Has Disney entirely run out of ideas? Are there no more creative writers? Or are they just desperate to squeeze another buck from our nostalgia? You can answer that one for yourself.
Reboots are certainly not a new thing for Disney, and the announcements of a live action Lion King and reboot of Jumanji threaten yet more of our treasured memories. To this day every time I get handed a baby I fight the urge to present it to the Savannah whilst doing my best impression of Rafiki. It’s childish and strange, but I can’t go a week without saying ‘Hakuna Matata’. All of these associations work because they were part of the magic of being a child, so I can’t fault Disney for seeing the business opportunity available. But just because you can do something to turn a profit, doesn’t always mean you should.
It doesn’t matter who has been lined up to voice the characters, it won’t be the same. Subtle changes to storylines will be ripped apart by anyone over the age of 12, and the limitations of live action will cripple moments of what should be pure emotion. Hand drawn animations give animals the potential to high five each other, or smile, or cry with those big and all too human eyes. Simple animations engage the viewers’ imaginations to fill in the gaps, whereas newer, more advanced computer animation styles test only the imagination of the creator. Progress doesn’t win, the viewer just loses.
What irks though isn’t the change in format, it’s the obsession with putting a new coat of paint on classics. This is not a new move and reboots of Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book and Cinderella have done well. Despite this the critical response has been the same; a sad shrug and lasting disappointment. But the profits will be huge, so who really cares about the poisoning of our nostalgic fantasies? Certainly not Disney.
(Image courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures)