The live action remake of Disney’s Aladdin is out (very) soon and we’ve already had The Lion King and Dumbo. Is Disney trying to cash in on old success or is this just another way of retelling an old story?
THE live action remake of the hit film, Aladdin, is due out very soon but with all these remakes of old classics is Disney trying to recreate its former success or is it just new ways of retelling old stories?
Let me give you an example, and don’t worry I’m not going to give anything away here. In the original version of Aladdin, we had the eight main characters; Aladdin, Jasmine, The Sultan, Jaffar, Iago, Genie and Abu though he was a non-verbal and just make noises. In the new version there are two new characters who weren’t in the original; a maid who is also Jasmine’s friend and a confidant, and a potential suitor. Also, in this version we had a back-story of Jaffar so we got to know a bit more about him and where he’s coming from.
Here’s another example, The Lion King. Apart from James Earl Jones being the only member of the original cast to return they introduced a new character who wasn’t in the original version. And two of the Hyenas had their names changed.
Now if you had asked me about this when the very first live-action remake of a Disney classic came out, like many I would have asked why they couldn’t come up with something original. Also, I would have gone to see if to see if I liked it and whether it had anything even remotely new on the earlier version. However, another way of looking at this whole thing is by merely viewing it as another way of telling a story but from a different angle and by adding new characters and seeing what they bring to the fore.
Let’s step away from Disney for a moment and focus on another remake; Carrie.
Originally released in 1976 it was the infamous story by horror writer, Stephen King, and told the story or a young teenage girl called Carrie White. A social outcast who suffers bullying and abuse from her mentally unstable mother and spiteful peers, discovers her telekinetic abilities and uses them to exact her revenge. In the original, Sissy Spacek, played Carrie, and she was 26 when it was made and did remain somewhat faithful to the book. Fast forward to 2016, Chloe Grace-Moretz took on the part. Now in this version a different perspective is shown. Chloe was the age of the character, 15, mobile phones are used, Carrie channels her powers through her hands and in the legendary prom scene she destroys much of the town.
I admit I’ve never read the book though I have read the plot online, I’ve seen both versions in their entirety and enjoyed them both. Now whilst the 1976 version follows the book to a degree the remake, though set in a more contemporary setting, actually follows the book more closely. Though neither version is truly faithful both films told their take on the story in their own individual way.
Also, I preferred the new version more but that’s because I felt it had more going for it in terms of how the plot was dealt with.
Another example of a remake I can give you is the t.v series, Charmed, and American show about witchcraft. Now I openly admit I enjoyed both though I did find some of the plot lines somewhat predictable. In the first version you had three sisters, all white and white their individual powers. After the 3rd series one of the sisters was killed off and replaced with a half-sister. Fast forward to this new version a couple of the changes are that the sisters are of ethnic minority and one is a lesbian. Now I know that many people will have complained about this but I see it as another way of telling a story but from a new, fresh perspective complete with different settings.
What I find both understanding, as much as I find predictable, is that whenever film companies or t.v producers decide to do remakes of well-known films and shows many people complain. Lack of creativity, no imagination, trying to cash in again on old success? or should we try and view this as another way of telling the same story but from a different perspective, with newer characters, different settings complete with edgier approaches.
Now I admit that I quite like remakes, but then again that is because I am going compare it to the original and see if the hype is still the same and whether it lives up to the expectations of the first one.