These days, Disney is seemingly building its reputation on live-action remakes, animated sequels and basically by slowly conquering the world. I’ve already spoken about my upset over the studios newfound hesitance to release anything animated and original, and how this has actually ended production on promising projects such as the Jack and the Beanstalk adaptation Gigantic. And for a moment, I feared that Pixar was following in a similar path, with the studio only producing The Incredibles 2 in 2018 alone – a shame considering that before then they produced one of the best movies of 2017, Coco.
The end of last year saw the release of a movie that defied expectations. The film was a small film based around the ups and downs of an iconic British performer, who struggled in life with depression, drugs and alcohol, this film was called Bohemian Rhapsody. The film of course went on to be a roaring success, becoming one of the highest grossing films of the year and even bagging a few Academy awards in the process. But that doesn’t mean the film didn’t have its own ups and downs behind the camera. In the earliest stages of its development, a little-known British actor/director named Dexter Fletcher was chosen to head the project, with Fletcher himself viewing the film as his creative baby. However, Fletcher soon found himself booted from the project, with infamous Hollywood director, Bryan Singer being brought in instead. Of course Singer is a controversial figure in any conversation, and although he did direct portions of the final product, it was Fletcher who actually completed the principal filming, basically saving the film from combusting.
There has always been something engaging about Disney’s Aladdin, the third picture to be directed by Disney duo, Musker and Clements, the film did something that no Disney film had really done before – it took a non-western culture and made it into animated magic. Although now there may be some issue taken with that statement, seeing as Disney’s relationship with race and culture is definitely a turbulent one, Aladdin still remains one of the studio’s best.
Ten years ago, the very notion of a cinematic universe was laughable. Another huge gambit made by Hollywood to make a quick buck. But, above all sense and reason, Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios were able to pull it off. Inadvertently creating the most lucrative and ground-breaking cinematic franchise of the 21st Century. And now with twenty-two releases to its name, as well as a handful of Oscar nominations, it would seem that the MCU has reached its climax. And yet, in some ways, Avengers: Endgame feels more like a beginning than any of the previous Marvel instalments.
Since the success of Disney’s Maleficent (dir. Robert Stromberg, 2014) and the live-action Cinderella (dir. Kenneth Branagh, 2015),the company has seemed to move away from what used to be the primary basis of their corporation – to make animated features for the whole family to enjoy. 2016’s Moana (dir. Ron Clements and John Musker) is to date the last animated feature the ‘Mouse House’ has produced, with primary focus now being placed upon the recreation of their classical properties, but now with modern Hollywood talent in the iconic roles. 2019 alone will see the release of three live-action remakes (Dumbo, Aladdin andThe Lion King), while Disney’s remake of Mulan is set to hit cinemas in early 2020.
With all these recognised properties returning to the silver screen, some audience members (myself included) have hoped that the studio would still deliver on original animated content in between the live-action fare. Sadly this seems not to be the case, or at least not when it comes to original animated features. As it appears that Disney’s other primary goal is to simply create sequels to its already popular classics, with Frozen 2 supposedly entering production as I write this review. But today I am here to discuss a different Disney sequel, this being Ralph Breaks the Internet, the follow-up to 2012’s Wreck it Ralph (dir. Rich Moore).
In 2016, the third instalment in The Divergent Series was released in cinemas. Allegiant (dir. Robert Schwentke), in all regards, was a terrible movie. A dull, misshapen and stagnant adaptation of an already controversial Young Adult novel. In fact, the magnitude of its failure led to the ending of the whole Divergent franchise, with the fourth and final film- Ascendant being pulled from production before the year was even out. Along with the triumphant disaster of the Divergent series, as well as a slew of other failed franchises from Beautiful Creatures (2013) to Vampire Academy (2014), it appeared that the YA fantasy movie adaptation was yet another ‘dead horse’ genre being beaten into a bloody pulp by the Hollywood higher-ups, with nothing even comparing to the success of both The Twilight Saga (2008-12) and The Hunger Games film franchises (2012-15).