The Circle Of Disney Live-Action Remakes

Written by Megan Williams

Disney currently seems to be going through a phase of remaking their classic animated films and turning them into CGI/Live-Action features. So far, they’ve remade Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, The Jungle Book and a sequel to the 1964 film Mary Poppins is due to be released in December. And they aim to continue this phase with a remake of the 1994 film The Lion King, to be released next year.

The Lion King was essentially a retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, except it was set in Africa and featured animals. The film has so far grossed over $100 million worldwide, making it Disney’s 3rd highest grossing animated film ever, next to Zootopia and Frozen.

So, I’ve probably just answered my own question but: WHY IS THIS BEING REMADE?!

The Lion King is my favourite Disney film; I would even go so far as to say it’s a perfect film: it has the right level of emotional depth to make viewers care for the characters, a simple but brilliant story, a fantastic soundtrack and score and the hand-drawn animation is gorgeous.

The teaser made the smart move of replicating the original film’s teaser, by showing viewers the iconic opening scene. This time, the scene is recreated with CGI animation and, while the photo-realistic visuals are impressive, it looks very bland. What I loved about the animation in the 1994 film was how colourful and vibrant the setting and characters looked. By recreating the film to make it look realistic, it seems to have lost the charm that the source material had.

However, there are a couple of aspects that I do like about the remake: James Earl Jones is returning as the voice of Mufasa, and Hans Zimmer is returning as the composer. As well as this, the voice cast is impressive: John Oliver as Zazu, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Donald Glover as adult Simba, Beyonce as adult Nala and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar. If there’s one thing that can be praised at the moment, it’s the brilliant casting choices.

Disney have also revealed the official poster:

It’s simple yet effective, and it conveys the theme of the film beautifully by not saying much at all: Simba will need to take his place in the great circle of life as King of the Pridelands.

While there are a couple of things I like about this remake, it is not enough to actually convince me to go and see it. I give the original film extremely high praise and I don’t think this should be given the remake treatment. However, given Disney’s recent box office earnings, this will still probably be successful.

Oh well: Hakuna Matata!

 

Decade Definers: 1960s

Written by Chris Winterbottom and Jakob Lewis Barnes

Throughout history, cinema has reflected, echoed and even preempted societal shifts that occur through the ages, and that’s where our Decade Definers series comes in. We’ll take a look at the world, decade by decade, and discuss how the films of that era represented the attitudes, fears, desires and innovations of our society.

In this, the first of the series, we take a look at the 1960s – a period which produced some of the most awe-inspiring, revolutionary and shocking moments in modern history. The swinging sixties; what a time to be alive! A time of political upheaval, technological revolution, sexual and ideological liberation and of course, rock and roll. Presidents were killed, people fought and died for freedom and equality, music transcended entertainment, and man even walked on the moon. In our lifetime, there have been many events that have shook the world – both positively, and overwhelmingly negatively – but perhaps not as frequently as the events seen throughout the 1960s. So, which really encapsulate what this fascinating decade was all about?

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The Full List Of EE British Academy Film Award Winners

Stephen Fry hosted the 70th British Academy Film Awards in London’s Royal Albet Hall and it’ll come as no surprise to many, ‘La La Land’ waltzed away with 5 BAFTA wins, including ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Direction’, and ‘Best Original Music’.

The latest actor to step into the Spider-Man suit, Tom Holland, won the ‘Rising Star’ award which was voted for by the public. Casey Affleck walked away with ‘Best Leading Actor’ and Viola Davis collected her much deserved award for ‘Best Supporting Actress’. Former ‘Skins’ star, Dev Patel, won ‘Best Supporting Actor’ for his brilliant performance in ‘Lion’and ‘I, Daniel Blake’ took home the prize for ‘Outstanding British Film’.

Below you can find the full list of winners:

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Sunshine Blogger Award

We are delighted to accept the nomination of a Sunshine Blogger Award from the wonderful Alicja Johnson AKA Reel Red Reviews (if you don’t already know her, you really should go check out her blog). Thank you very much for the nomination; this is the first time we’ve been recognised for this award. 

For those who don’t know, the Sunshine Blogger Award is a chain-letter style award (similar to the Liebster Award), which is designed to honour those who consistently deliver excellent content which makes readers happy.


Now, our Editor-in-Chief Jakob will answer Alicja’s questions:
1. What would be your dream job?
Well, as you may have worked out by now, I am totally obsessed with film. So, any job in the film industry would make me a very happy man. But, the dream I’m working towards is to be a filmmaker – both writing and directing.
2. What are some of your favourite childhood films?
I was a fiend for Disney films as a child (and still am today to be honest), so films like ‘The Jungle Book’ and ‘The Lion King’ are firm favourites of mine. I also love ‘Toy Story’ and ‘Monsters Inc’ – but who doesn’t?
3. As an ode to Barbara Walters: If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
I have literally never considered what tree I would be before, so thanks for giving me something new to think about. I would love to be a Palm tree, of course, so that I could just hang about in exotic places and do my best to look pretty.
4. What’s your least favourite film genre?
I do love most film genres, but if there’s one genre I avoid, it’s horror. But, that’s only because I’m a bit of a wimp, and I don’t enjoy watching films through my fingers too much.
5. Which sitcom character do you most relate to?
This is easy! I’ve actually just finished watching the brilliant ‘New Girl’, and it’s unsettling how similar myself and Nick Miler are. For those who don’t know Nick Miller, he is socially awkward, easily annoyed and a perennial over-thinker; so yeah, that’s me folks.
6. What’s the last movie you watched, and was it any good?
I watched ‘Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates’ at the cinema last night, and I only watched it because I missed my preferred screening of the new David Brent movie. I thought I would hate ‘Mike And Dave’, but I have to admit it was quite hilarious; dumb, but hilarious.
7. What do you think has been the biggest Oscar snub of all time?
Well, until recently, I would have said any Leonardo DiCaprio snub, but thankfully that’s all in the past now. I’ve started to pay a lot more attention to The Oscars in recent years, and I have to say I was shocked Rosamund Pike didn’t win for her amazing performance in ‘Gone Girl’.
8. Who is your favourite movie love interest?
Hmmmm…am I allowed to say Margot Robbie, in anything, ever?
9. What movie are you most looking forward to in September?
September isn’t looking like an astounding month for new films to be honest, so I will probably spend most of the month catching up with films I’ve missed like ‘Life On The Road’ and ‘The Shallows’. I am keen to see ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ though, which hits UK cinemas next week.
10. What sayings or personal mantra do you live your life by?
I spend a lot of my time thinking up and writing down new ideas for stories that I can tell through the medium of film, so for me, the words of Stanley Kubrick are always in my mind: “If it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed”.
11. Are you a cat or a dog person?
Dogs, all the way. I actively dislike cats; I think they may actually be evil creatures who are secretly plotting against the human race.

We nominate HC Movie Reviews, Sarah Buddery, Jason Michael and Movie Rob to answer these questions and accept their very own Sunshine Blogger Award:

1. What is your favourite film of 2016 so far?
2. In your opinion, who is the most underrated actor/actress working today?
3. Name a “classic” film that everyone loves, but you haven’t even seen before
4. If you could be any film character, who would it be and why?
5. What is your favourite film of this decade so far (2010-2016)?
6. If you could meet any famous person, who would it be and why?
7. What is the last film you fell asleep during? And was it due to boredom or tiredness?
8. Which 2017 film are you most excited for?
9. If you could have any super power, what would it be? And would you use it for good or evil, be honest?
10. What is your most prized possession in the world and why?
11. If you had to get a tattoo of someone’s face, who would it be and why?

Kristof Kiraly: VFXtraordinaire

Kristof Kiraly may not be a household name, but as a visual effects artist, Kiraly has played a part in making some of the biggest films of recent years. From ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ to ‘The Jungle Book’, mass explosions to vast landscapes, Kristof Kiraly is the man with the magic touch who, along with his team at Double Negative Visual Effects, gives your favourite films that extra kick.

Interview by Jakob Lewis Barnes

tgotg

JLB: Working in visual effects seems like a very specific and technical field of filmmaking, was there a particular moment where you realised that was what you wanted to do?

KK: From a very early age, I was obsessed with creation. I spent hours drawing, sculpting or playing with Lego. I’ve always wanted to understand how things work under the surface. I think it’s this kind of curiosity which led me to the world of computer graphics.

Like many other artists, the big blockbusters were the real push for me; I remember watching behind-the-scenes documentaries of ‘Star Wars’, ‘Jurassic Park’ etc. and realising that people do this for a living was a life-changing experience. Of course I had no idea how I could break in to the industry, but I dived in deep and spent all my time learning VFX on my own (this was a time before YouTube tutorials). With that knowledge, I was fortunate enough to secure a job with a small VFX company where I really started growing, and after six years I got invited to MPC (Moving Picture Company) in London.

JLB: I imagine visual effects to be an extremely challenging and painstaking task, so what, in your opinion, does it take to be a top visual effects artist?

KK: In my opinion, a good VFX artist has to be a good problem solver, because that is essentially what we’re doing most of the time. In this very technical world, things go wrong all the time and you have to figure out how to fix them. The ability to work under pressure is a must-have skill too; time is always compressed and the number of tasks can often be overwhelming.

Also you have to be open to learning new things all the time, because the industry is rapidly evolving and if you stop learning you’ll get left behind. And finally, learn to leave your ego at home. A movie is a team effort where your work is always open to criticism, changes and sometimes it can even be completely thrown out. That’s the nature of the beast, but that is also why the end result is usually much better than the first version.

maleficent

JLB: On IMDb you’re credited as “Environment Technical Director” – can you clarify exactly what that entails on a day-to-day basis, and on a larger scale in the filmmaking process?

KK: Environment Technical Directors are responsible for creating environment scenes, that match the photographic quality of the plates they are dealing with. In simpler terms, everything that isn’t a character, vehicle or prop is environment. Creating environments requires both technical and artistic knowledge, as it involves everything from matte-painting to modeling, texturing, projections, lighting, rendering and even composition. As I said earlier, it is creative problem solving on every level.

JLB: Your filmography includes quite a few superhero movies such as ‘Thor: The Dark World’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, but who is your favourite hero (or villain) and why?

KK: To be completely honest, I’m not a huge superhero or comics fan. I personally prefer movies that are closer to reality; I am more excited about everyday superheroes like the journalists of ‘Spotlight’, or the computer scientist Alan Turing, who helped Britain win WWII. But if I had to pick a superhero movie it would be Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, with its dark atmosphere and Hans Zimmer’s unforgettable score.

JLB: Recently, films like ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ and the upcoming ‘Assassins Creed’ have opted for more practical effects rather than CGI – can you see this becoming a common trend?

KK: I think everyone agrees that going practical is the proper way of approaching any shot. It gives the film crew a physicality they can relate to. The actors can feel that they are part of the environment, the DOP can set the lights up properly and figure out what lens and camera movement works. Of course, practical effects are very costly, harder to control and have their limitations. That’s where VFX comes into play – to extend those boundaries, but it should be used sensibly and be based on reality. That’s why it’s good when we have the practical elements.

To be honest, my only problem with this new wave of “practical effect based” movies is their marketing and the way they treat visual effects publicly – as though VFX is just a negligible thing, and practical effects is the holy grail. The fact is that these modern blockbusters have almost no frame which has not been digitally enhanced in some way.

Ex-Machina

JLB: Your company – Double Negative Visual Effects – was part of the VFX Oscar winning team this year for ‘Ex Machina’. Where would you say Ava – the artificial intelligence at the core of the story – ranks among your studio’s creations?

KK: I was extremely pleased to see ‘Ex Machina’ winning the Oscar for Best VFX. Especially since everyone was pretty sure that it would go to either ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Mad Max’. I think the movie in general was a massive achievement, and the effects served the story well; it wasn’t just a mindless visual orgy but a very organic piece. ‘Ex Machina’ is a great example of why I love to work for Double Negative – it is very much a technology-driven company with some insanely-talented artists.

JLB: For you personally, what is your proudest moment/favourite piece of work in the VFX industry?

KK: I’m extremely thankful that this is my nine-to-five. Working on movies that millions of people will go and see (and hopefully enjoy) is very rewarding. I’m proud of everything I’ve been working on, but my personal top three would be ‘The Jungle Book’, ‘Mission:Impossible – Rogue Nation’ and ‘Spectre’.

Mission Impossible

JLB: And finally, what is the best piece of advice you’ve been given throughout your career?

KK: I’ve been given lots of great advice throughout my career, but two of those stand out as the most influential. The first, is from my late grandfather who told me that you have to learn new things so you have more legs to stand on and that will give you stability.

The other is from my former MPC leader, mentor and friend, Marco G, who told me that in VFX you have to have three things to survive: reputation, connections, and savings.

What Makes A Good Remake?

Written by Gillian Finklea

Like many movie purists, I used to despise the dreaded remake. As a believer in originality, I held out hope that we could do more than simply repeat the past. More than anything, it just seems like a waste to pay money to watch the exact same things that have already entertained me years before.

But now, I have learned to accept, and even enjoy movie remakes. Occasionally you get a delightful spin on a property you were never truly familiar with – such as ’21 Jump Street’ – or a modern twist on an old story like ‘You’ve Got Mail’. I’ve learned that remakes can be a welcome event or an unmitigated disaster, and now I’m able to look for signs as to how successful a remake is going to be.

21 JUMP STREET

Let’s use ’21 Jump Street’ as an example. The trailer for this movie was funny, light, and utilised two well-known actors. Compared to the trailer for the TV show, which takes itself very serious despite the outrageous plot, it seems like the two properties are barley related. The revitalised franchise doesn’t rely on similar plot lines or character relationships as foundations for the movie, instead it takes the general idea of undercover cops in high school and spins it out into a whole new world. We have one great cameo from the original television show, and then we don’t really think of it ever again. It is a remake that created its own universe and it’s certainly one worth exploring.

Psycho

Now let’s look at the opposite end of the remake spectrum — Gus Van Sant’s almost shot-for-shot remake of the classic Hitchcock masterpiece ‘Psycho’. For the first 20 seconds, the trailer makes it seem like you are going to get a movie from Norman Bates’ perspective which, while that may not be everyone’s cup of tea, would at least be an interesting take. But then the trailer starts showing very familiar and famous scenes – Marion in the shower and Arbogast running on the stairs. But what else are we to expect? This is a very specific movie with a very specific twist. We get excited to see those famous shots in the trailer because we briefly think that maybe this would be a chance to see more of the the psychological turmoil and expand the horror universe. However, when the movie came out it was literally the exact same as the film which came 40 years prior. The best parts were shown in the trailer and those parts were obviously better in the original.

junglebook

In order for a remake to work, it needs to be updated with its own sense of self and if possible, be better than the original. The trailer for the new ‘The Jungle Book’ movie appears to have its own ideas and themes, at least in the fact that it’s not animated and seems to take itself more serious than the Disney classic. It doesn’t completely rely on familiar songs and has an interesting enough cast that I think it may be a worthwhile remake.

ghostbusters2016

The new ‘Ghostbusters’ trailer however, has left me a little suspicious. Now, I have been a champion of the ‘Ghostbuster’ remake because I don’t think the original is some kind of Holy Grail never to be altered, and I trust Paul Feig with most things relating to comedy. However, that trailer was way too close to 1998 ‘Psycho’ territory. In the trailer there’s a ghost in the library, a funky car and even Slimer; all of which we’ve seen before. And while the actresses seem to have developed fun and interesting characters, the overall feeling is too similar to the original movie and that’s a problem. Remakes that don’t forge their own path are doomed to make viewers wonder why there needs to be a remake at all.

So when you see a trailer for a remake and get an instant rush of nostalgia, take a pause. If the trailer just conjures up reminders of the previous movie or lifts from scenes beat-by-beat, you are probably destined for a disappointing trip down memory lane.

Watch This Space: September 21 – 27

Welcome to your weekly go-to film guide – WatchThisSpace – where we recommend what to watch in the cinema and on the television, and remind you of those brilliant films hiding in your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

It’s not a great week for cinematic releases, with the highlight likely to be Dane DeHaan and Robert Pattinson starring in the latest biopic to hit our screens, ‘Life’. James Dean is the subject of this movie, as we experience a couple of weeks of the famous actor’s life through the eyes of a photographer. Is DeHaan up to the job of playing one of history’s most iconic actors? We think there is enough potential here to warrant a trip to the cinema to find out.

Alternatively, Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon clash in ’99 Homes’, which quite frankly, looks and sounds pretty dull. We could be wrong, but it’s unlikely that Garfield being evicted from his home, then working for the realtor who forced him out (Shannon), will provide much more than mediocre drama. You’d be better off catching one of last week’s releases, ‘Everest’, which we can guarantee will blow you away.

ON THE TV

Monday 21:00 GMT: Michael Fassbender has certainly made a name for himself as one of the best actors working today. So, before he takes to the throne in ‘MacBeth’, or the phone in ‘Steve Jobs’, why not catch ‘300’ on ITV2, which was actually Fassbender’s first role in a feature-length cinema release. At the same time tonight, you could go for the 90s sci-fi thriller ‘Twelve Monkeys’, starring Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis, on Syfy.

Wednesday 23:05 GMT: We all know that Denzel Washington is a talented actor, and now he’s a talented producer, with his latest project ‘Shame’ having been added to the 2015 UrbanWorld Film Festival. However if you are more interested in simply watching him kick some ass, ‘Man On Fire’ is the film for you. See Washington at his best on Film4, satisfying the needs of all the action junkies out there.

Thursday 21:00 GMT: Winning just one Academy Award is no mean feat, but Clint Eastwood and ‘Million Dollar Baby’ managed to scoop all FOUR major awards in 2005. If that doesn’t stir you to switch to Sky Atlantic and enjoy this boxing drama, I don’t know what will.

Friday 21:00 GMT: Sticking with the ferocious female lead, see Saoirse Ronan make her big screen break in the action-packed ‘Hanna’ on E4. Like a young, female version of Jason Bourne, the titular anti-hero is one with a mysterious and intriguing backstory, and a long line of assassins waiting to hunt her down. If this doesn’t take your fancy, you can always head to ITV2 for the ultimate classic, ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, also at 21:00 GMT.

Sunday 17:05 GMT: What kind of people would we be if we didn’t offer something for the kids too? You know what, we don’t even need an answer, because we’ve got the little ones covered too. Hop on board ‘The Polar Express’ with ITV2, a beautifully animated film featuring the vocal talents of Tom Hanks.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

The Jungle Book: Disney really are going all out with their upcoming movie slate, and last week we were enthralled by the first trailer for Jon Favreau’s live-action reimagining of ‘The Jungle Book’. This was my favourite film as a child, so I am beyond excited for next year’s star-studded attempt. But, I cannot imagine anything improving the 1967 classic, so I say “forget about your worries and your strife” and settle down for some nostalgic, animated fun.

Saving Mr. Banks: In the same vein, Disney also announced plans to start work on a ‘Mary Poppins’ reboot/sequel, so what better time than now to dig out this 2013 effort. Emma Thompson wonderfully portrays P.L. Travers, the author and creator of the iconic nanny, whilst Tom Hanks features as Walt Disney himself. ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ is a delightful film that we think you will enjoy, and watching this film might even enlighten you as to what Travers herself would think about this recent news. 

Fruitvale Station: What a week it was for trailers huh? Rocky Balboa returns to our screens for ‘Creed’ in February of next year (Novemeber 2015 if you’re in the USA), where he becomes trainer to the son of his old friend and rival, Apollo Creed. Michael B Jordan will take to the ring for what is sure to be a hard-hitting performance, but did you know, Michael B Jordan and director, Ryan Coogler, have worked together before? Well, check out ‘Fruitvale Station’ for a hint of what the pair can do when they combine – a true story based on the tragic events leading to Oscar Grant III’s death on New Year’s Day, 2009.

Chronicle: So it’s no secret that Josh Trank’s ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot didn’t quite live up to expectations, with critics dedicating much of their summer to trashing the film.  However, I urge you not to discount Trank’s directing skills, as only a few years ago he directed this fantastic, sci-fi sleeper hit. This film takes a look at the results of three friends obtaining super powers after a strange discovery, showcasing just what Trank can do. If you needed more reason to dig it out, ‘Chronicle’ features star of this week’s ‘Life’, Dane DeHaan, in one of his best roles to date, and that man Michael B Jordan too.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes and special guest Hamish Calvert, of HCMovieReviews. Get more from HC by checking out his movie blog or his Twitter account.

Aladdin To Get Live-Action Treatment

Ever wondered what a live-action, feature film of ‘Aladdin’ might look like? No? Well JumpCut UK can tell you that it’s happening. In fact, ‘Aladdin’ the prequel is in the works over at Disney right now. This time the producers will be focusing on the genies and all the action before Aladdin buffed that dusty lamp.

Following this year’s ‘Cinderella’ live-action reimagining, and plans to give ‘The Jungle Book’ the same treatment, Disney have hired the writing team of Damian Shannon and Mark Swift (‘Friday The 13th’, ‘Shark Tale’) to make all our wishes come true. The story will reportedly explain how that genie ended up in the lamp and why he can’t get out. Producer Tripp Vinson is on board (responsible for this Summer’s ‘San Andreas’) so expect big action, pyrotechnics and a star studded cast.

Written by Wan Tyszkiewicz