Movie Adaptations And What They Mean For The Film Industry

The slow saturation of reused ideas in the most influential entertainment industry of the world.


You’ve just made it out of a stressful day at school or work, and you hit the couch with a thud as you scroll through your recommended list on Disney Plus. The first thing you notice are the new releases, being a new Marvel series episode, maybe an original animated short/movie, and then another retelling of 101 Dalmatians. This kind of trend seems to be all too common in the modern entertainment industry, where a book or a beloved movie from the past gets a retelling or remake for seemingly no reason. Making a remake is inherently fine, but is there a reason for why this kind of tactic should be practiced, or are they simply banking on nostalgia?

A good place to start on it is what could come from it. The most worrying part of it all is how a studio may react to its success. Many, including myself, can trace Disney’s seeming addiction back to 2016’s The Jungle Book. It wasn’t the first live action Jungle Book made by Disney, and not the first live action Jungle Book in the industry either. Obviously, it was a Disney production, so none of this was on a viewer’s mind while enjoying the film. It was wholly inoffensive and virtually the same as the original film. It wasn’t nearly as stand-out as their 2019 project using the same technology…

In 2019, Disney released a “live action” version of The Lion King. Disney would release several other CGI remakes before this, but this was when it really started to become apparent to audiences. Most viewers declared that the film lacked the original soul that the animated original had. This same sentiment would be felt by many after the release of the live action Mulan. It lacked a good number of memorable characters like the dragon Mushu and went for a story that was significantly more serious yet nonsensical compared to the animated classic. Disney seemed to have taken note of people’s reactions to these changes, even if you still had to pay 30 dollars plus your subscription to see this film. At this point, it seems all too apparent that they aren’t thinking for your entertainment anymore than they are your wallet.

It’s not all bad news though. While the idea of live action hasn’t left the minds of most film-makers, people have gotten more ambitious with the individual properties they are using. Mr. Edolo, who runs Film Studies, stated, “My son loves Tom And Jerry!” Which does somewhat run into my next point. Not all movies are trying to make sense or be serious. In the recent release, the well known characters find themselves in a high end, live action hotel and continue their usual hi jinks, even if with some human story lines sometimes run over it. The movie is simple to the point that a smile is sure to slide across your face. Not every film has to adhere completely to what they originate from.

In closing, a remake or retelling isn’t inherently a bad thing. While it may feel like the film is a cash grab attempting to bank on your nostalgia (which it is), people can do some wonderful things with a beloved character and a good idea. I suppose there’s no one way or the other on how a movie should be handled, or if using a popular remake is the right call. Sometimes, all you need is to suspend your disbelief (and watch a movie that stays true to the original material. That’s pretty important.)