Disney’s Best and Worst Live Shows

Better: Maleficent
Robert Strombergyear 2014

In the beginning it was Maleficent. Disney’s new wave of live performances starts off perfectly with to turn dedicated to the villain sleeping Beautyto which he gives a face (and evil-veneers) Angelina Jolie has never been so biased. Of course, there’s the somewhat forced idea that even villains cry (a theme we’ll revisit in a few later titles), and the equally forced “sisterhood” between fairies and witches. But the main character has undeniable charisma, Elle Fanning is the perfect Aurora, and the frankly kitsch cat is fun. Sequel, subtitles Mistress of Evilfive years later: yes, decidedly useless instead.

Worst: Alice in Wonderland
Tim Burton2010

Alice in Wonderland + Tim Burton: On paper what is called a marriage made in heaven. Instead, as painful as it is to admit, almost nothing works. From the protagonist Mia Wasikowska, always good but too mature for the role, to the mischievous Mad Hatter Johnny Depp and queens Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway. Right down to the ultra-luxury, but very tasteless packaging and, above all, undecided between the tones that should satisfy the “large” audience, consisting of very small (it was at the box office) and darkness typical of the author, who, however, is confused here, if not absent at all. Sin.

Better: Cinderella
Kenneth Branagh2015

Another round, another supervillain. Because, let’s face it: here, too, the real protagonist of the story is not the one who was given to us by the classic fairy tale (in this case, the spectacular Lily James’ Cinderella), but her enemy. That is Cate Blanchett in a noir version of the 40s, between Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. Yes, there are mice, the glass slipper, Prince Charming (Richard Madden: one of the few working on this wave of boy-cornering adaptations). But all attention is overshadowed by Lady Tremaine from Her Majesty Kate. And Kenneth Branagh, on vacation at Disney, knows it.

Worst: Aladdin
Guy Ritchie2019

Another actor who doesn’t stand up to the test of Disney’s live action is Guy Ritchie, called to direct a flesh-and-blood version of one of the funniest films of the “new classic” phase. But what would you like to be stylization it’s just a mess, with a genius that can’t even remotely match the original “voice actor” Robin Williams (sorry, Will Smith), main characters with no charisma (they haven’t actually been seen anywhere else), and the usual feminist twist (Jasmine, who dreams of becoming a sultana) took root as best as possible. None of the lamp’s wishes were granted.

Better: Dumbo
Tim Burton2019

Try again, Tim. In his second foray into the Disney classic, Burton hits the bullseye. With a film that was unfairly panned by most critics and almost ignored by the public. “Cleansed” of the most controversial elements of the original version (above all, the raven, which, according to today’s politically correct court, offends African Americans) and transfers its world to the world of a flying elephant. Or vice versa. Circus, imaginary “monstrosity”, horror, always mixed with tenderness, and the perfect cast. feat. the magnificent shoulders of Eva Green, Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito. Misunderstood.

Worst: The beauty and the Beast
Bill Condon2017

Does it make sense to remake the film frame by frame? Yes, if a cinephile operation leads to it Psycho Gus Van Sant. No, if, as in the case of The beauty and the Beast, this is a slave photocopy, adding nothing. Watching Emma Watson replicate Belle frame by frame (only with the added addition of feminist empowerment: come on) might just appeal to today’s kids, who may never have seen – or don’t know by heart like the previous generation – the cartoon. about departure. . However, the box office success was sensational, so they are right.

Better: Cruella
Craig Gillespie2021

Did we mention that live action loves the bad guys? To confirm this, here it is origin story Cruella De Vil, she is, as always, amazing Emma Stone. Here, too, is an attempt to sweeten one of the most bitchy Disney panoramas, but director Craig Gillespie (one of the finest Tonya) gives us the punk scratch we need. Just like London, which is the backdrop for everything, including (amazing) Vivienne Westwood-inspired costumes and the soundtrack from The Clash to Florence + The Machine. And then there’s the wild Emma Thompson: what else?

Worst: The Lion King
John Favreau2019

The question arises: what does live action mean? A movie with real actors, right? And yet new king lion, one of the most beloved games ever made by the House of Mouse, is pure digital animation, but it’s still really in the “live-action” category. And here we have a remake frame by frame classics at the core, with a set of super voices (Simba in the original version – Donald Glover), an additional Beyoncé album and a sky-high collection. But do we care? You already know how to answer this question.

Better: Mermaid
Rob Marshall2023

Let’s face it, we put in a new Mermaid between “bestonly to the point of exclusion and exhaustion (or perhaps because that’s what we remember best when we’ve just stepped into the world). Here too the photocopy effect is in style The beauty and the Beast not far off, but at least this live action has sparked some discussion: from black mermaid from Halle Bailey (perfect for the role) to the emaciated Flounder (ugly, but should we resent?). And from Melissa McCarthy’s “Ursula” to various local dubs (see our Mahmoud as Sebastian the crab), the choice is very good. Of course, we don’t need much right now.

Worst: Pinocchio
Robert Zemeckis2022

It is very sad to put this genius of Robert Zemeckis under any “worst”. But after futuristic cartoons (from polar Express V Legend of Beowulf) and works that managed to combine the world of cartoons and “real” cinema in an equally avant-garde way (that absolute masterpiece that Who Framed Roger Rabbit?), such a dull and cheerful version of Collodi’s fairy tale is not acceptable. Even Tom Hanks’ Geppetto fails to maintain a cabin and puppets (sorry). Will release directly on Disney +: there will be a reason.

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