I’m yet to be convinced by Disney’s plan to remake all of its animated film as live-action. At best, they can be described as fine. At worst, they’re pointless. The best by far is The Jungle Book because it was only slightly concerned with the original film. I guess Maleficent worked pretty well but I wonder how much that had to do with Angelina Jolie rather than the actual film. So, I wasn’t exactly hyped when it was announced that Cruella DeVil, first seen in 1961’s One Hundred and One Dalmatians, was getting an origin story. Or that she was going to be played by Emma Stone. Don’t get me wrong, I love Emma Stone but she’s no Glenn Close. The 1996 remake did many things wrong but casting Close as the villain was a genius stroke. I didn’t see how Stone would be able to compete and that was before I heard her dodgy accent.
Have we all seen the Cruella trailer? I have to admit that it’s better than I expected it to be. Although I really wasn’t expecting much. I definitely wasn’t overjoyed when Disney announced that they were giving one of their most heinous villains a solo feature. After all, you can’t exactly do a Maleficent to a woman whose sole mission was to kidnap and skin puppies. I don’t see how you can try and humanise something that like. Are they going to try and convince us that Cruella’s only sin is that she was overlooked in the fashion industry? That she was too daring? Or maybe she’ll have been bitten by a Dalmatian as a child and that’s why she’s so keen to turn them into clothing? What is more likely is that this will be a film similar to Joker which suggests it was merely an issue with mental health treatment that allowed Cruella to become the monster we know her to be. I wasn’t here for Todd Phillips’ nonsense so why would I want Craig Gillespie’s gender swapper version? Also, why is nobody talking about how irritating and bad Emma Stones’ British accent is? I love her but it does not work for this character. How did she get it so right in The Favourite but not here? Shocking.
The live-action Disney remakes are a curious thing. They’re making a shit-ton of money but, from what I can tell, nobody really likes them. I guess that not only means that we’re all suckers for going to see them but that Disney really is despicably good at business. We all love to get nostalgic and the curiosity of seeing how they’ve been updated is always going to get people buying tickets. It’s the reason that I initially bought so many of the books in The Austen Project. Of the live-action Disney movies that I’ve seen, only The Jungle Book really worked. I’m hopeful that Mulan will be amazing because it’s refusing to go down the musical line. It’s not that I don’t love a musical because I bloody love a musical. There’s a reason why my Spotify end of year round-up was mostly the Hamilton soundtrack. It’s just, Disney animated movies work as musicals because they’re animated. You don’t need to question why everyone’s singing because it’s not real. When the action starts to get realistic, that starts to be problematic. Stage musicals work in a similar way because you accept that you’re watching a play. Live-action films become a little tricky. It can work. I know I didn’t like Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables but, because there is no spoken dialogue, the singing at least makes sense. The live-action Disney movies raise too many questions. Especially when you add animals into the mix. So, when the new Aladdin film came out last year, I wasn’t convinced it would work for me. But, I have been a long-time lover of Will Smith’s musical career, so I wanted to give him a chance. It was time to find out once and for all.