Remake culture pulls classic Disney to the 21st century

While others find issue with the wide swath of Disney remakes, they prove a welcome return to childhood nostalgia.

For the past few years, it feels like Disney has inundated the movie theater with remakes of classics. This year alone, Disney is releasing a remake of “Dumbo,” “The Lion King” and “Aladdin.”

The question to ask is, are these remakes just worse versions of favorite classic stories churned out with the sole purpose of making money, or are they reminders of why we loved the originals?

Personally, I enjoy remakes. Not to say that I like all of them or that they aren’t cheesy and sometimes poorly redone, but I love the experience of seeing a childhood favorite movie remade.

When Disney released the newest “Aladdin” trailer, a group of my girlfriends and I got together and gushed about the new trailer. We dissected how close it was to the original and how weird it was to see Will Smith as the Genie.

Remakes are not just about nostalgia but about connecting with others. I didn’t know this group of friends when I was younger, but we all have fond memories of “Aladdin” that we can discuss and compare. When “Aladdin” comes out later this year, we are going to see it together.

Remakes are also nostalgic. They remind us of our childhoods and allow us to relive them again in a new way. Watching our memories personified and dance across the screen again allows them to live on and see favorite characters come to life once more.

Even if I don’t like the remake as much, I enjoy watching it and comparing it to the original. I enjoy seeing the new spins on the classic story and how they update it for the modern world.
There is always the hope that a remake might improve on the source material. Most don’t even come close to the original, but some exceed expectations.

For example, “Ocean’s 11,” the heist movie with George Clooney and Brad Pitt that came out in the early 2000s, was modeled after a ‘60s movie. The Clooney and Pitt version is almost indisputably considered better than the original.

As far as Disney classics that have been remade, I personally think the new “Cinderella” is better than the original. I still love the classic version, but the Prince and Cinderella’s love story is better developed in the one with Lily James. Plus, the Prince is named Kit as opposed to the original, in which he is referred to only as Prince Charming.

Naming the prince Kit humanizes him as opposed to him being merely a stereotypical archetype. This allows for a healthier relationship where the two people coming together have personalities and flaws rather than one of them just being a caricature.

Remakes also allow for a more diverse and inclusive cast. For example, the “Ghostbusters” remake that came out a few years ago featured all female leads. Although that movie was critically panned and not considered even close to the original, it shows that remakes have the freedom to keep up with the changing times.

The “Beauty and the Beast” that came out a couple of years ago definitely includes a more diverse and inclusive cast. It is another example of how remakes can reflect changing values without compromising on storytelling.

Additionally, remakes of Disney princess movies have been criticized in the past for having weak female protagonists. In their remakes, they have rectified past mistakes and modernized their princesses by making them stronger female leads. Rather than just having a girl fall for the prince and need to be rescued, the new female protagonists do not just wait around. The Disney princess remakes seem to be attempting to portray healthier relationships.

I know one of the main reasons Disney is remaking classics is for the money, but I honestly don’t mind. I love looking forward to seeing my favorite characters portrayed in a new way. I’ve loved Disney movies ever since I can remember, and I will continue to see their remakes as long as they keep making them.

Post Author: Lizzy Young