Disney Will Abandon Current Approach as New Movie Returns to Disney Tradition

in Disney, Movies

Evil Queen as an Old Crone giving Snow White the poisoned apple

Credit: Disney

Is Disney abandoning their remake formula?

Clip from Pinocchio when the iconic song plays
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Continues to Impact Billions Worldwide a Century Later

In 1937, Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs was released by Walt Disney Pictures, marking a pivotal moment in cinema history. This movie represented The Walt Disney Company’s inaugural venture into a full-length animated feature film, a milestone that not only transformed the animation industry but also firmly established Walt Disney Animation as a pioneer in top-tier storytelling. Throughout a century of evolution, Disney’s impact has grown considerably, now encompassing a broad spectrum of content (all available on their very own streaming platform, Disney+ (Disney Plus), of course).

Disney shocks fans with picks for upcoming film fest; Disney Brand Image in the middle, Movie Wish on the left; and Fantasia 2000 on the right
Credit: Inside the Magic

Disney has left an indelible mark on the entertainment landscape, whether it’s through the creation of expansive superhero realms within Marvel Studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) or by entrancing audiences with science fiction odysseys courtesy of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars franchise. In addition, Disney’s influence is keenly felt in groundbreaking ventures such as James Cameron’s Avatar film series and the pioneering realm of 3D animation, exemplified by Pixar Animation Studios and iconic franchises like Toy Story, Cars, and The Incredibles.

Incredibles 2 poster, (left to right) Frozone, Dash, Mrs Incredible, Mr Incredible, Jack-Jack, Violet, Edna Mode
Credit: Pixar Studios

Related: Disney Engineered Their Own “Biggest Flop of the Year”

Ranging from films like The Lion King (1994), Beauty and the Beast (1992), and Frozen (2013), to unexpectedly successful endeavors like Pirates of the Caribbean, Disney’s collection is brimming with narratives that have delighted multiple generations.

Now, the next live-action reboots and remakes are scheduled to release. Currently, the company’s Snow White remake is currently in production, an upcoming musical fantasy movie under the direction of Marc Webb, and screenplay written by Greta Gerwig and Erin Cressida Wilson.

Rachel Zegler fired 'Snow White'
Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

This film was planned adapt the original Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs animated film, which itself drew inspiration from the famous Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Previously announced to take the lead roles are Rachel Zegler (West Side Story) as Snow White and Gal Gadot as the Evil Queen.

However, the casting choices have sparked criticism, particularly concerning the decision to cast individuals who are not little people in roles that were originally depicted as dwarfs, as well as the choice of a Latina actress for the role of Snow White. Adding to that drama, it seems like Zegler’s contentious Snow White may not be long for this world, if rumors are to be believed.

Perhaps Disney is planning to go full tilt into fixing their public image — if so, their next project could be just the thing to sweeten audiences who have long been sick of remake after remake from the nostalgia-focused company.

Disney’s Next Cinematic Endeavor, and a New Start

Inspired by the very film that started it all, Snow White, as well as other Disney classics like Dumbo (1941) and Sleeping Beauty (1959), Wish is Disney’s upcoming 62nd animated musical fantasy film, slated for theatrical release 22 November, 2023. Directed by Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn, and produced by Peter Del Vecho and Juan Pablo Reyes, and written by Jennifer Lee and Allison Moore, the groundbreaking new film combines computer animation with Disney’s classic watercolor style.

It’s definitely a departure from the tried-and-true 3D formula perfected by franchises like Frozen — and a further cry from remakes like The Lion King (2019) and The Little Mermaid (2023).

(L-R) Asha (Ariana DeBose) and King Magnifico (Chris Pine) in 'Wish' (2023); Movie Scenes
Credit: Inside the Magic

The all-new Wish will star Ariana DeBose as Asha, a 17-year-old girl (and likely new Disney Princess inductee) using a star’s wish to protect her kingdom from an impending darkness, Chris Pine as King Magnifico, the (villainous) guardian of countless wishes from around the world, Angelique Cabral as Queen Amaya, and Alan Tudyk as Valentino, a goat-turned-talking goat (whose wish for communication is granted).

Disney is now opening up about how this new movie is paying homage to Walt Disney’s original vision.

How Will Disney Return to Their Roots?

Asha (Ariana DeBose) stands amidst colorful butterflies in 'Wish'
Credit: Disney

Frozen director Chris Buck Raya and the Last Dragon story head Fawn Veerasunthorn sat down with Entertainment Weekly (EW) and shared that their film Wish will feature a ton of “legacy nods” to classic Disney canon. They are deliberately making a return to past styles and approaches, in order to “[celebrate] the joy of Disney and make a movie for the fans”. The co-directors then made it clear that this film is a “love letter” to Disney of days past:

Buck: It’s a hundred years. The Disney audience has kept us going and kept this studio going, and so there’s so much of that.

Veerasunthorn: It’s a love letter to what was inspiring to us growing up.

Buck also speaks on Disney’s legacy moments that have been captured in the new film, citing that “they’re all over the movie”. Currently, they seem to be “compiling a list” regarding just how many Disney classic moments they’re returning to:

Each department puts things in and there’s some that we don’t even know are there yet, and we may not know until they tell us.

But what is on that list, exactly?

Asha (Ariana DeBose) kneels down next to her goat in 'Wish'
Credit: Disney

Well, King Magnifico himself could definitely be considered a legacy Disney nod. According to Buck, Magnifico, the king of Rosas has the “ability to grand people’s wishes” — as well as other things. The new antagonist will be a “classic Disney villain in the vein of Maleficent and the Evil Queen”. Veerasunthorn explains:

We were always attracted to the idea that the villain and hero, for a moment, might align philosophically. In the understanding of what wishes mean to people, the most important part of you is what drives your heart. Asha and Magnifico understand the importance of that, but what drives them apart is how you go about achieving your wish.

King Magnifico in Wish trailer
Credit: IGN

Another item on the list and one little detail that might be missed by the average viewer: the screen aspect ratio. According to the directors, Wish will be shown in a “wider screen” — just like Sleeping Beauty, which according to them “marks the first time a Disney film has used it since the 1959 animated classic”.

Buck notes that this gives the film an “epic feel”. ” Veerasunthorn adds:

The way things are framed, it’s purposeful… and we embarked on that journey with the same thinking.

Overall, it seems like there are a ton of little (and overt) references being made to Disney films of old. With a new approach finally being undertaken by the animation studio for its centennial celebration — there’s definite hope that the future of The Walt Disney Company and the Walt Disney Animation Studio will harken back to days of innovative, quality animation that dares to take at least a few risks.

Are you excited for Disney’s Wish? Will you be catching this film in theaters? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

in Disney, Movies

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