If you are a Disney fan, you may have noticed a resurgence of your childhood in recent years. A company that has prided itself on high quality original content, the studio has not been averse to the current Hollywood trends, including the ever popular use of remakes and revivals. While the studio continues to bring truly one of a kind original films and shows to life, some of the best and worst films in recent years have been the remakes of some of your favorite Disney films. Two of the best films in recent years that received a special live-action remake have to include Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. These two films showed how wonderful technology and acting talent has evolved to allow the beauty and vision of these stories to come to life in all of their magical glory.
Yet not all Disney live-action remakes are as great as those two films were. From terrible live action remakes on the Disney channel, (where cheesy films are already a staple on the network,) to films that had major star power and fantastic directors attached, but still managed to fall flat, the House of Mouse has definitely suffered from some major setbacks in the live action department. Even some films that haven’t released yet have been plagued with behind the scenes drama and story changes that are sure to upset fans.
So today we are going to explore the fifteen worst live action remakes of Disney films, as well as 10 bad Disney films that deserve a live action remake to improve the original movies. Let us know what you think down below!
25 Bad Remake: Kim Possible
One classic Disney property that should never have been remade was the very popular animated television and film franchise Kim Possible. The show and subsequent films followed teenage Kim Possible, who went to school by day and saved the world by night with her best friend Ron Stoppable and other friend Wade as a world traveling super spy. The classic starring Christy Carlson Romano and Will Friedle was highly acclaimed, and yet the recent Disney Channel live action remake is not drawing nearly the same praise. In fact many fans found the many changes to the show’s canon in this film unfavorable, and the film earned a 4.1 rating on IMDB.
24 Bad Remake: Freaky Friday
Based on a 1972 novel, the Freaky Friday films have been a staple of the pop culture scene, especially one of Disney’s more popular remakes with Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan. Yet to everyone’s disappointment, Disney decided to try their hand at making the popular film about a mother and daughter who switch bodies and live each other’s lives into a full blown musical. It was an utter disaster, with the film averaging a 3.7 rating on IMDB from users.
23 Bad Remake: The Jungle Book (1994)
One of the first Disney remakes of the classic animated hit The Jungle Book based on Rudyard Kipling’s stories was this 1994 live action film directed by Stephen Sommers, who directed the hit film The Mummy starring Brendan Frasier and Rachel Weiz. The remake failed to capture the thrill of the animated film, with the animal characters stripped completely of their personalities and the focus instead being on the plight of British colonizers and their treatment of Mowgli, which was often horrible.
22 Needs A Remake: A Christmas Carol
Not since A Muppet’s Christmas Carol have we seen a live action remake of the classic Charles Dickens story of the same name. However, Disney did attempt a CGI/Motion-Capture based animated film starring Jim Carey as the infamous Mr. Scrooge, but sadly the film failed to live up to the story’s reputation. The special effects often took away from the performances of Carey and co-star Gary Oldman. A live action retelling in this decade could be just what we need for the upcoming holiday season.
21 Needs A Remake: Robin Hood
The 1973 hit animated film based on the classic mythological characters of Robin Hood brought the story to life using animated animals replacing the classic heroes and villains of the tale. The story of a vigilante hero who stole from the corrupt rich nobility of the land and gave it all to the poor has been an inspired tale for a long time, and yet the film lacked the same level of excitement and beauty of classic films that came to Disney before it. However, in 2014, the rights to a live action remake were bought by Disney, and is expected to be filmed in the same vein as the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise, so one can only hope the remake is better in this case.
20 Bad Remake: Christopher Robin
A remake based on the classic animated films in the Winnie the Pooh franchise, 2018 brought to life a live action remake titled Christopher Robin. While the acting by lead protagonist Christopher Robin (played by the incredible Ewan McGregor,) was highly praised, the dull, lifeless and kind of eerie visual effects of the classic Winnie the Pooh characters and a predictable plot about a father who must rediscover his inner child again after focusing too much on work and not enough on his children, make this a very boring and unoriginal remake to be sure.
19 Bad Remake: Alice: Through The Looking Glass
The sequel to the live action remake of the classic Alice in Wonderland animated film suffered from its own set of problems apart from the original’s already existing problems. While the sequel seemed to capture the color and visuals of a Wonderland story, the story itself was hard to watch unfold, as Alice was put into a time-travel scenario in which she ended up becoming the sole responsible party that set the problems of Wonderland into motion, including the extinction of an entire people. That’s not the kind of story fans are looking for in an Alice in Wonderland story.
18 Bad Remake: Alice In Wonderland
The original remake by Tim Burton in 2010 had its own set of problems that overshadow those of its sequel. The film was incredibly dark and bleak in nature.
While making Alice a bonafide hero and warrior was a welcome change in the story, the wit and humor of the classic Lewis Carrol story was missing, and the setting of Wonderland had turned into a war zone that could only be rectified by more war. It was not the kind of thing that one would hope to see in a Wonderland remake.
17 Needs A Remake: Atlantis: The Lost Empire
If there was ever a film more worthy of a remake, it was Atlantis: The Lost Empire. While the film did not receive nearly the good scores one would typically see from Disney films in the early 2000s, the visual effects and mythology of Atlantis retold through this Disney film make it a prime candidate for a live action remake. Especially when considering the fact that Aquaman has recently debuted to widespread acclaim, making it the prime time to bring this hit film into a live action setting.
16 Needs A Remake: The Black Cauldron
If there has ever been one of Disney’s animated hits that was a perfect candidates for a fantasy driven live action narrative, it would be The Black Cauldron. Often considered one of Disney’s worst animated films, the story of a young boy who must protect Hen Wen, who knows the location of a mystical item known as the Black Cauldron, which has the power to either save or destroy the world, is perfect for a live action fantasy action adventure film.
15 Bad Remake: 102 Dalmatians
A sequel to a classic live action remake of the classic animated hit film 101 Dalmatians sees the evil Cruella de Vil reemerge after being brainwashed into wanting to save puppies instead of making them into coats, thus continuing the story of the original film. Yet as we all suspected, the programming soon wears off after she reemerges into society, and her evil question to destroy the pups returns in full force. This feels like a forced attempt to capitalize on the first film’s success, not giving audiences a real meaty plot to hang onto, despite a fan favorite performance by Glenn Close in the film as the hated villain.
14 Bad Remake: Maleficent
A quasi prequel/live action remake of the classic Disney villain, Maleficent starred Angelina Jolie as a fairy who fell in love with a human, but ultimately was betrayed by him and left both physically and mentally scarred by his betrayal. Heartbroken and hurt, the fairy turned to dark magic and evil to fuel her vengeance, causing her to go after her former love’s daughter and placing a curse on “Sleeping Beauty”, aka Aurora.
The film has garnered praise for Jolie’s performance and humanizing of the villain, but the CGI effects and story fell on deaf ears for many. Despite this, the film is set to get a full sequel in the coming years.
13 Bad Remake: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
One of the strangest and most unnecessary remakes in Disney’s history has to be The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Based on the classic Mickey Mouse character from the hit animated film Fantasia, the live action remake turns the story into a fantasy adventure starring Jay Buruchel as a science guy who finds he is destined to become an all powerful sorcerer, and Nicholas Cage comes around to train the young man before a group of evil sorcerers can destroy the world. This is a far departure from the animated film’s take on the sorcerer’s apprentice, and didn’t score well with audiences.
12 Needs A Remake: Meet The Robinsons
Disney fans have proven time and time again to love films with deep mythological roots, so imagine how much fans would love to see a film that incorporated sci-fi time travel themes with the ability to travel throughout time to some of those very same periods of time and mythologies. A live action remake of Disney’s Meet The Robinsons would be a perfect match, as it could tell the story of family while mixing in some good time travel CGI effects.
11 Needs A Remake: Pocahontas
Now, in a time where our world is rife with tensions between people of different nationalities, is the perfect opportunity to see a film like Pocahontas come to life. Not only is it a classic story in American history and mythology, but this could be the perfect opportunity for Disney to bring a film about an empowered female hero and showcase the struggles between the white settlers of America with the Native American tribes who had called this land home well before Europeans did. It could allow for a mostly Native American cast to have their chance on the big screen, and make some necessary changes to the story overall to better reflect the need for peace and acceptance.
10 Bad Remake: Aladdin
A beloved animated hit, the film about a young man living on the streets of a royal city called Agrabah who falls in love with a Princess, discovers the genie in the lamp, and must stop an evil Vizier, held promise when it was believed a mostly Middle Eastern cast would be announced. Sadly however, fans have shown doubt as a young actress of Indian and British descent named Naomi Scott has been cast as Jasmine, while legendary actor Will Smith is set to play the Genie.
While Will Smith is a great actor, it’s hard to picture anyone in that role other than the late Robin Williams, who made that role iconic in the animated film, and fans have been baffled by early images of Smith from trailers as the Genie, and it’s just strange.
9 Bad Remake: Genies
This next choice ties into Aladdin, as plans for a prequel film about the Genie himself have been announced. Now while no details have been confirmed, let’s just be honest here: do we need a prequel about the Genie? While a beloved character, not every character in a film needs a drawn out prequel, especially one about the way the Genie found himself bound to the lamp in the first place. It seems unnecessary and drawn out. It appears less focused on an actually good story and more on a means of capitalizing on an as yet successful film like Aladdin.
8 Bad Remake: Mulan
This one is a bit tricky. While it is fantastic that Disney is making a live action remake of the classic film Mulan with a mostly all Asian cast, there are a couple of sticking points for many longtime fans of the original animated film that have them worried about the film in general. One is the use of a new female villain who is set to be an all powerful witch. Sorcery and magic were not a part of the original film (except for Mushu, a family dragon,) but instead focused on the training and strength of Mulan against the negative masculine culture of her time in an era of war. The antagonist of the original film was a ruthless warlord and made for a great foil to Mulan’s heroic nature. The other thing is that Mulan’s love interest has changed, as it’s no longer Li Shang but instead Chen Honghui, which is not sitting well with fans thus far.
7 Needs A Remake: Treasure Planet
Based loosely on the classic novel and film Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Planet told the tale of an intergalactic quest fueled by treasure and space pirates, yet the film felt stale at times and didn’t live up to its full potential. While Treasure Island might be lost in the high seas after the wide spanning franchise of Pirates of the Caribbean, Treasure Planet could give Disney a high octane action adventure set in a large galactic setting, which is perfect now that Disney owns the rights to another popular space saga, Star Wars.
6 Needs A Remake: Tangled
This borders on the good/bad line as a lot of people (myself included) loved Tangled. Yet in the grand scheme of future films in this animation style, the film did not live up to the adventurous style of storytelling of future films like Frozen or Big Hero 6. However the story of Rapunzel is not only a classic, but the changes made to the story allowed for a powerful story to be told, and would be perfect for a live action remake with a wonderful musical score.
5 Bad Remake: Prince Charming
This next remake that is set to come out in the next few years feels very unnecessary. Cinderella was a classic film with a strong female protagonist, (especially in the recently beloved live action remake that gave the animated film’s original story-lines more purpose.) Yet now plans for a live action remake of a Cinderella character like Prince Charming is on the way, and it feels… wrong. Taking a female led film like Cinderella and spinning off a story about the male lead almost feels like it’s taking away from the original story somehow. Don’t we have enough male led heroic prince stories to rely on?
4 Bad Remake: James And The Giant Peach
This classic stop motion animated film already featured a bit of live action elements, and yet Disney is planning a fully fledged live action remake about a young boy who escapes his evil caregivers by joining a group of giant talking bugs inside of a giant peach and traveling across the country. The original was such a classic, it feels wrong that they would eliminate the stop-motion of the original and more likely bring a CGI element into the mix.
3 Bad Remake: Chip ’n Dale: Rescue Rangers
Don’t ask me why, but for some reason Disney has decided to try their hand at CGI/Live action driven films by remaking the classic animated series, Chip ’n Dale: Rescue Rangers. Starring the classic animated stars Chip and Dale, the series followed their adventures as explorers and detectives across the world with a rag tag group of other allies. Yet if history is any indication, this film is likely to be similar in animation style to the recent live action Alvin and the Chipmunks films, which were not very highly praised at all.
2 Needs A Remake: Brother Bear
Another opportunity to explore a different culture and era, Brother Bear feels like the perfect film to remake. While receiving mixed reviews, the film explores a post-Ice Age era in Alaska about a young man who seeks revenge for the loss of his brother at the hands of a bear, but in so doing finds himself transformed into a bear and must learn about the power of love over violence, and forgiveness over vengeance. It’s a story about nature, anti-violence and the power of love, and mixing live-action with the CGI elements of the upcoming Lion King remake would make this the perfect film for a live action remake itself.
1 Needs A Remake: The Fox And The Hound
While averaging mixed to positive reviews, a lot of fans considered the animated film The Fox and the Hound to be too boring. While I myself grew up on that film and loved it, not everyone was a big fan, and yet it presents the perfect opportunity for a live action remake.
In the same vein as The Lion King remake, The Fox and the Hound could feature some spectacular live action performances from the human characters and amazing CGI from the animals themselves, especially Tod and Copper. A story of friendship knowing no bounds and fighting against the expectations put upon us by others, this represents a fantastic film to turn into a live action remake.