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The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Beloved classics don’t deserve subpar live-action remakes

Peyton McKenzie

You know what, this might be a little bit of a me problem.

I don’t think I’ve heard people complain about this as much as I do, at least not outside of the internet. But I’m just so over all of the recent live-action remakes. They are unoriginal, lazy and nothing more than a money-making scheme.

Live-action remakes, especially from Disney, have become a trend in recent years. These remakes bring beloved animated classics to real life on the big screen, hoping to introduce them to new generations and appease long-time fans.

In the past decade, Disney has put out 17 live-action remakes, and Netflix has made a habit of creating live-actions of popular anime. And that’s not counting all of the book adaptations that have been coming out left and right.

Here’s a penny for your thoughts — how about we just watch (or read, in the case of “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief,” for example) the original material instead?

See, live-actions work in cases like “Cruella” or “Maleficent,” when you take an idea and create a different story where the original serves just as additional information, background or inspiration.

This is the entire concept behind fan-fiction, which has been immensely popular since the creation of Wattpad and AO3. These are websites dedicated to fan-fiction, which skyrocketed in recent years, to the point where The New York Times published an essay from a 16-year-old girl on “Why We Should Be Fans Of Fan Fiction,” back in June 2023.

My point here is that there is no issue in creating movies like “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” because while they are based on a certain material, they are their own stand-alone thing. Hey, that movie even got 95% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The issue arises when production companies get lazy and start remaking every animated movie and show they can get their hands on.

That’s not to say these movies aren’t impressive — sometimes. Sure, modern CGI can create incredible visuals, but it can also give you badly animated talking dogs. Looking at you, 2019 Disney+’s “Lady and the Tramp.”

Talking dogs are somehow so much more believable when they are animated.

That’s just the thing. These stories weren’t created for live-action. They are fantasies, full of mermaids, dragons, talking animals and so much more.

If Disney (and others, this is not a personal attack on Disney even though it might feel like one) truly wants to bring these stories to new generations and give them the love they deserve — just make them available again.

I cannot tell you how many times I have tried searching for my old DVDs in hope of watching a beloved childhood classic when I was feeling down, only to get immensely disappointed. For context, Disney+ wasn’t available in my home country, Slovakia, until 2022.

And because these stories just don’t work in real life, oftentimes the writing and plot lines have to change. This doesn’t just mean a mob of unruly fans, but also, at that point, why not just create a new story rather than ruining a pre-existing one?

There is also the topic of the casting choices in the remakes. The most recent examples were the debates behind “The Little Mermaid” from last year, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” from this year and “How to Train Your Dragon,” which is set for 2025.

In all instances the actresses for Ariel (Halle Bailey), Annabeth Chase (Leah Jeffries) and Astrid Hofferson (Nico Parker) are Black women, which resulted in a lot of online backlash.

And while all three of them are phenomenal actresses, why not create new stories where Black women are the main characters rather than a few-years-afterthought?

There are so, so many other issues with live-action remakes to touch on, and so many other examples to give. “Avatar: The Last Airbender” on Netflix has incredible visuals but subpar acting. “Mulan” completely changed the original idea, to the point where it shouldn’t even be called by the same name. And so on.

Which, in itself, serves as the best argument as to why not make them anymore.

Why don’t we just all sit down, dust off those forgotten DVDs that we all stashed somewhere once we hit puberty and became “too cool for school?”

Or better yet, why don’t we start coming up with original ideas rather than recycling everything for profit?

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About the Contributors
Alexandra Martinakova
Alexandra Martinakova, Editor-in-Chief
Peyton McKenzie
Peyton McKenzie, Creative Director

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