With the success of Maleficent in 2014, Beauty and the Beast in 2017, and the upcoming Christopher Robin movie, many of us who grew up with Disney are now clamoring for our other favorite Disney films to be made into live-action ones, too!
Creating live-action remakes seems to be a trend for popular animated movies and we don’t blame the creators. These tales are timeless and capture hearts. Taking spins on these tales and breathing new life into them just reignites our love for them and even transforms that magic we feel.
While all Disney films have their own magic, there’s something special about seeing the tales played out in live-action. It almost makes all that magic feel closer, nearer, and more possible for all of us! Live-action Disney films will easily attract audiences young and old–from those who are still fresh-faced to these incredible narratives to those who hold them with a nostalgic kind of love. Whoever you are, however young or old, these stories will move you!
Mulan is in the works as well as The Little Mermaid so we’ve got those covered. Peter Pan back in 2003 also became a quick classic so no worries on that front. Even Cinderella and all its visual magic in 2015 gave us goosebumps! The Jungle Book, too. But besides those, there are still so many to choose from! Here are the top 10 that we believe should be made into live-action films!
10. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
This is honestly one of the most underrated Disney movies ever made.
A gorgeous soundtrack along with a beautiful and complex narrative–this should have gotten an adaptation long ago. It wrestles with identity, religion, and justice all with Paris as its backdrop. With a spectacle of stained glass and beautiful architecture, we’re sure it’ll be a visual wonder and a deeply impactive film translation!
And, c’mon, don’t you want to hear the bells of Notre Dame? This one definitely belongs in the limelight!
And at last I see the light! This 2010 hit got us all sighing and rooting for our clumsy but starry-eyed heroine. Mixed in with a less-than-princely Eugene Fitzgerald (“Flynn Ryder”), a chameleon, and a very justice-oriented horse, it’s sure to get you hooked. Not to mention that dreamy scene with the lights and the boats. Sigh.
While we can see the hair being an issue for the actress, we think that it can definitely be done. Movie magic can make things happen!
8. The Emperor’s New Groove
Another lowkey treasure, The Emperor’s New Groove sort of changed the game for Disney! It was a funny hit that combined a lot of elements. A bright art style paired with a lightheartedness, it definitely challenged our notion of good storytelling. While it strayed from the usual fairytale structure, it definitely won us over!
It’d be interesting to see how they tackle Kuzco’s transformations! As well as depicting the quirkiness of the kingdom he rules over and how he operates.
7. Treasure Planet
This movie is a gem with a moving soundtrack and a fantastic concept. It is a clever adaptation of Treasure Island, setting things in a steampunk-esque universe with amazing technology depicted in rustic, familiar ways. The story of Jim Hawkins and his adventure is something that doesn’t immediately stand out when we think “Disney” but it is definitely a story that stays with you.
Seeing all the different characters come together will definitely be something we’d like to see! From human Jim to different species of pirate, it’s something that will translate beautifully on screen. Not to mention an entire planet filled with treasure–that is just full of potential!
This Disney movie really is a classic, one that isn’t given enough credit. It is visually arresting, has an awesome line-up in terms of soundtrack, and its narrative lends itself to ideas of courage, love, and acceptance.
6. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Atlantis: The Lost Empire is up there with Treasure Planet as another underrated success. Another departure from the typical fairytale formula, Atlantis instead prods at the historical, at what we, as a combined consciousness, may have forgotten. It unearths a world that we’ve only whispered about in our legends and myths.
Diving deep into a world beyond us, Atlantis is a thrilling adventure that would easily wow just as much in a live-action adaptation. The cast of characters is diverse and features characters with different backgrounds, all coming together to try and locate a place lost to us.
Atlantis is a film of wonder and discovery and being able to re-explore that wonder would give this story the love it deserves.
While this film features a song titled “Zero to Hero,” this hit wasn’t a zero at all. This film explores the world of Greek gods and goddesses, features catchy songs, and traverses what it means to be a true hero–it’s the whole package.
Hercules never lets up in terms of pace or storytelling. It builds and builds and grows along with its titular character. Hercules grows older and wiser and finally realizes what it really means to be truly heroic. It’s, as Phil says, “a work of heart.” Seeing this adapted will breathe new life to the classic and it’ll definitely go the distance.
Painting with all the colors of the wind has been something I’ve endeavored to do ever since I heard the phrase sung on Pocahontas. This 1995 beauty is arguably one of the most visually stunning Disney films released and deserves to get some love, too!
The classic tale of Pocahontas, a woman divided by her love for her people and her love to discover new things, would do wonders being adapted in the current context we live in. It upholds values many of us have forgotten: Prizing the love for our world around us along with seeing people not just for the color of their skin are things we should take to heart.
Translating this to live action would be such a joy and it’d bring people to theatres in droves. Pocahontas is timeless and wonderful and it definitely deserves a counterpart!
There’s a whole new world we can explore if Aladdin gets a remake!
It’s another film full of tunes that we grew up to. If your VHS player stopped working because you kept rewinding this movie, then you know you grew up watching the right stuff (sorry, mom and dad, I really liked this movie)! This one is easily a favorite among audiences of all ages. People are able to practically recite lines and belt out the songs from beginning to end seamlessly.
This movie in live-action would be captivating and would definitely grace our screens with actors of color! Yes to diversity!
2. The Princess and the Frog
Dreams do come true and not just in New Orleans! And hopefully, one of those dreams coming true is the dream to see this film in live action! There is nothing more colorful than New Orleans during Mardi Gras so to even imagine that in live-action is already thrilling in itself!
It’s not as old as some of the other items on this list but it still has a place in our hearts. And the fact that this movie excited many audiences because she’s Disney’s first African-American princess will definitely not be forgotten. In fact, it’ll probably roar back to life just strong enough for an African-American actress to take the screen, too!
Okay, yes, I know. This beauty was released just two years ago in 2016 but it doesn’t change the fact that it’d make an awesome live-action movie. Aside from the music, it also features an adventure of epic proportions and the gorgeous, rolling ocean.
Moana boasts a 96% rating on rottentomatoes which is a testament to its beautiful narrative and even more beautiful visuals. Tackling themes of bravery, leadership, sacrifice, and family, Moana definitely resonates with many hearts. While shooting creatures like the kakamora and even Te Fiti herself might be a bit of a challenge, seeing how they could possibly be conceptualized is already exciting. With a film already so imaginative and innovative, dreaming up a live-action version is nothing short of a delight.
Not to mention that the scene between Grandma Tala and Moana on the boat will probably hurt just as bad if adapted. And the song that comes after will be just as moving, if not more.
How about you? What are the films that you think should have live-action counterparts? Let us know!