Proving further that every fandom will eventually seize the reins of pop culture, the community of folks who have always loved Disney animation but always secretly wished that everything were just a little more realistic has finally taken power. The recent era of films truly took off with the live action Sleeping Beauty adaptation Maleficent , but it was not the first nor the last — simply one of the most popular due, in large part, to Angelina Jolie. Our current era has seen the transformation of many hand-drawn classics from the House of Mouse to live-action cinema, and the latest victor (or victim, depending on who you ask) to get a live action adaptation is Mulan . Whether you think the project is a long overdue reimagining of a modern classic or just another cash-grab in an already overcrowded pool is up to you to decide.
But no matter where you lie in this debate, it’s easy not to get a little overwhelmed by the heaps of Disney animated films finding new life. Mulan is one of many in development, following a handful that have already hit release. What’s more, the continued green lighting of such titles suggests a long line of Disneys yet to enter such metamorphosis. But of course, there have to be a few that are simply off-limits, or at least just plain bad enough ideas that no one would bother to remake them.
So which are which?
101 Dalmatians1996. A forerunner to the trend; not especially fondly remembered save for Glenn Close's chutzpah.
Alice in Wonderland2010. Tim Burton's creative travesty that somehow made a billion dollars.
Sleeping Beauty (as Maleficent)2014. Angelina Jolie proving she can be majestic even in the silliest of circumstances.
Cinderella2015. Sweet and palatable, with a dynamically wicked Cate Blanchett.
The Jungle Book2016. A treasure trove of acting talent (Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong'o, and Giancarlo Esposito) voicing zany woodland creatures.
Another Alice in Wonderland (as Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass)2016. Here we go again.
Beauty and the Beast2017. Hermoine Granger is granted due royalty.
DumboPETA is already pretty miffed.
MulanAll details to be announced, but interest brews.
Additional Titles Released or In Development by Studios Other Than Disney
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (as Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror Mirror)Both in 2012. One was dark and drastic, the other fluffy and nonsensical.
Peter Pan (as Pan)2015. Classy Joe Wright turns back the crocodile-eaten clock on the adventure story.
Tarzan2016. The long-anticipated "post-jungle-era" version of the Tarzan story, involving all the parliamentary politics that the original tale lacked!
Another The Jungle Book (as Jungle Book: Origins)2016. No discernible difference from the in-development Disney flick, but with Benedict Cumberbatch in tow.
(The likes of Robin Hood and Hercules are omitted from this list, since their origin stories exceed the notability of their Disney adaptations.)
Feasible Future Live-Action Adaptations
The Little MermaidGranted, a good deal of CGI will be warranted to make this one fly, but an update on the romantic comedy seems right in Disney's wheelhouse.
The Sword in the StoneWe've seen the story of King Arthur done time and time again onscreen, but the Disney label is a good enough excuse as any to revisit the classic adventure.
AladdinYou've got to imagine that the popularity of the currently running Broadway musical is sparking interest in the boardroom meetings...
The Black CauldronFor the "cult classic" crowd, the fantasy tale is begging for new appreciation in this age of Game of Thrones.
PocahontasAnd hey, maybe they'll actually get history halfway right this time.
Lady and the TrampThis one is the biggest stretch, though if they can make Dumbo happen with real elephants, perhaps they can train a couple of dogs to eat spaghetti.
A Few That We Can Count on Not happening
The Great Mouse DetectiveLapsed interest and technical implausibility makes this one a definite "no."
The Emperor's New GrooveDisney's Chuck Jonesian departure was good for a few laughs, but didn't quite hold much esteem among its legacied brethren.
Saludos Amigos/The Three CaballerosBrought to life only by virtue of the recognizability of Donald Duck, these nigh plotless globetrotting comedies could never work in any other form.
Anything between 2001 and 2008Atlantis, Lilo and Stitch, Brother Bear, Home on the Range, Bolt, Meet the Robinsons, Treasure Planet, Chicken Little... I think we're pretty safe from any attempts on this horde.
FantasiaHow would they even do that?
Images: Disney (5), Relativity Media