Disney, We Already Did That


Ruby Bernier, Arts and Entertainment Writer

In the last few years, it seems like nearly every month there’s a new Disney reboot. The firsts happened in the 90’s with The Jungle Book and 101 Dalmatians. Then there was a break in the films, eventually leading to the 2010 version of Alice in Wonderland, gaining only a 51% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. The next being released in 2014, Maleficent, gained a similar score of 53%. Cinderella, the second Jungle Book remake, and Beauty and the Beast (in 2015, 2016, and 2017 respectively) both earned above 70%, a hopeful sign in this genre of films. However, the three 2019 releases (Dumbo, Aladdin, and The Lion King), each earned less than 60%, signifying a downturn again. The inconsistency in quality of these films poses the question of why so many are being made in the first place. 

Many believe that these films are all cash grabs, a theory which may seem to hold a lot of truth. While much of the reason to make these movies may be financially based, Disney may also just want to have new generations relive the stories previous ones know so well and play to the nostalgia of older viewers, but many people think it’s just the latter. If this is true, that raises a new issue. Many viewers don’t want a remake of their old favorite movies, many don’t want the risk of a worse story. These remakes result in changes either the box office sales or reviews. Even if the movie itself is good, this doesn’t change the fact that the movies are generally never asked for or needed. In some cases, notably with The Lion King, the movies gain great anticipation and a great cast, and then the result is not what audiences expected. That being said, The Lion King grossed $1.646 billion, making it the 7th highest earning movie of all time. Disney’s attempt for viewers worked, but the quality suffered. Overall, reboots have not gotten much critical acclaim, yet they’re still consistently being produced, with two more set to arrive at the end of this year. 

While many of these movies didn’t live up to the originals, there are a few that did.The 2016 version of The Jungle Book earned a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. The reviews praise the singing, CGI, and its undeniable entertainment. Another widely enjoyed reboot is the 2015 Cinderella. With an 85% Rotten Tomatoes score, critics love its faithfulness to the initial story and its adapting to the modern viewer. Christopher Robin (2018) has a slightly lower score of 73% on Rotten Tomatoes, but also adapts to fit the modern day world with an interesting take on the well known stories of Winnie the Pooh, flipping the perspective to a grown Christopher Robin struggling to accept the existence of his old childhood friends. These films, among others, set a precedent for all forthcoming remakes; staying loyal to the plot while making important changes so that viewers are not disappointed and their attention is kept. 

Overall, the constant rehashing of old stories grows tiring after seeing it done again and again. The desperate reaches for nostalgia in hopes for monetary gain, if done at all, should be executed more thoughtfully and thoroughly.