Live Action Steals the Magic

Photo by Jayme McColgan on Unsplash

Pinocchio film rating: 2/5

Disney has lost its magic. Lately, it seems like Disney can’t develop original stories. They’ve done well with recent films like Encanto, but none of their new films can compare to the films that created the magic like The Lion King, Mulan, and the original Pinocchio. These are the films that not only created Disney but hold some of the core memories for most of our childhoods. That’s why it’s especially heartbreaking when Disney can’t seem to create new stories, so they try to retell the classics using CGI. One of the first films Disney turned into live -action was the classic, The Lion King. Compared to other live-action Disney films this one wasn’t horrible, but it didn’t do the story justice. 

Firstly, the CGI truly makes the characters look real. The idea of Simba looking like a real lion was very intriguing at first. But once the live-action characters entered, it didn’t take long to realize that a lot of their personality and charm came from animation. Zazu looks nothing like he did in the animated version: his bright blue feathers were no more, but now simply black and white. Nala and Simba look almost identical in CGI. CGI truly robs the audience of witnessing the character’s personalities through their facial expressions. The song “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” is very different in the animated version than in the CGI one. This is because what happens in the animated version, like countless animals being on top of each other like giraffes, hippos, etc. would be incredibly hard and would look very strange in CGI. With CGI it feels like the magic was sucked out so that way a realistic version could come alive. This affects the Mufasa ghost scene as both the art aesthetic and script are changed from the original in the new CGI version. 

Mulan (2020) can be argued to be the worst live-action Disney remake when it comes to keeping to the original. I was honestly shocked that the creators dared to cut out Mushu, who was an important and beloved character from the original. This creates the idea that Disney only labelled this film “Mulan” to guarantee an audience when they had no intention of bringing Mulan to life. Classic songs like “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” were left out of the new live action version. This is important because these songs strongly contribute to why this films are classics. This is because the new Mulan is not intended to be a musical, but goes to show how the live action version completely changed the original. The new Mulan even added a new villain who never appeared in the animated version. The new Mulan had potential and included cool fighting scenes but ultimately, in my opinion, it was false advertising to call this film “Mulan.” Disney would have been better off creating a whole new character and storyline. 

The new Pinocchio movie was no better when turning a classic animated tale into a live-action one. Focusing on the ending, the live-action version doesn’t create the emotional scene that the animated version does. In the animated version, Pinocchio’s father is crying, and Pinocchio’s friends are mourning him. The animation is so beautifully done that all their emotions can be felt. The sad orchestra music also gives the scene a touch of magic and heartbreak. The animated version makes it very clear that Pinocchio turns into a real boy. While the live action Pinocchio gives the audience the choice to believe in two endings. One where Pinocchio turns into a real boy or the other where Pinocchio and his father go into the light. The magic isn’t there in the live action version, as CGI Pinocchio appears like an emotionless robot. Pinocchio is one of those tales where it was Disney magic because of the hard work and heart the animators put into it. 

The original Disney animators created true Disney magic. No CGI version will ever be able to recapture it. Hopefully, Disney can create new tales, instead of ruining  their beloved classics.

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