5 Disney Remakes That Actually Don't Rape Anyone's Childhood Too Terribly In honor of this week's release of Race to Witch Mountain and how non-Shaggy Dog-level horrifying it looks, we thought we'd reminisce about a special group of Disney movies -- the rare, the few, the not that terribly objectionable remake. Since remakes are usually as childhood-rapey as they are terrible, I could only think of five, though I'm sure there are some die-hard Flubber fans out there who will cry bloody murder over its omission. (So much sarcasm! There are no die-hard Flubber fans anywhere. Aye-yi-yi, let's get going on this already!)

Disney Needs to Stop… Almost Everything It's Doing

by DeAnn Welker September 8, 2008 3:51 pm
Disney Needs to Stop… Almost Everything It's Doing With the latest news (here, gleaned from an interview in Disney's in-house magazine) that Disney could possibly remake The Black Hole and/or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, I have just one question: How many more of these remakes are possible? I mean, how many original cheesy Disney movies still exist that haven't yet been remade? ...No, really, I need to know how prepared I need to be, because it's starting to feel like when the world ends, the only things that will survive the apocalypse will be cockroaches and old Disney movies.

Disney Wants You! (To Buy More Crap)

by Kasey McDonald June 12, 2008 1:06 pm
Disney Wants You! (To Buy More Crap) I really should have looked into studying merchandising when I went to college. It seems to be one of those fields in which scores of people throw their ideas against a wall and every single thing sticks. And the company out there with the most crap stuck to their walls? Disney. I don't think they turn anyone's idea down. A plush chair in the shape of Ratatouille's Anton Ego? Sure, kids! Have a seat in the scary guy's lap. I think I even remember an Aladdin candy dispenser in the shape of a lamp that you had to actually rub in order to get the goods. Walking through the hallways of their merchandising/licensing department is probably like running the gauntlet through a cafeteria food fight, only instead of getting beaned by half-eaten tuna sandwiches and little cartons of milk, you're dodging stuffed Monsters Inc. plush dolls and 101 Dalmatians lunch boxes.

Disney Loves Recycling

by Odie Henderson April 30, 2008 4:50 pm
Disney Loves Recycling According to the newly revamped Hollywood Reporter, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson will appear in the retooled Escape from Witch Mountain/Return to Witch Mountain series for Disney. The new film, entitled Race To Witch Mountain, also features cameos by the original stars, Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann. The Witch Mountain movies hold a special place for me because the Return version introduced me to Bette Davis. Miss Davis appeared as a villainess working with Hammer Films' resident Dracula, Christopher Lee. (That's Sarumon/Count Dooku to you.) Her role was in sharp contrast to that of the other famous actress Disney introduced me to, Helen Hayes. Hayes played a "good guy" role opposite Herbie the Love Bug, itself remade a few years ago with Lindsay the Drug Bug.

Disney loves remaking its features, especially those starring people who have gone on to bigger and better things like Kurt Russell and Jodie Foster. We've seen La Lohan redos of the aptly titled triumvirate of Freaky Friday, Fully Loaded and The Parent Trap. They've done live action versions of 101 Dalmatians with Glenn Close complicit in Cruella De Vil's plot to boil puppies the way she did Michael Douglas' rabbit. (How else was she going to get their fur off?) Robin Williams bounced around with Flubber and The Shaggy Dog starred Santa Clause cash cow Tim Allen. Since they're so used to going back to the well, I've got a few predictions for what films Disney will do next:

Old Yeller 2008: Old Yeller is now made of CGI and has facial and body expressions generated by Daniel Day-Lewis with sensors all over his body. Day-Lewis will spend 3 months in a cage at the ASPCA to get the feel for what being a dog is like, and will demand a doghouse and a fire hydrant instead of a trailer on the set. Since it's 2008 and kids today are wussies, Old Yeller doesn't wind up on the business end of a gun. Instead, he saves his young boy hero from a well. The makers of Lassie settle out of court.

Darby O'Gill And the Vertically Challenged People: Sean Connery will come out of retirement to remake the movie he wishes he could forget he made, Darby O'Gill and the Little People. Connery's role in the original is now played by Ewan McGregor, so Connery will be digitally shrunk to play one of the vertically challenged folks. This musical reunites McGregor with Nicole Kidman, his costar in Moulin Rouge. Songs by Randy Newman and Sinead O'Connor.

Rap of the South: They'll never drag Song of the South out of the Disney vault, but that doesn't mean they can't do a politically correct version of it to capitalize on the current rap craze. The first R-rated movie under the Walt Disney Pictures banner stars Southern rap stars Andre 3000, Master P, and Li'l John in the tale of a wise old storyteller (Samuel L. Jackson) who teaches the young men in his charge how to be better fathers and sons through the magic of rap. Pixar will do the computer animations and "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" will be remixed by Kanye West.

I can't wait.

Frozen: She’s As Cold As Ice

by Ethan Alter November 27, 2013 6:00 am
<i>Frozen</i>: She’s As Cold As Ice

In 1989, an aquatic princess named Ariel lifted Disney out of its decade-long doldrums, ushering in a new period of creative and commercial success for the once-dominant brand in family animated entertainment. Two decades later, a well-coiffed royal scion named Rapunzel performed a similar feat, righting the Mouse House's course after it struggled to find its sea legs in a new (and largely computer animated) family entertainment landscape dominated by companies like DreamWorks, Blue Sky and, of course, Pixar. And so the hugely enjoyable Tangled beget the equally enjoyable Wreck It Ralph, which in turn beget Frozen, a spirited romp through a traditional Disney princess narrative that ultimately tweaks the formula in ways that make it exciting and new.

Five Things to Know About Escape From Tomorrow

by Ethan Alter October 11, 2013 5:55 am
Five Things to Know About <I>Escape From Tomorrow</i>

Escape from Tomorrow -- in which a seemingly ordinary man loses his mind at the Happiest Place on EarthTM Disney World -- was one of the buzziest titles from this year's Sundance Film Festival (and a movie that many thought would never be released). It's now available for general audiences in limited theatrical release and on VOD. If you opt to journey to this particular Magic Kingdom, here are five things you should know.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, August 21, 2012

by Ethan Alter August 21, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Worst. Tyrant. Ever.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, September 20, 2011

by Ethan Alter September 20, 2011 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Go ahead -- you tell these girls that Wilson Phillips sucks.

The Lion King: Fathers and Sons

by Ethan Alter September 16, 2011 6:00 am
<i>The Lion King</i>: Fathers and Sons

The first and last time that I saw The Lion King was during its initial theatrical release in the summer of 1994. I was 16 at the time and was temporarily back in the U.S. from my then-current home in Hong Kong, enjoying the extended vacation that State Department families received in the middle of four-year tours abroad. Movie-wise, it was a good summer to be stateside. While most Hollywood fare made it across the Pacific, there was generally a time delay that could range from weeks to months depending on the movie in question. In the span of our roughly five-week stay in the U.S., I saw in quick succession, Keanu Reeves piloting an out-of-control city bus in Speed, Jack Nicholson getting his werewolf on in Wolf, Alec Baldwin donning cloak and fake nose to play The Shadow and Tom Hanks eating his way through a box of chocolates in Forrest Gump. And somewhere in the middle of all that, we also made time for that year's Disney offering The Lion King, because if you came of age during the Mouse House's late-'80s renaissance, going to see the studio's latest animated feature was just something you did, like breathing, eating or picking Ryu over Ken for marathon Street Fighter II sessions.

Prince Caspian Kicked Out of Mouse House

by Tippi Blevins December 30, 2008 11:18 am
Prince Caspian Kicked Out of Mouse House Man, things are getting tough all over. We already know money's tight for individuals, families, and businesses, but fictional characters are starting to feel the pinch, as well. Recent reports suggest that Hollywood is recession-proof -- it is cheaper, after all, to watch a movie than to fly to Cancun for some fun in the sun -- but that protection doesn't seem to apply to all of Tinseltown's residents. Disney, for example, is getting out of the Narnia business by dumping the third installment of the C.S. Lewis trilogy that started with 2005's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, effectively putting The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in limbo for the time being.

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