With the recent release of Zemeckis’ Pinocchio, many Reddit users have been compelling to revisit and discuss some of their favorite Disney live-action remakes. In the past few years, Disney has made a habit of rebooting their most popular animated movies with a more modern twist, and many of them have actually been pleasant surprises.
In spite of many remakes that only end up being worse than the original, it doesn’t seem like Disney’s latest live-action trend is due to stop any time soon. Whilst many cynical fans may just see the movement as a way of extra money, others see it as a fun way of revisiting their childhoods and bringing them into a new age.
Beauty And The Beast (2017)
Of all the actresses to play Belle in various Beauty and the Beast adaptations, it’s easily Emma Watson that does the best job in the role. She completely embodies the protagonist’s well-behaved mannerisms and childlike innocence that make her such a compelling character, which is one of the many reasons that Disney fans enjoyed this remake.
Reddit user majesticmongoose argues that Beauty and the Beast is a “wonderful movie”, which is certainly a word that could be used to describe the original film. The story is uniquely magical and uplifting in a way that few other films have managed to be, and the remake captures this spirit fairly effectively.
Although it’s one of the least critically-acclaimed Disney remakes so far, there are still plenty of people who defend Mulan for its visual prowess and acting showcases. Liu Yifei is perfectly entertaining as the titular protagonist, particularly shining in the film’s exciting action sequences.
One Reddit user maintains that Mulan‘s remake was actually “really good,” arguing that it’s one of the most misunderstood films in the subcategory. The 2020 remake will probably work better for those that haven’t grown up with the original, as there are many changes made that will puzzle long-time fans.
Pete’s Dragon (2016)
The original Pete’s Dragon is actually one of Disney’s least famous and least-discussed animated movies, released a whole decade before the company’s so-called ‘Renaissance Era’ began in the early 1990s. The film, much like its modern remake, follows the adventures of a dragon named Elliot and his young human friend, Pete.
Reddit user mstkgf makes the claim that the Pete’s Dragon remake is “much better than the original,” not just in its visual style but also in the way that it tells its story. Whilst both films are aimed at younger audiences, the 2016 remake has a much more mature and engaging approach to storytelling that makes it stand out.
Dumbo is one of the most famous Disney characters of all, so it’s not really surprising that the film’s remake was so high on Disney’s priority list. Starring Colin Farrell and Michael Keaton in the lead roles, Dumbo tells the story of a magic elephant who escapes from his life at the circus.
One Redditor believes that Dumbo is one of the rare Disney remakes that “tried to shake things up a little bit and do something slightly different”, whereas many of the others just tend to be too similar to their source material. The film makes a few bold decisions that might deter fans of the original, but certainly make the film more memorable in the end. This includes fixing problematic scenes in response to the original having become controversial lately due to the racial stereotypes.
Alice In Wonderland (2010)
Although Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is less of a strict remake and more of a loose reimagining of Lewis Caroll’s original story, there are still several similarities between itself and the 1951 animated film. However, Burton’s remake is often hailed for its unrivaled creativity and bold narrative decisions.
Reddit user statusloquat8 argues that the best Disney remakes are those that “have new takes on the story,” and this film certainly fits these criteria. The remake showcases the beautiful landscape of Wonderland while also taking a new approach with a much older and mature Alice. Not only is it one of the most underrated Disney movies out there, but Alice in Wonderland is one of Tim Burton’s most underrated movies in general.
It’s impossible to completely recreate the upbeat spirit of the original Aladdin movie, but the 2019 remake does a surprisingly good job of bringing this story to life. In a way, it stays true to the source material whilst also making its own creative decisions that at least justify its existence.
Reddit user qwerty-1999 agrees, claiming that Aladdin is their “favorite” Disney remake because it “added some interesting things to the story” that wasn’t present in the original. One of the elevated stories is a far more in-depth character arc for Jasmine that allowed her to shine in more ways that the original didn’t, including her “Speechless” number. It wasn’t just another cut-and-paste Disney project, but rather a genuine story that still feels important.
Although not a strict remake of 101 Dalmations, Craig Gillespie’s Cruella shares enough in common with the film to be considered a modern reboot of the story. The film’s main selling point is that it’s told from the perspective of Cruella de Vil, the much-disliked antagonist of the original.
Reddit user individual-cloud948 admits that they “personally liked” the film more than most, though Cruella was actually many people’s favorite comedy movie of 2021. It added a much-needed sense of humor to this familiar story, playing out in a way that very few people expected. Plus, unlike the original film, this reboot develops Cruella’s nuanced origin story that relates to her parentage while also showcasing where her love of fashion comes from.
Christopher Robin (2018)
Winnie the Pooh is one of the most iconic Disney characters of all time, and Christopher Robin is a fantastic celebration of the bear’s history and status in so many people’s childhoods. It’s an extremely emotional film, but it captures the spirit of Winnie the Pooh in a way that very few people actually expected from a live-action project.
“I cried like a baby,” admits Redditor idkmybbfdw, proving just how nostalgic and moving the story was for many Disney fans. It takes all the best aspects of A. A. Milne’s books and transforms them into something completely new, whilst simultaneously paying tribute to Pooh and the character’s history.
The Jungle Book (2016)
For many people, The Jungle Book was one of the best animated Disney movies ever made, so a remake understandably stirred some unrest among most fans. However, Jon Favreau’s reimagining of the classic story actually ended up being one of Disney’s best projects in years.
Unlike many of the lesser-appreciated remakes, The Jungle Book actually makes an effort to thrive as a self-sustained story, rather than simply relying on nostalgia and appreciation for the original. For this reason, plenty of Reddit users such as marko008d believe the remake to be even “better than the original.”
Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella was one of the first Disney remakes to really begin this trend, and even after plenty of competition, it still remains one of the best. Lily James is unforgettable as the titular character, perfectly capturing the grace and innocence that’s necessary for such an iconic role.
Reddit user captain_deathlok2 claims that Cinderella is actually the “best” remake Disney has produced so far, suggesting that beginner’s luck is very much real when it comes to these things. The way that Branagh brings this world to life is something that’s missing from most other remakes, even the most commercially successful ones.