath away). I dream about what he could do with a “Colors of the Wind” sequence.
- The Rescuers – Again, this has not been announced, but doesn’t this seem like an obvious choice? Two mice, working at the UN’s secret Rescue Aid Society, save kids across the globe from horrendous circumstances. Why not bring this to the big screen in a delightful crime-fighting franchise for families? Paul Feig, accomplished director of comedies, could bring a steady hand to this possible franchise. He gets the best out of his performers, but on top of that, has shown to film some stunning action sequences (Spy is not only hilarious but just a great action film on top of it.) This could be the surprise hit of the Disney cannon if they played their cards right. But like, also include this song ’cause I love it.
I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments for perfect film pairings. Until then, I’ll be crying as I wait for Beauty and the Beast to be released.