Welcome to my 2nd new series to run alongside 50 Facts Friday… and that’s Top 10 Tuesday! Every other Tuesday I’ll do a Top 10 countdown of my favourite pop culture movies, characters, tv series etc… you get the idea!
It’s no exaggeration to point out that Disney are producing live action movie after live action movie lately, with most being remakes/reimaginings of animated classics, or even sequels. What many don’t realise is that this isn’t exactly a new venture for The Walt Disney Company; they have been producing live action cinema magic for years, ever since Treasure Island way back in 1950!
I really enjoy discussing these movies, so I decided to put together this Top 10 countdown of my absolute favourite live action Disney movies from over the years. (This list excludes Disney Channel, Marvel and Lucasfilm productions… Those are countdowns for another day!)
Tomorrowland is the story of how a genius inventor Frank (George Clooney) and a science enthusiast teenager Casey (Britt Robertson) embark on a journey to find an alternate dimension called Tomorrowland, a futuristic utopia built from the greatest scientific minds. This movie is packed full of Disney nostalgia, clever Easter Eggs and is perfect if you’re a fan of Tomorrowland in the Disney Parks. It’s definitely Disney’s finest under-rated live action sci-fi movie in my humble opinion with lots of action, adventure and some real emotional touching scenes. I still need to get my hands on my very own Tomorrowland pin!
9. HOCUS POCUS
What was honestly more fun than watching the Sanderson sisters get up to no good on a Halloween eve? When a Salem virgin accidentally lights the black flame candle and lets child-soul eating witches Winnie (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy) and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) loose, it’s up to them to stop them before the night is through! An absolutely hilarious Halloween classic with stand-out songs such as Bette’s unforgettable rendition of “I Put A Spell On You“.
8. 101 DALMATIANS
The original Disney LAR (Live Action Remake) from the 90’s, 101 Dalmatians truly is iconic, perhaps even more so than the original animation thanks to Glenn Close’s incredible villainous portrayal of Cruella De Vil in the flesh! It kept a great faithfulness to the animation as well as keeping the characters fresh and exciting for new audiences, and even produced a brilliant sequel, 102 Dalmatians! I’m a little anxious about Disney’s decision to make a Cruella origin story (I wish they’d have gone with the Evil Queen or Ursula instead) but I suppose only time will tell!
7. THE JUNGLE BOOK
The Jungle Book is more of what I call a reimagining rather than a shot for shot remake, and in all honesty, I prefer this rendition of the tale to the original cartoon. Maybe referring to it as a “Live Action” is a little rich given the fact that there are very few live action characters, most of them are CGI, however the animals and the scenery are all so much more dynamic than the original animation. The story is also much more mature in nature, the sense of danger is ever-present for man-cub Mowgli (Neel Sethi). I’m excited to see what director Jon Favreau will bring to the upcoming reimagining of The Lion King.
6. OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL
I am a massive fan of The Wizard Of Oz and the musical Wicked, and while Oz The Great And Powerful sets a far different backstory to Wicked, it doesn’t mean it isn’t still amazing! I love the mad whirlwind that director Sam Raimi created for our Ozians, and the moral story about people not always being as they appear in this magical land. I’m truly gutted there was no sequel to this wonderful movie… or at least there hasn’t been… yet!
Maleficent was truly refreshing to watch in 2014. It was the perfect idea to view the villain’s side of the well-beloved fairy tale. Why was Maleficent so angry at the royals for no invitation? What drove her to curse a baby princess? All is answered and more with Angelica Jolie in the titular role she was born to play. I don’t really compare Maleficent to the animated classic Sleeping Beauty because they are both outstanding versions of the same story, however I do believe that Maleficent made Sleeping Beauty more relatable to maturer audiences, and for that I think I just love it all the more.
4. ALICE IN WONDERLAND
What not everyone understands is that Tim Burton’s live action Alice In Wonderland is NOT a remake, but a sequel. Tim Burton’s Alice makes sense of everything that took place in the mad 1950 animated classic, and of course, being Tim Burton, he put his own well-beloved quirky spin on it too. The movie is set years after Alice’s original adventure, and Alice believed it all to be a dream… until she once again falls down a rabbit hole and rediscovers the world of Underland and that Alice must fulfill an ancient prophecy to save its residents. The classic cartoon Alice has always been one of my top 10 Disney movies of all time, and I’m a huge fan of Tim Burton, so this movie is my two favourite things combined into one! I absolutely adored the sequel Alice Through The Looking Glass too, Mia Wasikowska breathes new life into Alice and portrays her as the clever heroine that we all deserved to see.
3. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL
Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow is purely iconic in itself. Add to that the fact that the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise is globally one of the biggest franchises EVER, and its not hard to see why everyone loves it so much. I adore the Disney Parks’ ride but the blockbuster movies took the mythology to a whole other level of awesome. While I think each of the 5 movies are great fun to watch, my personal favourite is still The Curse Of The Black Pearl. I remember being truly mesmerised by the pirates transforming into skeletons by moonlight! The 1st movie also had the most nods to the original ride, such as the prison dog, the redhead and of course, the gold!
I remember going to watch Enchanted in the cinema when I was at that awkward tween age, and being a little worried when it opened to an animated princess dancing around her room singing with talking animals about true love. But then Giselle (Amy Adams) falls into the real world hustle and bustle of New York, and all I could do was watch and be thoroughly entertained by the parody cliches and the magic of the integration of both animation and live action! The songs are some of the finest Disney has ever produced and the ending totally contradicts the beginning with the princess saving her man. There is a TONNE of Disney Easter eggs and cameos by Disney Legends for us die-hard fans. Enchanted is just so unique and there just isn’t another Disney movie like it, and I don’t think there ever will be again. Well, until the long-awaited sequel, that is!
Live action Cinderella has everything: a strong plot, a humble heroine, beautiful production values and, most importantly, good old-fashioned Disney fairy tale magic. I think the decision to not be a movie musical was a wise one as I found the story far more relatable to real situations when the characters weren’t breaking out into song every 15 minutes. Lily James was absolutely phenomenal as Ella and truly made the movie with her kindhearted portrayal. I cried along with her, and felt so happy when she got the happiness she deserved. Cinderella is without a doubt the best LAR to date and I just cannot fault it. It’s a pure cinematic masterpiece.
If you’re wondering why Beauty And The Beast or Tron wasn’t on this list, I’m sorry, despite their popularity, I just simply don’t like them very much. Honourable mentions go to Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Haunted Mansion, The Princess Diaries, Mary Poppins, Saving Mr Banks, Treasure Island, Escape To Witch Mountain and SO MANY MORE that I love to watch, but just missed out on being in my All Time Top 10!
What are your Top 10 favourite live action Disney movies? Let me know in the comments!