Though they may make a lot of money at the box office, Disney legends and directing duo John Musker and Ron Clements are really not fans of the studio's recent live-action remakes. The pair have opened up about their bemusement at the shot-for-shot remaking of animated classics such as Aladdin and The Lion King, with Musker often finding the creations inexpressive and uninvolving.
"I love to see new techniques being explored in animation. I also like the idea that the medium has enough elasticity and potential that there are many types of stories that have yet to be done in animation, and I am hoping in the coming years they will be. I am bemused by the live-action remakes, although the more successful ones to me are the ones ironically that reinterpret the source to a greater degree, like Maleficent.
I think Favreau's a brilliant filmmaker, but the shot-for-shot fealty to the hand-drawn Lion King, as well as the inexpressive animation in his film, left me uninvolved. In general, I would rather see more original content, and fairy tales particularly by their nature don't seem to accommodate or demand the extension and/or repetition of their self-contained narrative arcs. But Frozen 2 just made more than $1 billion, so what the heck do I know?"
With more than 40 years in the field, and with John Musker and Ron Clements having long been credited with reinvigorating Disney animation with both The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, as well as having helmed such movies as The Great Mouse Detective, Hercules, Treasure Planet, The Princess and the Frog, and Moana, Musker and Clements certainly warrant listening to.
They are not the only ones who have found the jump to live-action somewhat baffling, with many of them having received negative responses from critics. Of course, the fact that they go on to make billions pretty much guarantees that Disney will continue the trend, but perhaps they should heed the words of Musker and Clements and reinterpret the source material a little more, rather than producing near-identical copies.
The studio is of course now bringing The Little Mermaid to the world of live-action, with the movie set to star Halle Bailey as Ariel, the undersea princess, and Daveed Diggs as her lobster pal, Sebastian. Though Musker and Clements did not comment on the remake specifically, Clements made it very clear how special the animated original is to them both.
"John and I were in our early 30s when we started the project, and we were some of the oldest on it. We all knew the stakes were very high. And I've always identified with Ariel. I know she's taken some heat about giving up her legs just to get a guy, but I never saw it as that. Coming from a small city in the Midwest and dreaming of one day going to Hollywood to work for Disney, to me she was like anybody dreaming about being part of a world very different from their own, no matter how impossible that seemed."
Disney has yet to announce a release date for its live-action The Little Mermaid. This comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.