Sequels and Remakes and Trailers, Oh My!

Is Disney ever going to slow down? You would think with all the live-action remakes and sequels that they are releasing this year, they would want to save something for the next year or two, but you would be wrong. It isn't enough that 2019 is jam-packed with live-action remakes and animated sequels because Disney announced last week that they are pushing up the release date for a sequel to one of their live-action remakes. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, the next chapter to their 2014 flick that told the story of Sleeping Beauty from an new perspective, is coming this October. To be fair, Maleficent is different from Disney's other live-action remakes because it is not an unapologetic carbon copy that is doomed from to be inferior to the original from conception. With a script by the Disney Princess of screenwriting, Linda Woolverton, the movie puts a feminist spin on a fairly outdated tale about a damsel in distress who needed true love's kiss to restore her vitality. With its unprecedented twists and breathtaking visuals, Maleficent is by far my favorite of the live-action Disney era, but that doesn't mean I wanted a sequel.

The overwhelming lack of creativity in Hollywood as of late seems to be taking its toll on the House of Mouse this year more than ever. Virtually every Disney movie coming out in 2019 is either a sequel or a remake. I'm not saying I won't be running to theaters on opening weekend to catch Maleficent: Mistress of Evil because I definitely will, but the fact that its release date got pushed up by a year solidifies the fact that Disney is valuing quantity over quality. Will we have anything to look forward to after 2020 begins? Ever The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, their first original movie in ages, was a huge disappointment. Between the new Dumbo, Aladdin, The Lion King, Toy Story 4, Frozen 2, and now this, there's barely any room to come up for air. All of this happened after the cancellation of Disney's refreshingly original animated feature Gigantic. Personally, I'd rather wait a couple of years between movies if it means my patience will be rewarded with engaging stories and high production values than get jaded by seeing the same thing over and over again. How about a new Disney Princess?

I know I sound a bit like a Debbie Downer right now, and I'm not trying to be. Of all the live-action Disney remakes that could get a sequel, this is the one I would be the most interested in seeing. The first story was so different from its source material that there's still a lot of this new world we have yet to explore. Maleficent is a faery who had her wings restored at the end of the first movie, which is pretty awesome. This version of Princess Aurora became queen of the Moors at the end, which was also awesome. We rarely get to see a beloved Disney Princesses become queen after her story ends unless you count Ariel in The Little Mermaid 2. Plus, Maleficent spent most of her movie feigning hatred for Aurora, so there's a lot of new ground we can cover with their newly formed mother/daughter relationship. This movie has a ton of potential, but I'm going to keep my expectations low.

Speaking of low expectations, when I was about to wrap this blog post, Disney dropped a brand new trailer for their live-action Aladdin remake that's coming out on May 24th. This trailer focuses more on the music from the original film than the last one. Though a lot of it is a rehash of clips we've already seen, it features small tastes of Will Smith performing "Friend Like Me" and Naomi Scott performing her solo portion of "A Whole New World" along with extremely brief visuals from both scenes. All of the footage in the trailer has a déjà vu sense of familiarity to it while lacking the exuberant life and color of the original 1992 animated feature. When you take a masterpiece that was so beautiful and magical and try to ground it in the real world, it will inevitably lose some of that magic that made it feel so dream-like and unreachable. I had similar feelings about the Broadway version of the show. You can judge for yourself by watching the latest trailer below.

The Disney market is so over-saturated with sequels and remakes right now that we have no choice but to look forward them because there's nothing else to look forward to. In my opinion, Moana was the last great princess movie. It feels like 2016 was so long ago now. I would love to see them put a new spin on a fairy tale they haven't attempted yet such as "The Princess and the Pea" or "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." Instead they continue to celebrate their own accomplishments from the past instead of moving forward. As a result, we now have a ton of sequels and live-action remakes coming out this year along with a sequel to a live-action. It may sound like I've lost my sense of wonder, but a part of me is still eager to see if they will surprise us by taking these stories in a new and unexpected direction or if it will just be more of the same.


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