In the last couple of years, Disney has decided to re-imagine some of its many loved classics. These re-imaginations are not simply the animated versions re-done but a whole new live action experience. This process began in 2015 with the release of the live-action version of Cinderella. 2014’s Maleficent was live action as well but was not a recreation of the original animated version: it was in itself a whole new story. The Jungle Book and Pete’s Dragon came out this year (2016) and showed promise to stay true to their original stories as well (I can not say for sure as I have not seen either of them yet). More live action releases that have been announced include: The Lion King, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Mulan, Dumbo, Peter Pan, The Jungle Book 2, and Snow White. The next anticipated live action release to come in early 2017 is The Beauty and the Beast. This brings me to the real reason behind this post: Are the live action versions in fact true to their original animated counterparts? Based on the trailers, the answer is yes. Please see below:
In the 1950’s when Cinderella was first released by Disney, there were no such thing as the movie trailers we know today. The one featured above was created for the release of Cinderella on DVD. After careful examination of both the films and movie scripts, these trailers are a false comparison. The two Cinderella trailers are almost frame-for-frame identical but when you watch the live action version there are but a few lines that are the same. The trailer was created to play off our childhood nostalgia to get the viewer more interested in the new version when in fact it is a completely new and different experience.
With the trailers being so similar, I decided that my alt-viewing experience would be to watch the live action version of Cinderella with the soundtrack of the animated version. It suffices to say that they did not line up what-so-ever, which was fun. Another problem was the fact that the animated version runs approximately 1 hour 15 minutes while the live action version was 1 hour 44 minutes. To counteract this, I paused both films for the scene when Cinderella meets her Fairy Godmother and continued the movies together from this point. This helped a little bit, but again they were not in sync.
There were some obvious differences between the two films. Some the viewer may notice are:
- Cinderella’s mother and father play a significant role in the beginning of the live action version but are merely mentioned in the animated version.
- There is almost no singing in the live action version. This is a very odd thing in Disney movies as any Disney fan will know.
- Cinderella’s dog Bruno is absent from the live action version. The talking mice and birds are also missing.
- The Fairy Godmother uses two lizards as the footmen and Mr. Goose as the coachman in the live action version while she uses Cinderella’s horse and Bruno in the animated version.
I will always give credit where credit is due. There were subtle ways that the movies stayed the same. Where the new stayed true to the old include:
- The colours of the costumes:
- Drizella and Anastasia are still in their green/yellow/blue and pink/orange/purple colour schemes respectively.
- Cinderella’s original dress is still pink and ball gown is still blue.
- The mouse Gus-Gus. His name is Gus in the new film but he is still present. Gus can not talk but he is still a small companion to Cinderella and brings a smile to her face when she is down.
- Famous Quotes:
- The famous “Bibbidi, Bobbidi, boo” was not left out. It is not part of a song in the live action version but still plays its magical part just the same.
- Cinderella’s loss of belief in magic. This scene occurs after her step-sisters have destroyed her dress and she is crying in the garden.
- In the animated version, she says, “I can’t believe. Not anymore… There’s nothing left to believe in… Nothing.”
- In the live action version, she says. “I’m sorry, Mother. I’m sorry. I said I’d have courage, but I don’t. Not anymore. I don’t believe anymore… Nothing.”
- At midnight, the magic ends.
- The Fairy Godmother in the animated version says. “You’ll have only ’till midnight, and then…You must understand my dear, on the stroke of twelve the spell will be broken, and everything will be as it was before.”
- The Fairy Godmother in the live action version says, “Remember, the magic will only last so long. With the last echo of the last bell, at the last stroke of midnight, the spell will be broken and all will return to what it was before.”
The trailers use many camera framing techniques to keep the two films similar to each other. The different shots show the limitations of animation and the advances in live action technique. One shot that both versions of the film use is the over-the-shoulder shot. An this type of shot highlights the framed character in relation to their interactions with the character the camera is over the shoulder of. Below, we see Cinderella’s attraction and joy in being in the company of the prince.
There different uses of framing also allows for different emotions to come through to the viewer. These emotions are more profound in the live action version when compared to that of animation. The limits of animation prevent the same strength of emotion that comes through the characters and therefor, prevent the viewer from being as emotionally connected to the characters.
The side angle shot seen below adds to the evilness that Lady Tremaine and her daughters portray.This shot also using lighting to highlight the expressive eyes of the step-sisters and their mother. This lighting also emphasizes how Lady Tremaine has control over her daughters as her face is more lit up and the center of focus. In the animated version they are all mono-toned and look dumb-founded, there is no real emotion coming through.
This can also be seen with the Duke. In the live action version the Duke is an antagonist while in the animated version he is a comical character. The slight change in camera angle gives the live action Duke a more sinister look.
After in depth analysis of the trailer and films, I have discovered that they aren’t that similar at all. Not nearly as similar as the ones for Beauty and the Beast.
I guess we must wait until March 17, 2016 to be sure.
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D. (2015, March 14). The Cinderella Trailer Gets Animated | Oh My Disney. Retrieved October 10, 2016, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8ZLo7rHr0o
Deen, S. (2015, March 15). The old and new Cinderellas, side by side. Retrieved November 01, 2016, from http://metro.co.uk/2015/03/14/the-trailer-for-disneys-new-cinderella-movie-is-exactly-the-same-as-the-trailer-for-the-animated-version-5104223/
Donnelly, M., & Verhoeven, B. (2016, November 03). Inside Disney’s Reboot Fever: 14 Animated Classics Set for Live-Action Treatment. Retrieved November 04, 2016, from http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/the-wrap/article/Inside-Disney-s-Reboot-Fever-14-Animated-10592371.php
Gabriel. (2016, January 16). Cinderella 1950 Script. Retrieved November 01, 2016, from https://www.scribd.com/doc/295724358/Cinderella-1950-Script
Geronimi, C., Jackson, W., & Luske, H. (Directors), & Perrault, C. (Writer). (March 4, 1950). Cinderella [Motion picture on DVD]. United States: Disney.
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S. (2016, May 24). Beauty and the Beast Trailer Comparison: Then and Now (Animated vs. Live Action). Retrieved October 20, 2016, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXxIUSsEX4M