Mulan: Another live-action Disney Remake!

To no one’s surprise, it’s been confirmed that Disney has another live-action remake of an animated film in the works. Following on the heels of last week’s announcement that Jon Favreau is “reimagining” The Lion King, news arrived today that Disney is also planning to bring us a live-action version of 1998’s Mulan. That’s right, the film that Vice Presidential nominee (debating tonight) and Donald Trump’s running mate Mike Pence once used to argue against women in the military (all while claiming that sexual assault is just a natural side effect) will be back in theaters once again, giving the “mischievous liberals” at Disney the chance once again to “cause a quiet change in the next generation’s attitude about women in combat.” This post isn’t really about Pence, but I couldn’t let such a perfectly timed opportunity to bring that article up once more pass me by. But here’s one more quote, just to make sure this is stuck in your mind during tonight’s debate: “Despite her delicate features and voice, Disney expects us to believe that Mulan’s ingenuity and courage were enough to carry her to military success on an equal basis with her cloddish cohorts.”

I’ve already spelled out my opinions on the new trend of Disney remakes in my post about The Lion King, so I won’t repeat myself except to say that unlike many Disney fans I’m generally in favor of the remakes, even if I have issues with some of the specifics. But I am considerably more excited about the prospect of a Mulan remake than I am about The Lion King. Continue reading

Jon Favreau is remaking The Lion King

I’m back! That’s right, after taking an unintentional hiatus for the last couple of months, I’ve returned! Hello? Anybody there? I’m sorry for the absence. It had become increasingly difficult for me to find the time and the energy to work on the blog, but hopefully I’m back for good. I’ve got some plans to make it easier for me to just sit down and write, even if it might change the tone/style of things here a little bit. I’ve been meaning to get back to writing for a while now, and thankfully today we got some big Disney news that inspired me to return to the keyboard. But rest assured (or be afraid) that I’m not done with, nor have I run out of things to say. I hope to tackle my backlog of missed reviews, as well as get into a habit of updating more frequently by perhaps posting shorter articles. I might even make some videos, who knows? But for now let’s tackle the news at hand.

So, to no one’s surprise, Disney has announced another remake of an animated classic. This time, Jon Favreau is following up his The Jungle Book success by “reimagining” The Lion King. Now, unlike many other hardcore Disney fans, I’ve largely been a supporter of their recent trend of live-action remakes of their animated catalogue. I’ve enjoyed all of them (Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, and Pete’s Dragon), though some more than others, and as a whole I see both the artistic and commercial appeal of this sort of filmmaking. I think many Disney animated films are ripe for remakes, either because the original is dated or because a filmmaker has a new or creative interpretation of the original. I may strongly disagree that animation is “just for kids” or that it is somehow a lesser form of storytelling, but there’s no denying that these remakes have reached a new and vastly different audience. And, in the end, Disney has a right to do whatever they want with their films. These new movies aren’t destroying the classics (or our childhoods), and they may in the end inspire new fans to watch the old masterpieces. I do understand the frustration and even the hatred some fans may have towards particular remakes, and the feeling that this is a frustrating trend, but I do think some of the backlash has been a little overblown.

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What if there was a Best Voice Performance Oscar? – 1994

(Note: This is a fictional creative writing exercise, inspired by hours of contemplation of which animated performances have been most worthy of attention over the years.  This feature imagines that a Best Voice Performance category was added to the Oscars following Beauty and the Beast’s nomination for Best Picture at the 64th Academy Awards.  Each week I’ll cover the hypothetical nominees and winner from one year of animated performances.)

After a disappointing slate of nominees at the 66th Academy Awards, the speculation was that another year of mediocre nominees would doom the category once and for all.  Fortunately, there was a savior on the horizon, in the form of another big release from Disney, The Lion King.  It was even speculated that the film could take all five of the nomination slots, given the strength of its casting, its popularity and yet another dearth of competition.  Even if The Lion King ended up with all of the nominations, it was already predicted that the film’s mere presence would be enough to grant the category a stay of execution for at least another year. Continue reading