Disney's live-action movies have been enchanting generations of kids with their wild fantasies since the 1950s, and they've recently undergone something of a renaissance. From The Shaggy Dog and Race to Witch Mountain to next year's Tron 2 and Swiss Famiy Robinson, Disney has been slowly updating all of their classics one by one. Now Terminator: Salvation director McG is preparing to make a new 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, about the submarine terrorist Captain Nemo, and while the rumor that Race star Dwayne Johnson would star was recently shot down, we're curious to see who McG will cast (he's aiming for Will Smith). It's gotten us thinking about other classic Disney films that are due for a remake (or a sequel, a la Tron), so we came up with ten that we could see Disney dusting off.
Bedknobs & Broomsticks (1971)
Quick, before Angela Lansbury gets too old for a cameo -- give us a sequel to this romp about a correspondence-course witch who protects Britain from Nazis. Maybe the kingdom of cartoon animals invades our world, and only Lansbury's witchy granddaughter Emma Watson (Harry Potter) can stop them?
Old Yeller (1957)
Given the original film's ending, a sequel might not be the best idea, unless we want to create a profile in crippling depression. No, start over with a young Bobb'e J. Thompson (Role Models), and give him a lovable yellow dog who helps him become a man. Then shoot the mutt.
The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975)
Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory) reminds us of a young Don Knotts, so team him up with a scruffy Ben McKenzie (Southland) as con men who team up with some lovable youngsters to steal a treasure in this do-over.
The Journey of Natty Gann (1985)
Here's our pitch: Billy Ray Cyrus gets fired from all of his jobs and travels to Oregon to become a lumberjack. Miley Cyrus dresses up like a hobo and hops trains cross-country to join him, accompanied by a ferocious wolf and a destitute, fedora-wearing Zac Efron. This feel-good remake could have single-handedly ended the Great Depression.
Pete's Dragon (1977)
A movie about a boy and his dragon? And it's not Reign of Fire? Where do we sign? We'd go the sequel route with this one, casting Jim Carrey as a grown-up Pete who has to deal with an older, fatter Elliott the Dragon in this CGI-heavy comedy. Maybe Elliott is diagnosed with adult-onset dragon diabetes?
Return to Oz (1985)
Nobody's ever tried a straight remake of The Wizard of Oz, so we won't try to make one of this classic Fairuza Balk downer. But why not return to Oz a third time and show what an adult Dorothy encounters when she visits the Emerald City? We'd cast Jennifer Connelly as Dorothy, and the lion from Chronicles of Narnia as his Cowardly cousin. Hey, what else is he doing?
George Clooney coached a football team in Leatherheads, and that movie didn't do so well. But did that team have a mule who could kick field goals? I'm fairly certain it didn't. Almost 99% sure. Sign Clooney up, then get whoever the hottest mule in Hollywood is at that given moment.
The Black Hole (1979)
This visually stunning sci-fi classic featured wacky robots doing battle with destructive dreadnoughts, just like a certain Pixar-animated movie did last year, so it seems ripe for a re-do. Get Jeremy Davies (Lost) to play the Anthony Perkins role, and have original cast members Robert Forster and Ernest Borgnine come back to voice evil robot S.T.A.R. and senile robot B.O.B., respectively.
Flight of the Navigator (1986)
Since the spaceship special effects in the original were already pretty cutting-edge, we say make a sequel where the ship's computer, Max (Paul Reubens), gets damaged again while traveling near Earth, and once again kidnaps David (now played by the more-or-less-grown-up Paul Rudd) to extract the coordinates of Phaeton from his brain again. Maybe David hitches a ride home with Max, and we get to see the planet Phaeton? Maybe Sarah Jessica Parker reprises her role as the nurse from the original? Maybe we're dreaming?
Ubiquitous child actress Abigail Breslin would be perfect to play the role of a young con artist, sent to finagle the location of a hidden treasure out of the old lady who lives in her mansion with her multi-tasking butler and some orphans. Steve Coogan would make a great replacement for David Niven, and Since Jodie Foster played the young con artist in the original, it's only fair that she gets first crack at playing the dotty aristocrat in the remake! Tell her she can have a panic room, and she'll totally be in.
Yes, we know this makes eleven, but Disney needs superheroes! Seriously, every other studio has a superhero except Disney, so maybe they should dust off this spy farce, in which a cartoonist does a favor for his CIA buddy and assumes the persona of his own comic-strip character, a wing-wearing birdbrain. It's the role Ed Helms (The Office) was born to play!
What Disney movie would you like to see remade? No fair saying Herbie: Fully Loaded.