When you think Disney, is the first thing that comes to mind animation? Well, you’re not alone, but don’t forget Disney has done some amazing live-action movies over the years. From Mary Poppins and The Love Bug to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Hocus Pocus, live-action Disney movies were just as much a part of my childhood as their animated counterparts. So, I’m excited that Disney has a lot of live-action in the works.
Not only are we getting Pirates of the Caribbean and Maleficent sequels, but Disney is returning to the classics with live versions of Dumbo and Pinocchio also announced. Those all sound good, but they aren’t even the best parts. Read on to find out which five live-action Disney movies we’re looking forward to the most.
The Jungle Book – April 15, 2016
Coming pretty soon to a theater near you, The Jungle Book is a live-action/CGI remake of the animated classic. The trailer was intense, pitting Mowgli against tiger Shere Khan and python Kaa. But it also made sure we saw plenty of good times with Mowgli and his friends, black panther Bagheera and, of course, Baloo the bear. The cast is full of all-stars like Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johannson and Christopher Walken, but the real highlight is the debut of Neel Sethi, who has already won over hearts as Mowgli.
Pete’s Dragon – August 12, 2016
I’m not entirely sure that I saw the original Pete’s Dragon, but after watching the just-released trailer for the live-action remake, you can bet I’m going to see the new one. The movie is a reimagining, and judging by the trailer, the tone has chanegd, which is probably appropriate for the story of an orphan living alone in a forest. Sadly, the movie is no longer a musical, but the dragon looks pretty darn cool.
Beauty and the Beast – March 17, 2017
Even more star-studded than The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast will feature Emma Watson and Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens in the title roles. Then, we’ll all be the guests of Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald and Gugu Mbatha-Raw – which is just about the coolest dinner party I could ever dream up. Even better, the movie will feature classic songs we all love as well as new material with Alan Menken returning to do the music with Tim Rice, whose work includes Aladdin and The Lion King, joining him.
Mary Poppins Sequel – TBA
People began buzzing about this movie recently when it was announced that Emily Blunt was in talks to play the title role. The sequel is said to be set in London 20 years after the first movie with the now grown-up Banks kids needing help with children of their own. If you’re still kind of leery about a Mary Poppins sequel – and trust me, I understand – maybe the news that Lin Manuel-Miranda of Hamilton fame is in talks to play Mary Poppins’s friend, the lamplighter Jack, similar to the role played by Dick Van Dyke in the original. Manuel-Miranda is supposed to also help develop new songs for the musical sequel.
A Wrinkle in Time – TBA
It’s still early days for the A Wrinkle in Time movie with director Ava DuVernay (Selma) only just announced, but my expectations are already very high. The movie will, of course, be based on the classic novel by Madeleine L’Engle, a book that I devoured in elementary school. Frozen’s writer and director Jennifer Lee will pen the script, which is not an enviable task, because the book focuses a lot on math and science and has been called unfilmable. But no matter what happens, it has to be better than the 2003 television adaptation.
Whether you want to see all of these movies or just some of them, keep them in mind, because if I know Disney, there’ll be more greatness where that came from. See you in the theater, reliving our childhoods!