‘Pinocchio’ (2022) | Remember ALL Disney live-actions that adapt their classic animations
Pinocchio, a flesh-and-blood (and wooden) version of the 1940 Disney animated classic, is scheduled to premiere on September 8th directly on the studio’s Disney+ platform. the animation Pinocchio was released to the big screen in 1940, and was the studio’s second major animated feature-length theatrical release after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). This makes it the oldest live-action film adaptation to date – as snow White arrives next year in the forms of flesh and blood with Gal Gadot and Rachel Zegler.
Disney’s live-action version of Pinocchio features the star Tom Hanks like inventor Geppetto, and is directed by the prestigious Robert Zemeckiswho directed it in Forrest Gump (1994) and castaway (2004), in addition to having in the curriculum also Back to the future (1985). In other words, the film has plenty of experience. The throwing maneuver Pinocchio direct on Disney+, without going to theaters first, can greatly boost streaming subscriptions. With that in mind and as a way to warm up for this big launch next Thursday, we decided to go over all the times Disney decided to remake its most beloved animations on the big screen with real actors. Check it out below.
Anyone who thinks that flesh-and-blood remakes of classic Disney animations is a thing of the past is wrong. The first one dates back to the beginning of the 90’s. It is about the adaptation of Mowgli – The Wolf Boy (1967) in the form of a more serious and realistic adventure (no talking animals, for example). Other than that, here Mowgli grows up to be an adult, played by Jason Scott Leein a plot reminiscent of a Tarzan movie.
Still in the 90s, this is the movie that everyone remembers as being the first live-action adaptation of a classic Disney animation. What many forget is that before came the “Tarzan” version of Mowgli – The Wolf Boy cited above. Here, of course, we have an accurate version of flesh and blood for 101 Dalmatians (1961), which features a still highly praised interpretation by the veteran Glenn Close in the role of the villain Cruella DeVil, stealing much of the spotlight from the film. It was so successful that Disney pulled a sequel from the role as early as 2000 – thus becoming one of only three Disney live-action films to get a sequel and the only one to get a spin-off.
However 101 Dalmatians was successful in its flesh-and-blood version in 1996, it would take no less than 14 years for Disney to be interested in another live-action of an animated classic from its collection. In the era of new 3D effects brought by avatar (2009) to cinemas, the version of Tim Burton for Alice in Wonderland (1951). And the film definitely took advantage of third-dimensional effects to become one of the biggest hits of the past decade, breaking the $1 billion box office barrier. The plot, however, strayed from animation, which may have frustrated some more nostalgic viewers. That film also spawned a sequel, released in 2016 – which would prove to be a “curse” for Disney’s live-action sequels, which are far inferior to their original.
Like this Alice in Wonderland in Tim Burton, maleficent it’s not exactly an adaptation of a classic Disney cartoon, but rather a subversion of one of them. While Alice showed the protagonist no longer a child, but a young woman in her 20s returning to Wonderland, maleficent take the focus off Sleeping Beauty (iconic animation from 1959) and puts him in the villain of the story – now treated as an anti-heroine. All this because the star Angelina Jolie revealed that Sleeping Beauty It was his favorite Disney movie. Jolie was perfect in the role of the horned witch, but taking into account the saying that “getting better, you spoil”, Maleficent was another live-action that suffered from a much inferior sequel, released in 2019.
In the very following year of maleficent, Disney took another of its classic animations from paper in a flesh-and-blood version. But unlike Alice and maleficentwhich subverted its source material, Cinderella it was a faithful portrayal of the 1950s classic on which it is based. That is, trying as much as possible to be a more sober and realistic story – despite still having fantastic elements, see Fairy Godmother, lived by Helena Bonham-Carter. The film served to reveal to the world the talent and beauty of lily james and still brought Cate Blanchett as the Bad Stepmother, and the direction of Kenneth Branagh.
After the overwhelming successes of Alice in Wonderland and maleficent, the door of this subgenre of the flesh and blood versions of classic Disney animations was opened – and we started to earn at least one a year. In 2016, it was time for the new look of the classic Mowglifrom 1967, which in turn had already been adapted into a sober film and which served as the first of the subgenre at the studio in 1994. Here, however, with the direction of Jon Favreu, we have a work much more faithful to the animation, with the right to a Mogli just like the one in the drawing and, of course, the talking animals. A sequel is announced for 2026, that is, ten years later.
In 2017 there was a paradigm shift in the subgenre. Before, Disney’s goal was to rework its older animations for a new audience – read today’s kids. So we had flesh-and-blood new versions of classics from the 1950s and 1960s, basically. With this item, things changed. It turns out that this subgenre created by Disney was working so well, that the studio decided to put into play one of its biggest and most prestigious animations of all time, Beauty and the Beast (the studio’s first film to receive an Oscar nomination in the main category), from 1991. The Immortal Love Story brought Emma Watson like Bela and Dan Stevens like the beast (entirely CGI generated).
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Here we have one more curious item on the list. Winnie the Pooh (formerly Winnie the Pooh) is one of Disney’s most beloved characters, and as well as symbols of the studio such as Mickey, Donald Duck and Goofy, he starred alongside his gang in a series of cartoons for TV, but also some feature films for the cinema. That is, he is not part of a single outstanding classic animation like the others mentioned above, but is a recurring character in the studio’s universe. Pooh and the other creatures like the piglet named Piglet and the donkey Yo (formerly Eeyore) are actually stuffed animals that come to life through the imagination of boy Christopher Robin. But what happens when the boy becomes a man, gains a family, and the little animals reappear? That’s what this creative live-action with Ewan McGregor in the role of the grown-up boy.
As said, each year Disney tried to release a new live-action of a classic animation of its own. Since 2014 with maleficent, the studio didn’t waste a year without a debut like this. But with the year 2019 would come a true flurry of no less than five films of the subgenre. Dumbo, a film about a circus elephant with big ears who is initially treated as a freak but later learns to fly with them and becomes a real star, was the first to arrive. Here, of course, we have the adaptation of the studio’s oldest animated feature until then, dating from 1941. And for the task, the director was brought back to the scene again. Tim Burton. The filmmaker’s option, however, was for a more realistic film, that is, without talking animals. Or should I say, as realistic as possible, after all we still have a flying elephant.
After Beauty and the Beast, another animation a little more modern got the live-action treatment, complete with a slapping lamp genie and all. The following year of the animation Beauty and the BeastDisney signed Aladdin, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2022 – and guaranteed a new worldwide phenomenon. We jump to 2019, the most “crowded” year for Disney’s live-action versions. After Dumboit was precisely Aladdin chosen to continue with the subgenre that year. The gimmick here of this movie Guy Ritchieis undoubtedly the presence of Will Smith replacing Robin Williams in the role of the blue genie. Aladdin is another one that already has a sequel announced – it remains to be seen how Smith’s situation will be after the slap seen and heard around the world.
Closing the productions released for cinema in 2019, Disney would still make the sun rise on the African savannah with the live-action (or CGI-action) version of one of its most beloved cartoons, The Lion King (1994). This was another modern work that received a new treatment, and for the direction it was hired Jon Favreauthe same as Mowgli (2016). In terms of the soundtrack, the pop diva Beyonce was in charge and performed for the feature – in addition, of course, to voicing the character Nala. The Lion King will also get a sequel. And not to say it was the last theatrical release in 2019 in the subgenre, the studio debuted too maleficent 2 In the same year.
Now, at the end of the 2019 premieres, in the cluttered year of Disney’s live-action, we have a production that hasn’t won a theatrical release. It turns out that for the first time in films of this type, The Lady and the Tramp, based on the classic 1955 animation, premiered directly on the Disney+ platform to be watched at home – as a way to boost Disney streaming with fans. In this way, the romance between a Cocker Spaniel and a stray dog could be seen by a whole new generation… of subscribers to the studio’s platform.
One of Disney’s great promises for the year 2020 was the launch of the representative Mulan – which addresses Chinese culture and female empowerment. Launched in 1998, the animation Mulan It’s the latest Disney movie to get a live-action version. And just like some of the items mentioned above, the option of the producers and the director Mira Nair it was for a more realistic and down-to-earth film, eliminating the fantastical elements like little talking dragons. It turns out that here came the pandemic… and Mulan was one of the releases that suffered from the effects of closed theaters – needing to resort to the Disney+ platform.
Returning to one of Disney’s first successful live-action films (based on a classic animation), 101 Dalmatians would receive another chance to shine with Cruella – that just like maleficent (2014), decided to give the spotlight and especially the title of the film to its villain. We can say that Cruella had already stolen the scene in the 1996 film in the forms of Glenn Closebut the studio’s option this time was for an origin story, in a very revolutionary and anarchic tale, which was compared to the villain’s long joker. In fact, these two have some similarities. For the mission of embodying the character, the Oscar winner was chosen Emma Stone – and the result was so positive that a sequel is already in the works.
But anyone who thinks Disney will slow down its live-action productions based on classic animations is wrong. The first to arrive this year will be Pinocchiobased on the iconic 1940s feature – making it the oldest film to be adapted, beating Dumbo for a year. Despite being led by Robert Zemeckis (Back to the future) and have Tom Hanks in the role of inventor Geppetto, Pinocchio will not receive a theatrical release. The film thus becomes the second of the subgenre to receive a direct premiere on the Disney+ platform after The Lady and the Tramp. But something tells me it won’t be the last with this proposal. Pinocchio premieres on the platform on the 8th of September now.
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