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I Weep For Cinema

Live Action Will Never Live Up To Animation

I saw a post about a new clip from the live action Aladdin that just popped up online…. 

Ugh, why do people think that anything live action will ever be able to be as good as animation?

I mean, not in every single aspect, but as someone who genuinely thinks all the Marvel live action movies are “fine” yet would instantly prefer an animated version, here is why.

  1. Live Action can’t be as over the top or imaginative.

This is the main reason why I’m writing this. It’s because, with animation, the only limit is your imagination. You can draw the infinities of space, or things twisting or warping that the grips of physics or reality can never actually make happen. Sure you can use CGI, but that will never hold up or stand the test of time. You’ll usually blow your entire budget on something that looks weird, doesn’t respond to physics they way it should and have something in the uncanny valley more often than not. Take a look at The Phantom Menace (Not that anyone would ever want to), but a movie that basically had an unlimited budget, produced something that even at the time looked off and bad. And as the years waned on, the effects look more and more hideous and today you have something that is now laughable at best. This was the most hyped movie of all time (even to this day) and it’s looked down as a joke. And that has nothing to do with the actual story or character, just the horrible effects. Animation stands the test of time. Look at an animated movie like Snow White,the first full length animated feature, which was made back in 1941, and it looks better than Episode 1. Animation allows for you to be able to make things happen that never could. It’s a more creative art form. Period.

 

  1. Going to live action sucks out all the life.

The reason this new Aladdin is going to suck is because you recast someone un-recastable. Will Smith is a good actor… in the right part. The Genie is not the right part. Robin Williams brought something so unique to that character, that only he could, that he made it his own. Genie is basically a part of Robin Williams. Trying to bring someone else in, is just going to make the audience compare him to Robin, no matter how many features and articles say “we aren’t trying to redo what Robin did, Will is doing his own character.”  Audiences will always compare it to the animated version and Robin. 

 

The reason Genie works is because of Robin, since it was just an extension of him to begin with. He was loud, wacky and in a sense, Animated. Nothing about Robin ever felt like real life, which is why he was perfectly cast as The Genie. Imagine a world with Genie played by anyone else other than Robin in the animated movie…. You can’t. It would fundamentally be a much different and probably worse movie. It’s like learning that Chris Farley would have been Shrek. Go and listen to the audio of Chris record Shrek’s lines. It seems flat and dull…. And I LOVE Chris Farley. Mike Myers brought his own take to Shrek and then re-recorded everything with the Scottish ogre version and now there is no way we can’t think of Shrek sounding different. 

 

This new version seems like it is just trying to remake the same movie without the same actors. Everyone brings something different. Trying to replicate something without the same ingredients is always going to turn out differently. This movie, if it wants to be good (which it doesn’t, it just wants to make money) would have to re-write the entire movie to make it something totally different. Not a remake, not an adaptation, but fundamentally remix the entire thing to make it as unrecognizable as possible. 

 

Animation allows the voice actor to deliver their lines as best they can, and then match or even exaggerate the facial animations to go over the top. Will Smith’s face can never contort the way the animated version does, like this.

This is the defining reason why any live action remake will ultimately fail. It will always be compared to the animated version. It will always be compared to our memories and nostalgia and will always lose to those things. 

I’d be fine with a live action version if it is done with the intention of making something new. Work to your strengths and really take advantage of the live action medium. Get actors who bring something unique to the performance. Change it up. Don’t follow the same formula as an animated movie, because you actually can’t. If the whole movie took place in a cave and didn’t feature talking sand dunes, incredible menagerie of animals, didn’t have flying carpet rides across the world… This movie might work as a remake in live action. But since all the effects are so fantastical, and you have someone who they actually just based the character around as opposed to having the character there and then just reading the lines with different inflections or emphasis…. This movie will not work from the get go. It can’t. It’s impossible. Heed my words, the live action Aladdin is going to be bad, it’s going to be awful and will have none of the life and joy and wonder and over-the-top-ness that made the animated version work.