Justalkin Episode 63: Aladdin, The Lion King and more; animated movies making a comeback
Traffic on Indian roads make you wish for a flying carpet but we just have to enjoy it on screen for now. This is Justalkin brought to you by in.com. Aladdin is back on screen, with Egyptian origin Mena Massoud playing Aladdin, a white-and-therefore-tan-needing Naomi Scott playing Princess Jasmine, and Will Smith playing Genie. His casting did come as a surprise, and some thought it was a force-fit by Disney to get onto the inclusive bandwagon but whatever their agenda was, Will Smith is a great actor and the change was very fresh. Let’s take a look at some other fantasies that came back on screen with a twist.
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast is a typical fairy tale, where the Princess is in an unfortunate situation thanks to a twist of fate, and she has to wait for Prince Charming to come around. The version that came out in 2017 was quite radical. Belle, played by Emma Watson, is a feminist and a bibliophile. And she’s not just a pretty face, she’s quite quirky and the villagers just don’t get her. The feminist angle, whether intentional or not, quite helped while the movie was being marketed. So this version took first-time watchers and people who were familiar with the plot, by surprise with these changes.
Tangled follows the story of Rapunzel, and this movie probably saw the biggest deviations from the original story. Rapunzel ends up having twins, and having to bring them up all alone before she meets her Prince Charming again, who is blinded by then. So not fairy tale material for children - more like a warning against teen pregnancies. But the new version saw a very feisty and resourceful Rapunzel, who sets off on an adventure with a criminal! Yes, a criminal, not a Prince! And she saves his life on more than one occasion. The plot is great but coming to the hair, probably a bad idea because, in 2019, shampoo and conditioner for that length would cost a fortune!
Snow White showcases a really evil stepmother who is obsessed with being fair. She probably didn’t know how much Indians can compete in that department. The original story is about a banished Princess who lives with dwarves and has a Prince come and save her from a poisoned apple. But the new reboot in 2012, called Snow White and the Hunstman, saw Snow White, Kristen Stewart, being hunted down by a hired goon, played by Chris Hemsworth before they eventually team up and fall in love. This version was so much darker than the original. So much for a story about a fair woman.
The Lion King
The Lion King is going to be back on screen, bigger, better and clearer, so we’re gonna be doubly sad when Simba is held responsible for something he didn’t do! The story follows a plot similar to that of the original, with the biggest changes here being the animation - completely different from the traditional animation in the older one. They use motion capture and VR for this one. The voice cast includes amazing actors like Donald Glover, Beyonce, whom they convinced and waited for, but I’m sure it is absolutely worth it. Hans Zimmer is back to make the music for this one with a little help from Beyonce for one track. The wait for the movie seems too long!
Cinderella has a sad beginning about a girl with an evil stepmother and stepsisters. Not an ideal story for children, but we’ve all read or heard it as kids. The movie that came out in 2015 stars Lily Rose as Cinderella, with the biggest change lying in the music. Unlike the original, this is not entirely a musical, although music plays a crucial part in the plot. They also added a catchphrase that goes, “Have courage and be kind.” Quite a moral for young kids who were watching the fairy tale come alive. But the biggest change for me was casting Helena Bonham Carter in a positive role - that of the fairy godmother!
Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland is a tale that says it’s great to dream! And also have quirky thoughts. But the 2010 movie is just dark fantasy, whereas opposed to boredom in the original, adult Alice has to run away from a marriage proposal. Here Helena Bonham Carter plays the evil Red Queen. So compared to the original, this version is so dark, it might not be a very enjoyable movie for kids. But they have enough distractions.
The Jungle Book
The Jungle Book version that came out in 2016 follows a plot similar to the original, but the animation makes the jungle a much scarier place. Mowgli only had to fear Shere Khan in the original version, but here he also has to watch out for himself. Like the time Baloo gets him stung by bees while procuring honey for him. This movie was a combination of live action and CGI, and Jon Favreau again managed a kickass cast, with Lupita N’yongo, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Kingsley and Idris Elba playing their parts beautifully. The sequel has been put on hold so director Jon Favreau can finish work on The Lion King. The only fantasy Favreau must have is that of a vacation!
Maleficent is brilliant because it follows the plot of Sleeping Beauty but tells the story from the perspective of Maleficent, the witch. Instead of Prince Charming, Maleficent saves the day. And instead of having a cute, loving old man for a King and Dad, Princess Aurora a.k.a Sleeping beauty has a power-hungry megalomaniac for a father in this one. Those are some seriously unexpected changes!
Thanks to Walt Disney, every few months we revisit some of our favorite childhood fantasies on screen. And in times like these, we need more such stories, because they are familiar, we know that things at the end are going to be just fine! This is Justalkin brought to you by in.com.Read More