Laura Cafasso ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
For young adults, the golden age of cinema was the 1990s, believe it or not. This decade produced some of Disney’s classics such as The Lion King and Toy Story. Parents collected these VHS tapes and had them on hand for whenever a rowdy or miserable kid needed a break from reality. Disney movies were the best and most vibrant part of childhood imagination. A kid could picture strolling through the Hundred Acre Woods, riding a magic carpet, or talking to animals. However, now today’s kids are confused, and young adults are disheartened to realize that Disney has decided to remake almost every classic story in its vault.
For instance, the trailer for the new The Jungle Book debuted recently. Jon Favreau, whose credits for directing and producing include Iron Man and Elf, has crafted a very modern take on this orphan story. The animation of the animals is reminiscent of Life of Pi, with a dark and twisted cinematography. What is most notable, though, is the wide array of actors lending their voices. The cast consists of Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken, Lupita Nyong’o, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, and Giancarlo Esposito. Despite all the name-dropping, the desperation to cling to new technology and thrill seeking has diminished this once simple, fun cartoon. Scarlett Johansson is one of the only voices heard in the first trailer, and her husky, alluring tone seems out of place for the role of Kaa. So this adds uneasiness as to how the remainder of the cast measures up. It really calls into question whether revamping with an esteemed cast can lift or deflate classic films.
With a competing Jungle Book film also being released in the next couple years, one has to wonder: When is enough, enough? The attempt to strain every creative juice from the original is not lost on Disney, especially when it comes to Mary Poppins. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Disney is also doing a live-action musical version set twenty years after the 1964 film. It is hard to overlook that Saving Mr. Banks premiered less than a year ago. As the Huffington Post said, this is in conjunction with Disney’s other remake projects for the coming years like Beauty and the Beast, a prequel to Aladdin, Dumbo, Mulan, Pinocchio, The Little Mermaid and unfortunately many others. These stories are loved and cherished, but haven’t they all been heard before? Disney should be focused on cementing their brand and characters, not constantly finding new ways to slightly alter a tale for box office prestige and profits.