Disney déjà vu
Over the last two weekends, Beauty and the Beast has topped worldwide box offices. It has received excellent reviews and made $357 million in just one week! The film has a great all-star cast led by Emma Watson, beautiful costumes and amazing special effects, but one of the main reasons for its success is nostalgia – people who loved the 1991 animation have been excited to see it on the big screen once more. I’m one of them. Belle has been my favourite princess since I was a child and so I couldn’t wait to see this new version of her story and, most of all, performances of songs like 'Be Our Guest' and 'Beauty and the Beast', which I still love as an adult.
Beauty and the Beast is definitely not unique in having this nostalgia effect. Sequels, remakes and spin-offs are huge right now, particularly when it comes to children’s films. Recently there have been modern versions of Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella and The Jungle Book but this is just the beginning. In fact, Disney has at least 22 live-action remakes of its classic animated films planned for the next few years, including Mulan, Dumbo and even The Lion King. It’s not just Disney either. In just the last few months, there has been the start of a new Harry Potter series, a new Power Rangers film, a mini-sequel to 2003’s Love Actually and a new King Kong movie.
Clearly, sequels and remakes are very popular with film-makers, and it seems they are with audiences too as these films always generate lots of conversation and sell millions of tickets. However, some people would argue that this trend is not a good thing. If companies are focused on old films, they will spend less time thinking of new ones, meaning that going to the cinema might become very boring with no new ideas or surprises in films. Another worry is that these old films are perfect as they are and trying to recreate them can only end in failure. Personally, I was nervous about seeing Beauty and the Beast, as I didn’t think it was possible for them to make a film as magical as the original. Thankfully, I absolutely loved it, but I’m not so optimistic about all the other future remakes. The new Mulan, for example, will not be a musical, which seems strange when 'I’ll Make a Man Out of You' is everyone’s favourite part of that film. Similarly, I thought Red Nose Day Actually (the charity sequel to Love Actually) was pointless, and the first film ended perfectly as it was.
Regardless, it seems that this trend will continue and that the next few years will be full of many debates about which film was better, the original or the remake. But either way, I don’t think more Disney in the world could ever be a bad thing!