Live Action v. Animated Disney Movies

Disney movies–you’ve heard of them and most likely have a favorite movie. Recently, Disney has begun to remake many of their time honored animated classics into live action movies. For example, “Beauty and the Beast,” “Cinderella,” “Aladdin,” and “The Lion King” have all gotten the live action treatment. On behalf of the Royal Reporter, Katie Thomas ‘22 and myself went around to different members of the Royal community to see the Royal’s preferences. While the general consensus seemed to be that animated movies are better, we wanted to understand Royals’ opinions.

First up was Elena Walz ‘22 who said that her favorite live action Disney movie would have to be “Cinderella” and in her opinion it’s better than the animated one. She said, “I think that Lily James’ (the actress who plays Cinderella) dress is beautiful, and “Cinderella” was my favorite movie as a kid. It was amazing to see it redone with an actress that I admire.”

Next I asked Sophia Kondo ‘22 for her favorite live action movie and she said that it’s between “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin.” Sophia said that she likes the “Beauty and Beast” movie because, she has “always loved the music and characters.”

Beauty and the Beast (Photo location: https://www.facebook.com/commerce/products/1207846735986100/?rid=1497303403866379&rt=6&referral_code=page_shop_card)

Finally, I asked Mary Marshall ‘22 what her favorite live action movie is. Mary told the Royal Reporter that she loves “Aladdin” because of, “all the action, stunts, and new songs.” 

Now before we move on to Katie’s interviews about animated Disney movies here’s a short segment for all of you Star Wars lovers on Star Wars animated and live action movies courtesy of Brianna Dreyer ‘22: “Although Disney is slowly beginning to transition from animation towards more live-action, in a way, the opposite has occurred in the Star Wars franchise. Animation did not play a major role in the Star Wars franchise until after the prequel trilogy, which at the time, was thought to be the last live-action trilogy to come from Star Wars. In 2008, Star Wars shocked fans with its first-ever animated movie and television series “The Clone Wars.” “The Clone Wars” series premiere was the most-watched series premiere in Cartoon Network history. Years later, due to Disney’s ownership of the franchise, Star Wars released a seventh season of “The Clone Wars” in 2020 on Disney+.

Since “The Clone Wars” was first released in 2008, Star Wars animation has taken off into hyperspace with hit series like “Star Wars Resistance” and, my personal favorite, “Star Wars Rebels”. Animation has provided the Star Wars franchise with many new advantages such as more fluidity in lightsaber battles, more complex starship maneuvers, more insane stunts, better use of lighting, more character variety (yes, I said it), more fantastical ways to use the force, and the list goes on and on. In all, animation has not only improved the storytelling capabilities of Star Wars. It has also invigorated a spirit in fans, one powerful enough to bring a series that was once thought dead back to life.

Animated: And now, on to the animated interviews courtesy of Katie Thomas. 

As previously stated, animated movies tend to be the favored genre within the Disney universe. According to Danielle Perez ‘22, animated movies are better because they “are often much simpler in plot, which allows for a deeper meaning.” Indeed, the simplicity of such animated Disney movies often allows viewers to draw (pun not intended) multiple paramount themes from each film. 

This is wonderfully exhibited in “Onward” (Danielle’s favorite movie). The simple, light-hearted, and fantastical plot lends itself to a deeper truth about family and the lengths we go to for those we love. 

Photo Location: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Onward_(%D0%B2%D0%BF%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%B4).jpg

Though the main character, Ian, has never met his father, he is willing to go on a perilous adventure with his less-than-graceful brother just to meet him. Then (spoiler alert, but if you haven’t watched it by now what are you doing) Ian gives up the chance to meet his dad, after all he has gone through, to make his brother Barley happy. You simply cannot feel the universality of these themes as well from a simple human story.

Claire Early ‘21 similarly argues that “animated movies have more potential and whimsy.” However, she also explains, “I see real life people enough in my daily life and they’re kind of the worst.” When the world seems dark (as it often can) and people seem corrupt (as they often do), the best place to go is the one that exists purely in your imagination and on the screen. 

And side note, her favorite movie is “Soul”, which leaves viewers with a refreshingly optimistic outlook on humanity. (You should go watch it now. If you already have, then watch it again.)

Through both Claire and Danielle’s perspectives, plot simplicity and the lack of human beings in animation show their perfect duality: for those who seek to understand, there are deeper meanings to everything. For those who want to escape, there are pretty visuals, lively songs, no human flesh, and happy endings.

While Disney’s live action remakes often add to the content of the original story, bringing new and catchy tunes to radios everywhere, they leave much to be desired from our Royals. The simplicity and whimsy found in animation cannot be beat. Even among the most avid Star Wars fans, in a franchise headlined by live action movies, animation contains the potential and variety needed to satisfy Royals’ wildest imaginations.

Why force yourself to see fake magic in the real world when you could fully immerse yourself in a world you know you’ll never see because it’s drawn? It seems the general consensus is: the more you must use your imagination, the better. As Walt Disney himself said, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” And our Royals believe it’s kind of fun to see it too. And finally, make sure to weigh in on the comments section if you have a favorite Disney movie, whether that be a live action or animated movie.