In an alternate reality, we’d be watching Disney’s latest live-action remake in theaters. Unfortunately, like many movies at this time, Disney's remake of the 1998 classic Mulan has been delayed.
We will have to wait and see how the live adaptation, starring Liu Yifei as the fearless, spirited title character, and Jet Li as the Emperor of China, compares to the original 1998 cartoon. Will it be exactly the same? Will it be a box office smash or a dud?
Although we can’t answer these questions at this time, let’s look back at the top 10 Disney live-action remakes of the last decade.
10. Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Like many Tim Burton films, Alice in Wonderland offers stunning visuals. Where it went wrong in the eyes of critics is that the film deviates from the nonsensical literature of the books, and instead tells an action-packed story. Even superb performances from a stellar cast led by Johnny Depp weren’t enough to save this trippy tale from a 51% Tomatometer score.
9. The Lion King (2019)
An all-star cast, realistic-looking lions, beautiful scenery, and the re-telling of a classic tale...what more can you ask for? Critics believed the live adaptation of The Lion King lacked the energy and heart that made the original so special, giving it a rating of 53% on the Tomatometer. Moviegoers felt differently about the 2019 version, giving it an 88% approval rating.
8. Maleficent (2014)
A ravishing performance from Angelina Jolie and dazzling special effects made Maleficent a sight to be seen. Unfortunately, the supporting cast and story weren’t received as positively by the critics and audience, scoring only 54% on the Tomatometer.
7. Aladdin (2019)
The live adaptation contains the flare and magic that made the original 1992 film so special and Will Smith brings his own welcome twist to the Genie. Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott also have great on-set chemistry. The main issue is that the production made it seem more like a Bollywood set rather than a real-life place. Like the aforementioned movies, Aladdin lacks the charm of the original. The audience didn’t seem to mind, rating it a 94%, while critics were a little more harsh, giving it a rating of 57%.
6. Lady and the Tramp (2019)
Everyone remembers the iconic spaghetti-sharing scene of the original Lady and the Tramp. What’s different about this Disney classic remake is the smaller budget compared to other recent Disney films and the fact that this film was released straight to Disney+. The storyline was adorable and a fun way of retelling a classic story. It did fairly well for a streaming release, receiving a 68% approval rating.
5. Beauty and the Beast (2017)
A tale as old as time with a fresh perspective, this classic was led by an enchanting performance from Emma Watson. The attention to detail was heavily praised, leading to a score of 71% on the Tomatometer.
4. Christopher Robin (2018)
This heartwarming, live-action adventure brings back the magic and imagination that long escaped from Christopher Robins’ childhood. A charming, sweet story that sat well in the eyes of critics, scoring a 73% approval rating.
3. Cinderella (2015)
Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella is another classic that has been revamped to capture the minds of a more modern audience. Lily James does a phenomenal job as Ella and Cate Blanchett stars as the eerie wicked stepmother, creating a strong dynamic that critics and casual movie fans alike approve of. Cinderella comes in with a grade of 84% on the Tomatometer.
2. Pete’s Dragon (2016)
Pete’s Dragon was able to accomplish what many other live adaptations fell short of doing; providing a fresh perspective while capturing the magic and charm of the original alive and well. It is a lovable adventure for the entire family with a grade of 88% on the Tomatometer.
1. The Jungle Book (2016)
We saved the best for last! The remake of The Jungle Book is the cream of the crop for Disney live-action remakes. An updated, colorful story with masterful CGI helped lead The Jungle Book to an astonishing 94% on the Tomatometer, and has been noted at being better than the original cartoon version.
Although it may seem like the critics have an unfavorable view on a number of Disney’s live adaptations, the iconic films still manage to be box office hits and it seems they have no plans of slowing down. It will be interesting to see where Mulan ranks among the critics and the crowd. All we know is we can’t wait until it hits theaters!