Disney Live Action Remakes: 1994 - 2014

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The Jungle Book (1967 / 1994)

Film1967 Animated Original1994 Live Action Remake
DirectorWolfgang ReithermanStephen Sommers
PlotMowgli, an abandoned baby boy, is found in a basket in the jungle by Bagheera, a panther. He is raised by wolves in the jungle, but when he is older his life is threatened by Shere Khan the tiger, who hates all humans. Although Mowgli wishes to stay in the jungle, developing a close attachment with Baloo the carefree bear, Bagheera feels only by living in a village surrounded by people will he be safe from Shere Khan.
Length76 minutes
SettingA jungle in India.
Characters
  • Mowgli, an orphaned 'man cub' boy (Bruce Reitherman)
  • Baloo, a bear (Phil Harris)
  • Bagheera, a panther (Sebastian Cabot)
  • King Louie, an orang-utan (Louis Prima)
  • Shere Khan, a Bengal Tiger (George Sanders)
  • Kaa, a python (Sterling Holloway)
  • Colonel Hathi, an elephant (J Pat O'Malley)
  • Akela, a wolf (John Abbott)
SourceThe Jungle Book (1894) and The Second Jungle Book (1895) by Rudyard Kipling
Songs:All by the Sherman Brothers, except 'The Bare Necessities' by Terry Gilkyson.
  • 'Trust in Me'
  • 'Colonel Hathi's March'
  • 'The Bare Necessities'
  • 'I Wanna Be Like You'
  • 'That's What Friends Are For'
  • 'My Own Home'
Bechdel

101 Dalmatians (1961 / 1996) 102 Dalmations (2000)

Film1961 Animated Original1996 Live Action Remake102 Dalmatians (2002)
DirectorWolfgang Reitherman, Hamilton Luske and Clyde GeronimiStephen Herek Kevin Lima
PlotDalmations Pongo and Perdita, who live with Roger and Anita, have 15 puppies. Yet Anita's evil school friend Cruella De Vil plots to kidnap the puppies. Owning 84 other Dalmation puppies, she wishes to turn the dogs' skins into a Dalmatian fur coat.
Length76 minutes99 minutes96 minutes
SettingLate 1950s London
Characters
  • Cruella de Vil (Betty Lou Gerson)
  • Roger Radcliffe (Ben Wright)
  • Anita Radcliffe (Lisa Davis)
  • Horace Badun (Frederick Worlock)
  • Jasper Badun (J Pat O'Malley)
  • Nanny (Martha Wentworth)
  • Pongo, a Dalmatian (Rod Taylor)
  • Perdita, a Dalmatian (Cate Bauer)
  • Colonel, a Sheepdog (J Pat O'Malley)
  • Sergeant Tibbs, a tabby cat (David Frankham)
  • Captain, a horse (Thurl Ravenscroft)
  • Rolly, a Dalmatian (Barbara Baird)
  • Patch, a Dalmatian (Mickey Maga)
  • Penny, a Dalmatian (Sandra Abbott)
  • Lucky, a Dalmatian (Mimi Gibson)
SourceThe Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith (1956)
Songs:'Cruella De Vil' by Mel Leven
Bechdel

The 101 Dalmatians live action remake is quite a fun film written and produced by John Hughes, best known for films such as Home Alone and Weird Science. As you might expect the goons, played by the excellent Hugh Laurie and Mark Williams, get put through painful situation after painful situation and steal the show from everyone else, including Glenn Close who plays Cruella De Vil.

Yet John Hughes seems to have set the film in an England inexplicably populated with raccoons and skunks, and where people strongly stereotypical English accents but the words they say are Americanisms…? Why? Okay, there's no real British substitute for a skunk but the gags featuring raccoons (who, for example, sabotage the baddies by putting nuts in the 'truck tailpipe' rather than in the van's exhaust) would have equally worked with squirrels, badgers, foxes, deer – any animal actually found in the UK. It really doesn't matter if the story is set in either England or in America, pick one and be consistent. Don't set it in an Americanised England, that's just wrong.

Sadly whenever Disney make a film about animals, they end up being on people who can't cope's Christmas lists. So this film led to abandoned Dalmatians, just as 'Finding Nemo' led to a huge demand for clownfish, many of which ended up dead as their new owners couldn't look after them. This is why 102 Dalmatians' first end credit is a giant notice saying something like 'If you are thinking of getting a dog, research it first carefully', presumably to address the issue of abandoned Dalmatians following the first film.

In 102 Dalmatians they cast Gerard Depardieu, a very talented, multi-award winning French actor who is often considered to be among France's best, as a furrier. The casting discussion at Disney seems to have gone along the following lines:

Exec 1: Great news! We've got Gerard Depardieu to appear in '102 Dalmatians'.

Exec 2: That is great news, he's one of the best European actors alive today. What role is he playing?

Exec 1: He's foreign, so he pronounces the word 'puppy' as 'poo-pee'.

Exec 2: Just that?

Exec 1: Oh no – he then pronounces 'puppy' as 'poo-pee' again. And again. And again. And again, again, again, again and again.

Exec 2: That does not get old!

Alice in Wonderland (1951 / 2010)

Category1951 Animated Original2010 Live Action Remake
DirectorsClyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske and Wilfred JacksonTim Burton
PlotBored with life in Victorian England, Alice wishes she could live in a world of nonsense. Soon after, she follows a waistcoat-wearing white rabbit down a rabbit hole to Wonderland, a world where nothing makes sense.
Length75 minutes
SettingWonderland, a fantasy land found down a rabbit hole.
Characters
  • Alice (Kathryn Beaumont)
  • Mad Hatter (Ed Wynn)
  • Queen of Hearts (Verna Felton)
  • King of Hearts (Dink Trout)
  • Tweedledum and Tweedledee (J Pat O'Malley)
  • March Hare (Jerry Colonna)
  • Caterpillar (Richard Haydn)
  • Cheshire Cat (Sterling Holloway)
  • White Rabbit (Bill Thompson)
  • Pat the Dodo (Bill Thompson)
  • Dormouse (Jimmy MacDonald)
SourceLewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (1871)
Songs:The songs are strongly based on the work of Lewis Carroll, using many of his verses. Lyrics adapted by Bob Hilliard, Music by Sammy Fain except where stated:
  • 'Alice in Wonderland'
  • 'In a World of My Own'
  • 'I'm Late'
  • 'The Caucus Race'
  • 'How D'Ye Do and Shake Hands' (uncredited)
  • 'The Walrus and the Carpenter'
  • 'Old Father William' - by Oliver Wallace and Ted Sears
  • 'We'll Smoke the Blighter Out' - by Oliver Wallace and Ted Sears
  • 'All in a Golden Afternoon'
  • 'A E I O U' - by Oliver Wallace and Ted Sears
  • ''Twas Brillig' - by Don Raye and Gene de Paul
  • 'A Very Merry Un-birthday (The Un-birthday Song)' - by Mack David, Al Hoffman & Jerry Livingston
  • 'Very Good Advice'
  • 'Painting the Roses Red'
  • 'March of the Cards'
Bechdel

Maleficent (2014)

FilmSleeping Beauty (1959)Maleficent (2014)
DirectorsClyde Geronimi, Eric Larson, Wolfgang Reitherman and Les ClarkRobert Stromberg
PlotWhen Princess Aurora is born, evil Maleficent curses her. Aurora is initially doomed to prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die before dusk on her 16th birthday, although the curse is changed so that instead of dying, she will sleep until awakened by her true love's kiss. Aurora is brought up by her three fairy godmothers as a peasant and renamed 'Briar Rose' to keep her hidden from the curse1 yet on her 16th birthday, Maleficent discovers her whereabouts just as she encounters her true love.
Length72 minutes
SettingAn unnamed mediæval kingdom in the 14th Century
Characters
  • Maleficent (Eleanor Audley)
  • Princess Aurora 'Briar Rose' (Mary Costa)
  • Flora (Verna Felton)
  • Fauna (Barbara Jo Allen)
  • Merryweather (Barbara Luddy)
  • Prince Phillip (Bill Shirley)
  • King Stefan, father of Aurora (Taylor Holmes)
  • King Hubert, father of Phillip (Bill Thompson)
  • Owl (Dallas McKennon)
  • Samson, a horse
  • Narrator (Marvin Miller)
SourceThe Beauty sleeping in the Wood by Charles Perrault (1697), The Sleeping Beauty ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Ivan Vsevolozhsky (1890).
Songs:Music by George Bruns, Lyrics by Tom Adair unless stated:
  • 'Hail the Princess Aurora'
  • 'One Gift'
  • 'I Wonder' Music by George Bruns, Lyrics by Winston Hibler and Ted Sears
  • 'Once Upon a Dream' Music and Lyrics by Sammy Fain and Jack Lawrence
  • 'The Skumps Song' Music by George Bruns, Lyrics by Tom Adair and Erdman Penner
  • 'Sleeping Beauty'
  • 'Sing a Smiling Song'
  • The Sleeping Beauty Ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, arranged by George Bruns.
Bechdel

1In the 16 years they spend with her, it never seems to occur to any of them to show her a picture of a spinning wheel and warn her that, as she's been cursed, if she ever sees or touches one she will suffer a hideous, unspeakable fate.

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