Barely a month after announcing that they’d be unleashing Tim Burton on a live-action remake of Dumbo, Disney announced today that they’ll be releasing a live-action version of Winnie the Pooh, apparently unaware of the fact that Ted exists.
I’ve never been one to harp on remakes for their very existence — I might grumble that younger generations will view the remake as the definitive version, but a remake doesn’t mean the original ceases to exist — but this is just getting ridiculous. I joked a few weeks ago when Cinderella come out about Disney endlessly cycling back and forth, doing a live-action remake of an animated film only to later do a new animated version so they could release a new live-action version a decade or so later. But now that joke seems like it might be coming true.
So let’s see Disney have some balls. Do a live-action version of Fantasia. And not an updated film like Fantasia 2000 only with real people in it; I mean do the original 1940 version. Give us realistic CGI hippos cavorting with crocodiles. Give us Willem DaFoe as Chernabog. Have a real mouse in a wizard’s hat. Slap some wings on some horses and have them run around to Beethoven. All the music is in the public domain anyway, so they’d save a ton on that. They could probably open it to at least $40 million without even breaking a sweat.
After that, we’d be ready to accept whatever they throw at us. Animated versions of their nature films where they could drown all the lemmings they want with impunity. Live-action backstory films for every single villain. A live version of The Three Caballeros with, I don’t know, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short, I guess. The Aristo-LOL-cats.
Then, once all that’s done, go for the gusto: do a remake of Song of the South, only switch the live and animated parts of it. It’d be their chance to fix all the uncomfortably casual racism rampant in the original, because now it would be a lovable cartoon Uncle Remus all happy about being a slave, which makes it 100% more acceptable.
By that point, Disney will have made all the money in the world and can get around to the business of animating all the Star Wars films and never ever be in danger of entertaining an original thought again. Not as long as there are theme park rides still not made into movies.