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Ranking All of the Live Action Disney Movies

The 2010’s have been characterized by many important cultural phenomena, ranging from fashion and music all the way to politics. While the entire population won’t find interest in Lady Gaga’s iconic meat dress, there is one thing that almost everyone can find a common interest in- Disney. The media-giant started off the decade by releasing the first of their live-action remakes, sparking a flame that would ignite for the next nine years. Here, I’ll round up all of these films like the Circle of Life and rank them- just in case you planned on spending the long weekend binging some bibbidi-bobbidi-beautiful films.

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Without a doubt, Beauty and the Beast takes the cake as the best of the live action remakes. With an amazing cast, beautiful cinematography, and an excellent addition of new music, this film will undoubtedly be just as beloved as its animated counterpart for years to come.

Cinderella (2015)

While Cinderella didn’t follow the original film exactly, this adaptation proves to be more timeless than the original. The changes made to the 2015 version, such as the addition of Cinderella’s background story and giving the popular princess more agency, only enhance the film and give its younger viewers something more to aspire to. And who doesn’t want a princely Richard Madden?

The Lion King (2019)

This shot-for-shot recreation is characterized by the beautiful scenery found throughout the film, as well as an all star cast and a soundtrack for the ages. Queen Bey’s rendition of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” is enough to make even the most stoic person shed a tear, and James Earl Jones’s reprisal of his role is nothing short of amazing. Oh, and Beyonce and Disney? An iconic paring.

Dumbo (2019)

Much like Cinderella, Dumbo does not follow in the footsteps of its original animated film. However, this classic was due for a much needed revamping, no matter how good the OG was. The additions made to the film provide its viewers with more of a storyline to work with, while keeping the same touching nature of the original.

Aladdin (2019)

This highly anticipated remake was nothing short of amazing, and the addition of Jasmine’s solo song “Speechless” takes to the film to new heights. However, while many new aspects of Aladdin were spot on, Will Smith’s performance fell short. Nothing will be able to compete with the legendary Robin Williams, and it seemed as though Smith was trying too hard to live up to that legacy. But, other than that, an amazing film.

Christopher Robin (2018)

Maybe this film hit me at just the right time, but Christopher Robin opened waterworks in me that haven’t been opened since Toy Story 3. The nostalgic nature of the movie, and the title character’s reminiscence of his childhood created a touching and heartwarming story that my college-bound self could hardly handle.

Maleficent (2014)

While Angelina Jolie’s performance was nothing short of iconic, the change from the original storyline seemed to be a little too far out in this case. Had Disney focused on Maleficent’s backstory while keeping Aurora’s original plotline intact, this film would have ranked much higher. But alas, now we can merely think back at that alternate version as Once Upon a Dream.

The Jungle Book (2016)

Something about the live action adaptation of The Jungle Book fell short of the original in my eyes, even though it closely replicated the 1967 film. Although it starred actors such as Scarlett Johansson, there seemed to be room for more that wasn’t there, but we can look for the Bear Necessities with this one.

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Alice in Wonderland has never been one of my favorite Disney movies, but the Tim Burton adaptation was just a little too over the top for me. The cinematography in the film was undoubtedly stunning, but there will always only be room for one Johnny Depp character in the Disney universe-and that’s Captain Jack Sparrow.

 Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)

Much like it’s prequel, Through the Looking Glass just didn’t fulfill that classic Disney nostalgia for me. There didn’t seem to be a need for a sequel, and its release should have followed closer to the original to keep the flow of the series intact.

Endicott College English Literature and Language major.
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