MovieBob - Intermission
5 Animated Disney Movies That Would Make Big Live-Action Successes

Bob Chipman | 21 Nov 2014 12:00
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Let's be blunt. The Little Mermaid is well-remembered as the start of Disney's 90s Renaissance. It has a great villain, some catchy songs and gorgeous animation. But it's also the feature from that era most-often picked apart for being "problematic:" The heroine is shallow and kind of a dumb brat (who doesn't really learn or grow at all throughout the story), the scenario is actually creepier with the original tale's darker edges sanded off... eh, look, Lindsay Ellis explains it better than I can.

So yeah, this could probably do with a reimagining in live-action (another animated film would be seen as trying to "replace" the classic). Don't do the doomed-to-fail stuff like trying to re-stage the musical numbers (in fact, just don't do musical numbers) or go to the dark places the original story did: just find a new way through some of the more discordant elements while giving audience's live-action renditions of the big moments they remember.

It's not even like "underwater fantasy epics" are an oversaturated niche -- at this point you'd basically be competing with this still-unreleased Chinese-produced monstrosity and that Aquaman movie I still don't fully expect Warner Bros to actually make.

History time: Disney spent decades trying to figure out how to turn either The Hobbit, The Lord of The Rings or both into an animated feature before finally having to give up in the late-70s. Instead, they turned their attention to Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydian series, resulting in The Black Cauldron -- an ambitious, expensive film whose dark tone and unprecedented (for Disney) animated violence turned it into a box office failure that divided the studio and tarnished its reputation for a decade.

Might be worth taking another shot, though. Prydian's Welsh-inspired High Fantasy shenanigans lend themselves better to live-action, and a feature that could conceivably be pitched as "Harry Potter" meets "Game of Thrones" certainly sounds saleable to me...

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