Debate: Do We Really Need These Live-Action Disney Remakes?

Tomorrow The Lion King hits cinemas, the latest in Disney’s line of live-action remakes of their classic animated movies.

While some people are excited to see the adaptation of the majestic 1994 animation, others are sceptical about the project, with many seeing no need for it.

The studio have been on the live-action remake train since 2010’s Alice In Wonderland, and with plenty more already planned, Disney show no signs of slowing down.

These remakes have always caused division and the question does have to be asked, are they really necessary?

We took this question to the team at Zavvi HQ, starting a debate… Who do you agree with?

NoBy Merel van Steen

These remakes are not up to the quality of the original releases. None of the live-action films released so far have been great, nor have they entertained me – and that’s coming from someone who’s quite easily entertained!

Having grown up with the classic Disney films, they hold a special place in my heart and none of the live-action remakes have lived up to them. I could watch the originals over and over and over again, and the live-action remakes just aren’t hitting the same sweet spot for me. It’s a one-and-done kind of deal.

The speed at which these live-action remakes are being released also gives the impression that it’s about quantity rather than quality. Additionally, some of the originals don’t translate into live-action very well.

Personally I would rather see Disney invest in original animated films, such as Moana and Frozen. Despite everyone getting sick of Let it Go, you can’t deny these films were executed very well.

That said, The Lion King has been the only live-action remake on my watch-list, and I am curious to see if it will live up to the original in the slightest. If it does it will be the first time I can truly say I enjoyed a live-action remake.

I will most certainly be rewatching the Disney classics until the end of time as nothing can beat the animation. But with at least nine more live action remakes in the planning, I am afraid I have already lost.

YesBy Emily Murray

Yes, none of these film have been particularly brilliant. Yes, I too would love to see some more original movies receive funding and make it to the big screen. And yes, I have enjoyed Disney’s live-action remakes and believe they are not only worth watching, but add something to the originals too.

For example, it was fantastic to see Princess Jasmine get an expanded role in this year’s Aladdin as Disney opted for a progressive approach; making her stronger, giving her a goal (becoming Sultan) and her own song, Speechless, in which she sings ‘I won’t be silenced, you can’t keep me quiet’. It is a real girl power moment!

Also 2015’s Cinderella was a fresh spin on the classic story with each of the characters becoming more well-rounded. For instance, the wicked stepmother has more depth and meaningful motivation. I also can’t wait to see how astonishing the visual effects will be in The Lion King, and Mulan promises to be an interesting watch with reports suggesting it won’t be a musical like the original.

Admittedly one of the reasons I also enjoy the remakes is because I adore the original films and characters, all of which I grew up with. I already know I will be crying floods of tears during The Lion King as not only is it an emotional story, but hearing the likes of The Circle of Life again will be incredibly nostalgic.

Yes I could just watch the original animations again, and indeed I will, but there is also something magical about that big screen experience and watching a story you love so much being told in a different way.

These remakes are also bringing a new audience to Disney, as parents will take their kids to see these films and hopefully watch the originals too. Also they bring people into the cinema, an industry that has struggled to adapt to recent consumer changes, for example the growth of streaming services. I still want my local cinema to run, so I won’t say no to any film which brings an audience in to support it.

The Lion King will be released in UK cinemas tomorrow (19th July).

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Emily Murray

Emily Murray


Emily is a journalist and film critic who unashamedly cries at most movies having got too emotionally attached. When not at the cinema, she is at home cuddling her cat Holmes, whilst binge watching New Girl. She can be found on Twitter @emilyvmurray