The 15 live-action Disney remakes, ranked: Mulan to Lion King

Disney has dabbled in remaking animated classics in a live-action mildew, however after Tim Burton’s CG-filled Alice in Wonderland made one thousand million greenbacks, the corporate went all in on its live-action remakes.

Now, 10 years into the conversion technique, Mulan turns into the primary of those live-action remakes to circumvent theaters and land immediately on Disney Plus. It’s a daring transfer that would shift the business all in combination — however is Mulan definitely worth the $29.99? The place does it land on our definitive rating of live-action Disney remakes?

As with all just right rating, there are a couple of regulations to move over about which motion pictures we integrated and which of them we didn’t. The flicks needed to be remakes or re-imaginings of fully-animated Disney motion pictures; Maleficent would possibly not apply the precise plot of Drowsing Attractiveness, nevertheless it culls from the similar supply subject matter. The fabulous Pete’s Dragon, alternatively, doesn’t make the listing since the unique was once already partly live-action. The flicks at the listing additionally had to have a theatrical run — sorry, Kim Conceivable. In spite of everything, we’re together with the totally animated Lion King remake as it had transparent live-action ambitions (and there was once one non-animated shot within the film).

And now, please, be our visitor — a tune that one way or the other seems in two motion pictures in this listing — as we invite you to chill out, allow us to pull up a chair, because the Polygon personnel proudly items … our listing.

[Ed. note this post contains spoilers for every Disney live-action remake and the animated movies they’re based on.]

Mufasa and Simba in The Lion King.

Symbol: Walt Disney Studios

15. The Lion King (2019)

Whilst “live-action” doesn’t technically follow to this remake, director Jon Favreau sought after immaculate CG animation to trick audiences’ brains into believing what they watched was once actual. However through paving over the Pleasure Land with photorealistic natural world, The Lion King is based completely on nostalgia for the unique movie, staging awkward song-and-dance numbers with a brown palette and Earthly physics, and stripping the humanity out of each animal’s efficiency. The film makes the entire incorrect possible choices, together with the addition of 20 mins to the run time in order that a dung beetle can push a ball of poo around the African plains. In spite of everything it’s all joyless — even for Disney enthusiasts. No longer even Beyoncé can imbue this voice-over-heavy redux with lifestyles. —Matt Patches

Walt Disney Studios

14. Alice Throughout the Taking a look Glass (2016)

For all its issues (and it has such a lot of), 2010’s Alice in Wonderland nonetheless had a imaginative and prescient at the back of it. Tim Burton’s model of Wonderland was once aggressively colourful, and weird-for-the-sake-of-weird, nevertheless it additionally were given the advantage of being explored. The entire film was once about taking us on a excursion of an international and seeing every little bit of strangeness as Alice got here throughout it. In any other global it’s imaginable {that a} sequel, with a brand new director, will have performed one thing identical with any person else’s imaginative and prescient riding the colours of Wonderland. However the first one made one thousand million greenbacks in order that’s no longer the sector we were given.

Alice Throughout the Taking a look Glass is weighed down through the dramatic turns of an actual plot, and the load of looking to one up a predecessor whilst bringing again the whole thing that helped the primary film make such a lot cash. Because of this, the whole thing within the film simply looks like Tim Burton karaoke. It’s a hole imitation of the issues that resonated with an overly particular target market (our author Petrana, see under) six years previous when the unique was once launched. —Austen Goslin

Walt Disney Studios

13. The Jungle Guide (1994)

This film doesn’t have the rest in commonplace with the 1967 animated vintage apart from for names. The animals don’t communicate, as a result of nearly they all are performed through actual animals, nor do they romp throughout the jungle and lift a small human boy — once more actual animals — however whats up, the child’s title continues to be Mowgli. This Jungle Guide is extra of an action-adventure-romance about colonialism. After stumbling its approach thru nearly the precise plot of Tarzan, this Jungle Guide leads to a third-act set-piece immediately out of Temple of Doom. There’s a hidden historic temple stuffed with treasure, with booby traps, a vault that fills with sand (that buries a personality alive), and the most important snake you’ve ever noticed — which finishes up consuming the villain in a scene a long way too horrific for this film’s PG ranking.

If this model of The Jungle Guide were a colonialist drama about an Indian boy falling in love with a British woman who learns to recognize the sanctity of nature, or an Indiana Jones knock-off with some spectacular animal performing it might had been thrilling. As an alternative, it falls proper between the 2 and not manages to make both plot attention-grabbing. —AG

Walt Disney Studios

12. 102 Dalmatians (2000)

102 Dalmatians has the similar drawback many sequels with just right antagonists do: it fell in love with its villain. It’s simple to peer why. Glen Shut is fabulous as Cruella de Vil and appears to be having the time of her lifestyles. She’s a high-fashion sophisticate with a maniacal love of fur coats and a puppy-murdering plan to make the easiest one. Her title is mainly Merciless and Evil, her registration number plate reads Satan at a look, and Shut is aware of that this villain by no means must be any subtler than that.

However Cruella works within the unique since the film isn’t truly about her. She presentations up every time the film wishes a comic book elevate, or a frightening second, nevertheless it’s nonetheless concerning the heroic canines. The sequel isn’t. There are nonetheless canines, however the film cares extra about Cruella. Even if she’s in brief cured of her love of fur — sure through Dr. Pavlov, the names aren’t delicate right here — it’s exhausting to not understand that her unique, and long term, plan is to homicide 100 canines to make a coat. She’s the villain for a explanation why, and this film simply offers us an excessive amount of Cruella face-time for her to be a laugh anymore. What’s that? Disney’s creating a Cruella prequel … oh just right. —AG

Belle (Emma Watson) and her father (Kevin Kline) in Beauty and the Beast.

Picture: Walt Disney Studios

11. Attractiveness and the Beast (2017)

The only factor that truly struck me concerning the live-action Attractiveness and the Beast was once that, as a substitute of finishing on a shot of both of its two leads and even the Beast’s fort, it ended on a shot of the now-human former harpsichord, performed through Stanley Tucci, grinning thru a mouthful of false tooth after having misplaced all of his actual ones whilst in harpsichord shape. It’s a picture charged with macabre power, after which segues immediately right into a credit series that feels extra like an in memoriam reel than anything.

It’s one of the attention-grabbing factor concerning the movie, but even so Luke Evans’ terrific flip as Gaston. Emma Watson and Dan Stevens get misplaced in a CGI soup that simplest muddies what’s going down on display screen slightly than bettering or clarifying it. “Be Our Visitor” becomes the overall struggle in a superhero film slightly than a colourful culinary bonanza, and the brand new songs are, sadly, drags. —Karen Han

Maleficent (Jolie) looks fondly at Aurora (Elle Fanning).

Walt Disney Studios

10. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)

The live-action Drowsing Attractiveness riff Maleficent didn’t beg for a apply up, and but we were given one! And it generally is a lot worse than it’s. Angelina Jolie and Michelle Pfeiffer save the film with completely stellar performances, although it’s nonetheless exhausting to shop for that Pfeiffer’s Queen Ingrith desires to kill all fairies as a result of she … is allergic to flora? Thinks her brother died? We’re nonetheless no longer transparent about that. When the film specializes in Maleficent’s conflict with the royal circle of relatives, it regulations. The awkward meet-the-parents dinner is humorous and deliciously traumatic, as Jolie’s quips slice throughout the air with as a lot sharpness as her cheekbones. But if we pull clear of the circle of relatives drama to overarching mythology that nobody truly wanted, to myth battle that was once reputedly resolved within the first film, it drags. — Petrana Radulovic

Mulan stands among a group of soldiers in the Mulan remake

Picture: Jasin Boland/Walt Disney Photos

9. Mulan

The irritating factor concerning the Mulan remake is that all the threads of a just right film are there — a possibility for a extra correct retelling of the legend, tightly-choreographed struggle sequences, some beautiful beautiful cinematography — however the ultimate product is woven in combination clumsily. How a lot the filmmakers wish to depend at the 1998 animated movie in the end looks like indecision; there are not any songs on this model, however one of the crucial lyrics are nonetheless clunkily spoken out loud and really feel like “haha, see what we did there?” moments. The emotional beats that labored with the unique, like Mulan’s choice to run away and sign up for the military, really feel rushed. So why come with them in any respect when there are such a lot of further plot issues? In spite of everything, whilst there are a few things that paintings concerning the new model (I’m right here for the Shang alternative personality Chen Honghui and the beautiful dope struggle sequences throughout the town partitions), all in combination it simply makes me wish to rewatch the unique — a commonplace aspect impact of some of these dwell motion variations. — PR

Walt Disney Studios

8. Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Let me say that my reward for Alice in Wonderland carried it the entire strategy to this abnormally excessive place. What can I say? Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is a film for a 14-year-old Scorching Matter-wearing women who listened to pop punk bands and reblogged edgy Disney edits on Tumblr. And when Alice in Wonderland got here out, I used to be that 14 year-old woman. There are indisputably unhealthy issues you’ll be able to say about Alice in Wonderland: the garish manufacturing design and overblown CGI, for one, to not point out the unlucky implications that Alice may have a big function within the Chinese language opium wars on the finish of the film. But it surely wholeheartedly indulges in its teenage woman fantasies — Alice wears a host of gorgeous clothes, but in addition will get some cool armor! She has a mystical sword! She rides an enormous snow leopard creature! She’s the savior of the area! She’s simply COOL! — giving it a heat position in my middle, haters be damned. —PR

Mowgli with Baloo

Walt Disney Studios

7. The Jungle Guide (2017)

Jon Favreau’s remake of Disney’s 1967 animated movie was once simply just right sufficient to warrant The Lion King. The human part is going far: As Mowgli, newcomer Neel Sethi nails the instincts of a boy raised through wolves, the comfort of floating round thru lifestyles with a large undergo, the fear of Shere Khan’s war of words, and the existential dizziness of knowing you don’t belong within the jungle. Favreau enhances the efficiency through turning Jungle Guide into an action-adventure film — just a few pictures nod immediately to the unique movie. However like Lion King, the preliminary rush of seeing the Baloo and Bagheera learned with photoreal animation subsides, and the spectacle sans the tune part leaves one thing to be desired. It’s nice! —MP

aladdin remake will smith’s blue genie

Picture: Walt Disney Studios

6. Aladdin (2019)

For the entire hoopla and uproar about blue Will Smith, the Aladdin remake is deeply nice. The blockbuster’s worst crime is the uninspired choreography — as a substitute of racing thru Agrabah after stealing a loaf of bread, for example, Aladdin casually meanders throughout the streets with out a lot alarm. New characters and plotlines stay the movie recent sufficient to be enticing; it’s no longer only a dusty rehash of the unique, however brings one thing to the tale that feels extra justifiable than one of the crucial different remakes. Princess Jasmine, as a substitute of getting some random pastime tacked on as a result of “feminism,” unearths her personal company through the tip of the film. It takes a little bit for Will Smith and Mena Massoud to seek out their chemistry, which shines the most efficient when its no longer looking to reflect the unique and as a substitute will get to be its personal dynamic. General, essentially the most sparkling factor to mention about this one is that it might had been an entire lot worse. —PR

Christopher Robin. (Ewan McGregor) with his long time friend Winnie the Pooh in Disney’s live-action adventure CHRISTOPHER ROBIN.

Laurie Sparham/Walt Disney Photos

5. Christopher Robin (2018)

Motion pictures that function adults getting again involved with their inside kid most often simplest maintain absolutes. This generally comes to leaving at the back of a soul-sucking day process as a way to pursue a extra pleasing and inventive line of labor, or to focal point fully on circle of relatives. Christopher Robin is the uncommon movie to understand that compromise is important in actual lifestyles, and manages to drag it off with out being a whole downer.

That mentioned, Christopher Robin will most likely make you cry. It’s a shockingly considerate meditation on rising up, faintly equating leaving behind your youth buddies to committing murder and making it transparent that steadiness is important in terms of being glad whenever you’ve grown up. The movie is made much more potent through the best way Pooh and corporate had been rendered within the trend of the unique illustrations slightly than their extra readily recognizable present-day opposite numbers, making them glance one way or the other extra plaintive and despair. As for the movie’s human contingent, Ewan McGregor stars because the grown-up Christopher Robin, reckoning along with his departure from the Hundred Acre Wooden in addition to looking to be a just right husband, father, and worker. —KH

Dumbo (2019) - Dumbo performing in the circus

Walt Disney Studios

4. Dumbo (2019)

Maximum of Tim Burton’s fresh paintings doesn’t encourage a lot self assurance (sorry, Petrana), however towards all odds, his Dumbo soars. Partly, it’s as a result of he’s used his price tag into the Mouse Space to make a movie concerning the vagaries of company greed and the way it throttles artwork in a thinly veiled connection with the Disney-Fox merger. The story of a little bit elephant who learns to fly takes on grander proportions as Burton builds a human solid round him, bringing his former Batman Returns stars Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito again to play a rich impresario and the small-time ringmaster who falls below his spell as Dumbo turns into increasingly more well-known.

Blessedly, the little elephant in Tim Burton’s Dumbo isn’t photorealistic. Or, no less than, although his pores and skin could also be leathery and his tiny frame would possibly raise all the heft of an actual elephant’s, his eyes nonetheless stay cartoonishly massive and glossy, in a position to put across all the feelings he can’t thru speech. Every now and then, he appears odd, however so it is going with all of Burton’s paintings. The important thing here’s that he’s no longer making an attempt a complete retread of what got here earlier than, and that he’s touring into extra private (and therefore extra affecting) territory. —KH


Walt Disney Studios

3. Maleficent (2014)

For Johnny Depp or Will Smith, starring in a Disney live-action remake was once a strategy to siphon the magic of a mega emblem. For Angelina Jolie, it’s the opposite direction round. Disney’s re-imagining of the Drowsing Attractiveness tale invests within the hearth and glow of the A-lister, who instructions the display screen as she flutters round a myth global with a couple of darkish fairy wings. Elle Fanning, any other primary ability of her era, costars, and enlivens what will have been any other murky march throughout CG backdrops (grrrr, the ones Alice motion pictures — sorry, Petrana!) right into a story of female revenge. Sure, our antihero nonetheless turns right into a dragon, checking the field of the unique movie’s large spectacle, however the film pops when it’s Jolie on display screen, chewing up surroundings. —MP

Walt Disney Studios

2. 101 Dalmatians (1996)

One of the most issues of Disney’s live-action remakes is that the villains hardly stack as much as the animated originals. The renaissance villains are large, foolish, theatrical, stuffed with ridiculous melodrama, and nonetheless terrifying to younger minds. Their pitched-up personalities had been easiest for that eras stunning animation, however the evil alchemy that made those characters paintings is one thing that’s eluded maximum of Disney’s live-action remakes over the past a number of years. Those new villains don’t have any of the appeal, air of secrecy, or a laugh in their extra dastardly animated opposite numbers. The one actual exception to that got here in 1996 when Disney solid Glen Shut as Cruella de Vil.

101 Dalmatians is indisputably the tale of heroic canines and their defeat of the evil would-be doggy assassin, nevertheless it’s Shut’s efficiency as Cruella that truly makes the film. Cruella is the one live-action villain, to this point, to enroll in the pantheon of Disney’s nice evil characters and similar to the renaissance motion pictures the ones villains come from, Cruella’s easiest — and not over-used — presence is helping carry this no less than close to a few of Disney’s classics. — AG

Cinderella at the ball

Walt Disney Studios

1. Cinderella (2015)

The animated Cinderella is undying and lovely, however the tale itself is unassuming. In all probability extra so than the opposite motion pictures in this listing, the Cinderella fairy story has had dozens upon dozens of variations and the simplicity of its tale implies that reimaginings are welcome. The 2015 Cinderella offers intensity to the Disney story; our heroine was once all the time kind-hearted and resilient, however this model offers her extra backstory and character, together with a reference to the prince that is going past their fateful assembly on the ball.

The forged shines: Lily James is so without problems Cinderella; Richard Madden brings appeal to the generic prince; Cate Blanchett is a powerful and nearly sympathetic stepmother; and Helena Bonham Carter the easiest quirky fairy godmother. The costumes are beautiful: Cinderella’s ball robe looks as if a watercolor portray; Prince Package’s spring inexperienced embroidered using jacket slays; Woman Tremaine’s nearly anachronistic day by day put on suspends the film in a nebulous level of myth time. Above all, although, is the message of “Have braveness and be type,” a cushy reminder that seamlessly suits into the fairytale and sticks with you afterwards. —PR

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