Do You Know What Is A Live-Action Movie? Get To Know More About This Disney Phenomenon

“Aladdin”, “Dumbo”, “The Lion King”, “Maleficent 2”... We’re in the era of live-actions! This cinematographic technique is the new Disney’s bet and is taking millions of children - and adults - to the theaters this year. Do you want to discover more about this peculiar aesthetic that became a world fever? Here you’ll find everything you need to know about this! Keep reading! 

What Is A Live-Action?

According to the Cambridge dictionary, live-action is a term of the audiovisual industry, used to define all the movies that involve “real people and animals, not models or images that were drawn or produced by a computer”. A live-action can even combine real actors with animated or computer-generated characters and objects (a technique called CGI - Computer-Generated Imagery). 

The first Disney movie to combine animation with live-action was released in 1944, and shows the adventures of Donald Duck, Zé Carioca and Panchito in a travel to many Latin America countries. When these three friends visit Salvador, they met Aurora Miranda - the sister of Carmen Miranda - and sing and dance with her in an ICONIC scene! 

A movie doesn't have to be an adaptation of an animation to be considered a live action. Every movie that uses real actors and realistic backdrops can be included into this category. Titanic, for example, is also a live-action, just like A Star Is Born and many others! 

Why Is Disney Doing So Many Adaptations?

In 1994, "Mogli" became the first animation Disney turned into a live-action. Despite the success of the movie, Disney abandoned the adaptations market, returning only 10 years later, with the famous version of “Alice in Wonderland” made by Tim Burton. However, after earning more than US$ 1 billion, the studio started investing in producing at least one live-action per year. 

To Alceu Baptistao, the founding of Vetor Zero, the biggest animation studio in Latin America, the truth is that Disney discovered in live-actions a gold mine! Well, the company is really earning so much more from these remakes than did before, with previous animations.

“Commercially and artistically, it is a great decision. It’s like relaunching all its classics with a new visual, and everyone will pay to see it. This, in fact, promises an additional gain to the studio, as each new remake creates curiosity to revise the original. Franchise products also starts being sold again”, points Alceu. 

And more than just keeping the classic plots from being forgotten, live-actions also allow scripts to be adapted to the thinking and tastes of the new generations. No wonder, in a generation engaged with social movements, we start finding, for example, empowered princesses, as Jasmine and Belle in their respective remakes. 

What About The Risks Of Making Live-Action Adaptations?

Turning an animation into a live-action movie implies bringing fantastic universes closer to the world we live in and, consequently, "humanizing" characters. These changes, however, are not always approved by many spectators. 

In July, Disney announced that the one chosen to play Ariel in the remake would be Halle Bailey, an African-American actress and singer. Some have seen Halle’s lineup as a way of promoting representativeness in the Disney movie, but others have claimed that the change would misplace the story. The outrage of some of the public was so big that Halle had to close her personal Instagram for comments to guard herself against racist comments.

About it, Alceu comments: "Many people wrinkle their noses, thinking that these new versions will somehow 'defile' or 'destroy' the original ones. I find this view quite naive and narrow-minded. The original movies will continue to exist, and will still be appreciated by children of many generations, who can now watch two versions of the same story”.

Controversy: “The Lion King” Is A Live-Action?

The live-action version of “The Lion King” hit the theaters in May 2019 and its visual divides professionals in the field. The cartoonist and animator Daniel Spenser has positioned himself on Twitter saying that, even though it’s a visual productions that mimics real animals, it stills an animation as it was entirely produced with computer-generated images. 

Alceu Baptistao explains this controversy: “The idea is to approach the production as if it were real, in the smallest detail. Even camera movements have been restricted to what a physical camera allows. The exaggerated cartoon expressions have been softened not to conflict with the real lion’s appearance”. 

According to him, the search for a documentary language, the naturalistic interpretations, the extreme realism of the renderings, all lead the treatment loser to what would be a live movie, “if it were possible to shoot talking animals”. That’s why Disney producers refers to this movie as a live-action one! 

More Live-Actions Are Coming Soon!

Now that you know more about this new world fever, you are prepared to FREAK OUT with all the new versions that Disney is producing! By 2023, the studio will release 13 live-actions inspired by their classic animations. Check out some of them here:

1. Maleficent 2 - October 17, 2019

Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning are back as the main characters. This time, they wonder about the complex family ties that blind them as they are pulled in different directions by marriages, unexpected allies, and new forces of evil.

2. Lady and the Tramp - November 12, 2019 (EUA)

Justin Therouxe and Tessa Thompson will voice Lady and Tramp in this new version that will release in Disney+, the company’s streaming service. This adaptation promises to take the viewers breath away with the cuteness of the protagonists!

3. Mulan - March 26, 2020

The new version of Mulan's story hits theaters now with the chinese actress Liu Yifei playing the protagonist. The project will bring references to the original animation and also the legendary Chinese history that inspired the movie in the 1990’s.

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