When a few years ago in cinemas appeared a warrior Snow White, independent Alice in Wonderland, Disney decided to tell the story of Maleficent, putting Aurora sideways. We could predict that there will be a new era of new interpretations of classic fairy tales. Unfortunately, the enormous success of ”Beauty and the Beast” means that instead of retelling we will get the same story again? As a proof of that we have ”Dumbo” and ”Aladdin”.
Let's first look at Disney's situation. It started his series of films that tell fairy tales from Tim Burton's ”Alice in Wonderland”. It was an alternative story to the animated version, filmed in a very characteristic way. No less to retelling it's own fairy tale Disney joined the said ”Maleficent”. The film which I personally dislike, but admits - was an attempt to recount something and add a different perspective to the known story. The film drew visually from the animated original but otherwise it was an independent story, which brought something to the well-known processing of the story about Sleeping Beauty. It was not a story in which it was important to find a prince, the songs fell out, and the characters who were positive associations (such as the three fairies) had completely different characters. If there were scenes almost perfectly related to the animation, it would show them from a different perspective. What's more, the film was so independent that in sum, the plot references from the original were more heavier than deciding on its popularity.
”Maleficent's” success (and earlier ”Alice in Wonderland”) - because the film turned out to attract the attention of the viewers resulted in another acting productions. So we got ”Cinderella” realized in a completely different way. There were some changes in the story, but the perspective was not changed (i.e we do not get to know stories from the perspective of the prince), the good solution has not been changed (the shoe fits, the girl finds a husband). It is true that again (much more than in the original), the black characters (especially played by Cate Blanchett, the evil stepmother, were introduced in a more human way). What's interesting - ”Cinderella” was in visual terms a much less accurate representation of the world of the film. There was also a dress and a prince in a white uniform and a whole lot of stairs, but Branagh's ”Cinderella” was kept in a slightly different style. Certainly applied exactly to the animated production, it did not remind it that much. In addition to songs like Sleeping Beauty. However, it was a definite step in a different direction. Instead of looking for a completely new story, it was decided to slightly modify the well-known one.
This is where I should mention the ”Jungle Book”. Although not considered by all to be an animation that can be easily translated into an actor's rendition of classic Disney animations, it fits into this trend. Here Disney decided on something very strange. On the one hand, we have the same characters and some very similar scenes, as well as the obligatory use of songs, but on the other - it is not a story known from animation. The ending is drastically different - modern artists probably sensed that from the point of view of a children's viewer, the hero's exit from the Jungle world to the human world is not attractive, so the film ends well. The hero stays among animals. The production appealed to the viewers, therefore I suspect that this different ending may result in another production. At the same time Disney seemed to work out a certain model in which it changes the familiar animation and adds something, but without exaggeration. Exactly to slightly update the viewer's history but not to change too much.
It is worth mentioning that in the case of these three films Disney decided to make acting movies based on older animations. It can be assumed that every Disney admirer saw both ”Sleeping Beauty” and ”Cinderella” or the ”Jungle Book”, but the need to change a certain perspective resulted not only from the desire to find a new potential of the story. Stories about fairly passive princesses waiting to be saved from evil, the beautiful prince sounds like a story no longer suited to the requirements of new viewers. In turn, even the improved ”Jungle Book” is still unpleasantly reminiscent of the colonial legacy and the fact that children brought up among animals are rarely happy. In other words - today the viewer knows a little too much to sell him exactly the same story as in the 1950s or even 60s. What else when it comes up with ideas from the 90s.
And so we come to the huge success of ”Beauty and the Beast”. The most faithful animated original of the Disney movie. Everything there is almost perfectly taken from the animation. Changes to the animation are superficial, sometimes fill the gaps - but the emphasis has been put on the almost perfect reproduction of animated production. There are the same songs, actually the same outfits, the same characters, the same scenes. Because it's the 90's, Bella gets in total one emancipated scene, but moreover, it can behave exactly like in an animated film. She reads books, she would like something more than live in a small town and she is delighted with the big library. Changes to the original are superficial. Maybe we learn a little more about Gaston, but nobody is trying to justify it unequivocally. Because in the cinema is not just a new audience, but also viewers who remember perfectly how they watched the animated ”Beauty and the Beast” in cinemas. And considering how kids (now adults) from the 90s are attached to the golden age of Disney - they want to see exactly what they saw when they were in the cinema for the first time. And so Disney has hit such a perfect place - on the one hand, he conquers the hearts of the younger audience, on the other hand he takes on a sentimental journey into the childhood of twenty-thirty-year-olds who are just starting their first longing for childhood and simpler times (I have a theory that a person passes through several stages of longing for your earlier life and one of them falls out around 30. Maybe there is some serious psychological theory that talks about it but I do not remember).
A few weeks ago we could saw ”Dumbo”, but it turned out to be a flop, although I think not only because of the weakness of the film but also because it was not enough for anyone to go with the sentiment for this particular animation. ”Aladdin”, in which the creators with more or less accurately play the scenes from the animation, will turn out to be a flop as well. There is one big difference in this production. Is the approach to Princess Jasmina, which was decided to add some motivations beyond the frames of the palace. And so Jasmina becomes a perfectly educated, interesting in the world, who wants to rule the whole kingdom (which of course is against the rules but also of course the science is that girls can do everything). I must admit that this topic disappointed me a bit - I mean I understand and support the development of female characters - especially when we transfer a story that is over twenty years old to modern times. But at the same time, I have the impression that writing such a story with a lazy modernization of the character, on the principle - find the most worn catalog that will make the heroine more modern. And if the girls look at it, nothing bad will happen, but I have the impression that we do not have to deepen the form here, just replacing one flat scheme with another. Less harmful, but let's face it - not necessarily more thought-out. For example, I began to wonder what so ambitious, ingenious girl in general sees in a thief from the street and will not lose topics for conversations on a second date..?
Probably the ”Lion King” will break the bank, because it's hard to have an animation that would better hold viewers in a sentimental embrace. But it still seems that enthusiasm is slowly falling.