What’s Up with All These Disney Remakes?

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The Jungle Book. Cinderella. Sleeping Beauty. Beauty and the Beast. For the past five years, Disney has been in an experimental relationship with live-action fairytales that (as far as I can tell) has no end in sight. In 2015, Cinderella racked in $132 million globally on opening weekend. Try $294 million for The Jungle Book. Needless to say with figures like these, Disney has taken a cute from Queen Bey is about to put a ring on remakes.

But what’s so magical about a remake, anyway?

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In high school, I did a lot of babysitting because I had no money and two X chromosomes. We watched The Lion King, Finding Nemo, Tarzan, the usuals. Every week, I would optimistically offer up suggestions for movies that I had loved growing up. The Aristocats, 101 Dalmatians, Snow White, Pinocchio, even The Jungle Book. After being shot down like Bambi’s mom time and time again, I finally caught on.

“That movie’s too slow.

“It’s a boring one.”

“No, that movie isn’t very funny.”

The next generation is a new audience with new expectations.

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But all hope is not lost. Many animation studios make the bulk of their profit from tentpole films, meaning movies with never-ending sequels like Kung Fu Panda 3, The Avengers, Shrek, etc. With the exception of Marvel and LucasFilms, Disney hasn’t relied too heavily on tentpole films in the past. Lion King 1 1/2 happened against our will, and yes, Pocahontas II disappointed audiences everywhere because apparently Mel Gibson is too good for sequels. But these were just home releases – a small boost, not a blockbuster.

But now the tides are turning. To stay relevant, Disney has three options. Generate new blockbusters (Frozen), reinvent forgotten classics (Pete’s Magic Dragon), or set up new tentpoles (Star Wars). While I believe all three are in the works, there seems to be a strong emphasis on creating forgotten classics with the goal of establishing new tentpoles.

Clear as mud, right?

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Basically, live-action remakes are low risk and high reward because fans already love the story. They’re also an easy (though expensive) way to reinvent old stories for young viewers, which will allow Walt’s legacy to stay relevant in the age of CGI. In short, it’s fish bait for your children. The craziest part? It’s working like magic.

So, what’s next for Disney?

According to US Weekly, “Other projects in the works from Disney, all set for release between 2017 and 2019, include A Wrinkle in Time, directed by Ava DuVernay; Jungle Cruise, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson; Dumbo, directed by Tim BurtonMaleficent 2, starring Angelina Jolie; and Jungle Book 2, a sequel to the just-released live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling‘s book, starring Neel Sethi,Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley and Idris Elba.”

Notice how I put this in quotes because I was too lazy to research it for myself. Regardless, you can see that Disney is preparing for a tidal wave of live-action profit, that will hopefully position the company for years of financial gain and never-ending merchandise opportunitites.

Personally, I think this is excellent news. The possibilities are literally endless, folks! I am thrilled to see old Disney icons like Pongo, Belle, Marry Poppins, and Mowgli meet fresh, young eyes because these characters mean something to me. As they live on, so does a precious sliver of my childhood. Through these films, old dreams drift into the future. They are the Bing Bong to my Riley, the White Rabbit to my Alice.

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What are your thoughts on all of the remakes?

 

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Working Full Time, As Told by Disney

You’re fresh out of college, on the cusp of life’s great harvest, teeming with ambition. As successful grown-ups do, you secure a full-time job.

Oh, the joys that await! Personal fulfillment, professional connections—perhaps even a promotion. But sometimes working full time is not all that we expect it to be…

First, you have to wake up before the sky. Fives days a week. On the heels of afternoon classes and optional morning lectures, yeah, it’s gonna’ hurt. Maybe 8 a.m. classes weren’t such a bad idea…

But it’s okay! It’s an opportunity to make use of that state-of-the-art Keurig system—the one you can’t even afford in your dreams after student loans. Each refill is a piping hot dose of get-it-together-you-infantile-weakling. 

So, remember that crazy micromanaging professor who lost her marbles at the sight of a water bottle in her precious 1960s wasteland of a classroom? Yeah, she didn’t make it in the corporate world—surprise! Your dedication to hydration is longer under siege. 

By now, you’ve probably got a closet filled with oversized Kappa T-shirts and a rainbow road of Ugg boots. Get ready to wear your “interview outfit” every single day, because—surprise!—you’ve been dressing like a bum. 

And because you cannot ween yourself from the mocha teet of Starbucks, you are poor. Like Bon Bon self-manicure poor. Kiss Antonio Melani goodbye, because those boots were made for walking—right up to the Dillard’s return desk.

Even at the most amazing job, 40 hours per week can occasionally feel overwhelming. Sure, there’s weekends. But Monday will be back, and she is a brutal, brutal mistress. Proceed with caution, young dancing queens of the world.

Regardless of the pros and cons, all is righted on one day. For on this day—oh, glorious day!—a check is received. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou, pay day, surely art more lovely because NOW I’M FILTHY RICH, SUCKERS!

Naturally, there’s only one thing left to do.

Until you’re poor again.

It’s a vicious cycle, really. Yes the legend of the rent may be way hardcore, but the heroic tale of the entry-level worker bee is not complete. The dawn comes early and the coffee pot often runneth dry, but nothing beats financial independence. 

And that, dear readers, makes everything worthwhile.

 

Disney: Expectation versus Reality

Over the past twenty-some years, I’ve learned a lot about life from Disney. I mean, A LOT. Always wish upon a star, be a diamond in the rough, never tangle with a sea witch. But as you know, the movies aren’t always all they’re cracked up to be. Here are a just few Disney expectations that didn’t quite pass the test of reality.

1. Diving

Swim class? What the heck, Mom? I don’t need swimming and diving lessons in the fifth grade. Please. I learned everything I need to know about free-falling poise from Pocahontas.

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2. Sewing

Ugh. I have NOTHING to wear. You know what? I’m going to start making all of my own clothes. That’s right – all of them. I’ve seen Cinderella like a hundred times. Seriously, how hard could it be?

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3. Swimming

Ahhh-ahhh-ahhh, ahhh-ahhh-ahhh! Oh, hello there! Don’t mind me. I’m just gracefully flipping underwater in my swirly-twirly way whilst singing to the invisible marine life in my 3-foot swimming pool.

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4. Pirates

I’d walk your plank, Jack Sparrow.

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5. Wild Animals

Of course I want a pet raccoon. They have a mild temperament, wicked braiding skills and unparalleled affection – like snuggley feral kittens.

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6. Stranger Danger

Dance with you entirely alone in a dark secluded alleyway? I thought you’d never ask!

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7. Flying

Faith ✓ – Trust ✓ – Pixie Dust ✓

Houston, we’re ready for takeoff.

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So, what false expectations has Disney given you?

If You Give a Disney Princess a Cell Phone…

If you give a Disney princess a cell phone, she’s going to buy a cute cover. ASAP. I’m thinking precious his and hers matching cases. Adorable, right?

Now, if you give a princess a cell phone and she buys a cute cover, she’ll start texting all of her friends (well, those with opposable thumbs at least). Say goodbye to royal balls, saving China, growing legs and taming beasts – it’s text time. BRB.

If you give a princess a cell phone, she’ll buy a cute cover , start texting all her friends and jump on the Facebook bandwagon. Eventually she’s going to grow tired of texting the same old royals all the time, hearing the same old tales as old as time. She’s ready to branch out, make some new friends! Hello Facebook app…

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And Twitter…

And Instagram.

If you give a princess a cell phone, she’ll buy a cute cover, start texting all her friends, get hooked on social media and stumble upon her own Internet meme. Eventually, when there’s nothing to refresh on her Twitter feed, she’ll get sucked into the vortex known as Reddit and Imgur. She’ll spend all day LMFAOing at Disney princess hipster memes because who doesn’t enjoy their own meme?

That definitely includes the Disney Princess Musical, btw.

If you give a princess a cell phone, she’ll buy a cute cover, start texting all her friends, get hooked on social media, spend all day laughing at memes and take a few selfies. C’mon. Who doesn’t love a good selfie or two? Look out, Selfie Olympics! There’s a new queen in town, and she’s already got the gold.

If you give a princess a cell phone, she’ll buy a cute cover, start texting all her friends, get hooked on social media, spend all day laughing at memes, take a few selfies and inevitably tick off a few friends. I’m talking real drama, people. Like, Housewives of Beverly Hills drama.

If you give a princess a cell phone, she’ll buy a cute cover, start texting all her friends, get hooked on social media, spend all day laughing at memes, take a few selfies, tick off a few friends and start a full-fledged war. Of course, she’s still a princess, so this is a really great opportunity to show off her bad-a kung fu wardrobes. Oh, and her fighting skills too (said only Mulan).

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If you give a princess a cell phone, she’ll buy a cute cover, start texting all her friends, get hooked on social media, spend all day laughing at memes, take a few selfies, tick off a few friend, start a full-fledged war and die. All of them, dead. A troubling thought, I know. It’s okay, though! As princesses, they’re still fabulous post-mortem. This is a great opportunity to start  a punk rock band.

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If you give a princess a cell phone, she’ll buy a cute cover, start texting all her friends, get hooked on social media, spend all day laughing at memes, take a few selfies, tick off a few friend, start a full-fledged war, die and start a punk rock band. Wait. Can you imagine how terrible a Disney princess punk rock band would sound? Seriously, just no. The world has enough troubles already, so do us all a favor, won’t you?

Don’t give a Disney princess a cellphone.

12 New Year’s Resolutions from Disney Princesses

1. Make More Wishes

Whether it’s upon a dream, a well or a star, never stop thinking about your someday. Who knows? It might just come true.

2. Buy the Shoes

Who said a simple pair of shoes can’t change your entire life? Imagine how disappointed Cinderella would have felt had she settled for plastic. Exactly.

3. Get More Sleep

Okay, maybe 100 years is a little excessive. But couldn’t we all use a little more beauty sleep? Plus, you  might just wake up to a handsome prince. Don’t worry, you’ve met before – once upon a dream, of course.

4. Speak Up

Oh, so you didn’t have your voice ripped from your throat by a morbidly obese sea witch? Then don’t be such a guppy! If you don’t want be a poor unfortunate soul, then say what needs to be said.

5. Put Your Nose in a Book

There’s nothing like getting lost in a good book, amiright? Far off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, a prince in disguise! Your next adventure in the great wide somewhere awaits.

6. Discover a Whole New World

Who couldn’t go for a new fantastic point of view? Sometimes all you need is a new perspective to find that diamond in the rough.

7. Paint with All the Colors of the Wind

I really have no idea what this means, but I know I want to do it.

8. Be True to Your Heart

If that means chopping off your hair, dishonoring your family and rushing to join the army, then you just do it. Remember, the flower that blooms in adversity is the most beautiful of all. Now, cue cheesy 90s theme song.

9. Take the Plunge

You thought I was going to say work harder, didn’t you? Sometimes in life you just gotta’ take the risks, especially if that risk is a hottie named Naveen. Go big or go home, right?

10. Break a Few Rules

Rules were made to be broken, right? If you’re ready for your life to begin, then you gotta take a few chances. It could just be your best day ever!

11. Keep Your Eye on the Target

Remember all those hopes and dreams and goals? Go get them. Today is the day to change your fate, all you need is a little aim, a rockin’ bow and a hearty dose of bravery.

12. Let It Go

The most beautiful thing about a new year is the opportunity to start over. So for the first time in forever, let it go – leave your worries, fears and failures in the past.

Stuck in the Middle

Nobody’s favorite part of the movie is ever the middle, because the middle is something you sit through begrudgingly for the big payoff – the final battle, true love’s kiss. The middle is when you slip out to pee, answer your mother’s nagging call and grab another popcorn because ‘Merica. The middle is dull. The middle is blah. The middle is perfectly passable.

If the film of my life, I’m entering the middle: almost through with college, no wedding on the calendar, no buns in the oven, no dream job to run to and no future in some trendy metropolitan. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change a thing. But where is the life ABC Family amd romcoms promised me? You know, hip young twenty-something in a refurbished loft with a glamorous job, decked in high-end fashion (at a discount, of course). I have no refurbished loft, I work at a museum and I shop at Target.

What gives?

If my life were recorded on VHS, I could simply fastfoward through the days of penny-pinching, indecision and slurping Ramen noodles in the car. I could trade all the confusion for premium cable, real leather and a solid sense of self. I could even leave behind past failures, as unsalvagable as my Craigslist furniture. Best of all, I could shed adolescence without a single growing pain and cut straight to the happily-ever-after dance sequence.

But I wouldn’t.

What good is a glass slipper if Cinderella never even danced with the prince? Who would have cared if Frodo finally returned the ring were it not for 10 grueling hours of butt cramps? So what if Clark Griswold makes it to Wally World or if Harry Potter defeats the one who must not be named? Would it even matter that Romeo and Juliette died if they had never (way too quickly) fallen in love to begin with? Without the middle, does the story even matter?

The middle is either everything or nothing to you – and that makes all the difference.

Every mundane moment of every regular day will someday be your greatest treasure. You’ll look back and tell your grandchildren (or seven sweater-wearing cats) about life as a broke college kid, shopping at Target and working at some museum while living in a second-rate apartment with no overhead lights. Now, I don’t know what you’ve got planned for 2014, but I know what I’ll be doing. I will be cherishing today, tomorrow and every single ordinary day in this short but wonderful life.

Because someday, I know I’ll give anything to be stuck in the middle again.