Disney live-action remakes ranked best to worst: From 'Cinderella' to 'The Jungle Book'
Friday marks the long-awaited release of the latest Disney live-action remake, Beauty and the Beast.
The retelling, which stars Emma Watson and Dan Stevens as Belle and the Beast, respectively, has been earning decent reviews. While it's sure to be a good time, not every Disney remake has improved on the original animated versions.
There has been a recent influx of live-action remakes of Disney's most memorable pictures, beginning with the monster success of 2010's Alice In Wonderland. Since then, the studio has been busy updating their classics for a new audience. There are even more remakes on the way, including Mulan and The Lion King.
Before heading out to see the Beauty and the Beast cast sing-talk its way through 130 minutes, check out our ranking of the best and worst Disney live-action remakes. Did your favorites make the list?
One of the more magical and inspired live-action remakes, 2015's Cinderella shines the brightest of all the retellings. The original animated film is fine and has some great songs, but it's not in the league of Aladdin, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast or The Little Mermaid.
Thanks to an outstanding cast, the Kenneth Branagh-directed version surpasses the 1950 original. Cate Blanchett turns in a standout performance as the evil Stepmother, and Lily James is a vision in the title role. Helena Bonham Carter also excels in an unexpected turn as the Fairy Godmother.
101 Dalmatians (1996)
In 101 Dalmatians, Glenn Close gives one of the best performances of her career next to more than 100 dogs. Yes, the movie is cheesy and maybe too sweet, but that's how good she is. Close as Cruella de Vil elevates the remake beyond expectations. It's one of her many career-defining roles, and it turns the remake into one of the studio's most memorable efforts. It's truly iconic.
The Jungle Book (2016)
Disney created a new masterpiece for a modern generation with The Jungle Book. The film is a visual achievement with special effects that create a mesmerizing world, a stunning effort that isn't overdone but still makes us shed a tear. The remake manages to recapture the magic of the original film for a new audience. Featuring all-star voices like Bill Murray, Lupita Nyong'o and Scarlett Johansson, the cast fills the Jon Favreau-directed film with even more warmth.
Pete's Dragon (2016)
One of the problems with some of Disney's live-action remakes is the magic from the animated films sometimes gets lost in translation. Pete's Dragon is a visually stunning and enjoyable film, but without the silly '70s charm of the original, it's also forgettable. That said, the visual effects are outstanding and it's a solid effort from the studio.
Alice In Wonderland (2010)
Alice In Wonderland made a lot of money. Like, a lot of money. It made so much money, you kind of forget it grossed more than $1 billion worldwide at the box office. While the film was a monster success, the Tim Burton film came and went at the height of the 3D craze. Though it was harmless at the time, it hasn't aged well and became more of a chore to sit through.
Maleficent represents a major problem with the live-action Disney remakes: It's too serious. It's a very dark, grim retelling of the legendary villain that does her little justice. The film gets kudos for taking the best part of the original film — Maleficent — and giving her the spotlight, but unfortunately, it's not enough to save it.
Like a lot of the films on this list, Maleficent is filled with visual effects — and while it could have been a gorgeous movie, it's overdone with dreary visuals. Angelina Jolie tries her best as Maleficent, but the film is bogged down by a boring script and amateurish direction.
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