For over 20 years, Disney has been engaged in a process of gradually retrofitting animated classics that defined many fans' childhoods into more contemporary live-action blockbusters. While a couple of good films have emerged, most of the performances have received strong opposition from fans and viewers.
The two upcoming Disney live-action remakes that have enraged the public are Robert Zemeckis' take on Pinocchio and Dean Fleischer-Camp's Lilo & Stitch, both of which have not been released yet, although the subject has become common.
The first example of this phenomenon is the completely forgotten 1994 adaptation of The Jungle Book. These live-action Disney films were few and far between, but they remained afloat for a decade as a result of the huge financial rewards. Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King were all smash hits, despite wide varied critical responses, mostly on name recognition.
After a slew of other mouse projects, John Musker and Ron Clements decided to develop their dream project: a high-concept sci-fi recreation of Robert Louis Stevenson's 1883 novel Treasure Island. The project took three pitches to get approved by then Disney CEO Jeffery Katzenberg. It became one of the most costly films in film history.
Treasure Planet's failure is a form of Greek tragedy that makes it difficult to be a fan of cinema in general. It's fair to say that this film's contemporary landscape of film would have been different if it hadn't been for live-action animation in 2002. Modern effects and filmmaking techniques, however, could absolutely make something fantastic from this starting point.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Atlantis: The Lost Empire, a film directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, wasn't exactly a smash hit as its predecessor. It's a landmark in the genre, as it follows a young academic who stumbles upon a book that he believes will lead to the mysterious civilization beneath the ocean. This too, however, is a visual masterclass with one of the finest scenes in an animated film.
Meet the Robinsons
This 2007 CG-animated film is yet another clever science fiction film that takes a simple concept and executes it with near-perfect creativity. Yet again, it was not rewarded with a box office success, despite excellent critical reception and cult status. The film's majority of its film's time is spent exploring the film's clever retro-future aesthetic.
A cult-classic status, a lack of understanding in its time, and a visually arresting art style are all things that would make for a good Disney live-action remake. Hopefully, since the technique isn't going anywhere, the company will make some better choices.