Unlike the previous Obi-Wan Kenobi — sorry, Alec Guinness — Ewan McGregor has long been excited about the prospect of returning for more Star Wars movies, telling Empire Magazine last October that he was the “right age” to make two more movies as the beloved character. While fans were sometimes unimpressed by the prequels, McGregor’s winning performance as the young Jedi was one of the highlights of the film, leading fans to clamor for a standalone Kenobi movie while McGregor was still the right age.
Over the years, Disney’s made a rich tradition out of refashioning their amusement park rides as feature film attractions. There have been successes (Pirates of the Caribbean and its many demon-spawn sequels, and Eddie Murphy vehicle The Haunted Mansion), flops (the Tomorrowland movie, the horrifying Country Bears picture) and whatever Brian De Palma’s Mission to Mars movie was. But the massive entertainment conglomerate has not given up hope on its cross-vertical synergy potential. Today brings the news that yet another of Disney’s thrill-a-minute rides will soon make the jump to the big screen, and let me break it to you now that a hideously insensitive It’s a Small World movie remains, for the moment, an impossible dream/nightmare.
When word got out that Emily Blunt had been cast as the title character in Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, the overwhelming response from most people was, “Well, sure.” Blunt has proven herself to be genre agnostic over the years, as likely to wow audiences in a science-fiction or action film as she is in a light-hearted comedy. That alone would make her an ideal candidate for Mary Poppins — as the rare actress capable of convincing audiences that she’d do justice to an iconic character — but she also bears a physical resemblance to Julie Andrews to boot. You couldn’t ask for better casting.
Have you ever wondered what Sir Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from The Lion King soundtrack would sound like if it had been re-recorded by Ozzy Osbourne? Or maybe you’ve always loved the title track from Beauty and the Beast, but thought that Angela Lansbury’s genteel vocals would sound just a hair better if she had the shrieking warble of a demon veering down the highway at 90 miles per hour — you know, like if the artwork from a heavy metal record came to life. If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions or, “What would it sound like if Dokken covered The Little Mermaid?,” then Disney has the album for you.
Aah, remember just three weeks ago when we all thought Disney was about to introduce the studio’s first openly gay character? Director Bill Condon said his live-action Beauty and the Beast remake would feature a character having an “exclusively gay moment,” and described Josh Gad‘s LeFou as someone who both wants to be Gaston (Luke Evans), and kiss Gaston. Then critics saw the movie and found no openly gay character in sight. The investigation continues into what exactly an “exclusively gay moment” is – if anyone has figured it out, please let me know – but it’s certainly not whatever happened at the end of Beauty and the Beast.
So far Disney’s live-action remakes have brought some of the most iconic Disney princesses to life on the big screen. We’ve seen Lily James try on the glass slipper as Cinderella, Elle Fanning prick her finger as Aurora, and this weekend Emma Watson dons Belle’s classic yellow gown in Beauty and the Beast. But it’s about time for a Disney princess to roll up her sleeves and prove just how tough a woman can be. Enter:
Everyone who knows The Lion King remembers that signature opening sequence with the classic musical number “The Circle of Life.” But did you know this great scene was originally planned without the song? Originally, Disney filmmakers thought this sequence would be heavy on dialogue, laying out all the various characters and aspects of the plot. But then they heard the instrumental version of “Circle of Life” and realized the scene would be much stronger by letting it play. That’s just one of the kingly facts in the newest episode of You Think You Know Movies!
Once upon a time, a man with a dream turned a small animation studio into a global empire. Much of that success was built on a series of wildly popular feature films, many of which shared a common figure: A beautiful, heroic princess. The man was Walt Disney and even after he passed away in 1966, his company continued to dedicate much of its creative energy on films (and television shows and untold tons of merchandise) dedicated to princesses. The latest, a live-action version of the studio’s Oscar-nominated cartoon Beauty and the Beast, opens in theaters on Friday. In its honor, the staff of ScreenCrush (and Mousterpiece Cinema co-host Josh Spiegel) decided to rank every single Disney princess in history.
Slowly but surely, Disney is becoming a little more woke. With last year’s politically-minded (and now Oscar-winning) Zootopia, announcements of Marvel’s first female-led superhero movie and first black superhero movie, and making Ava DuVernay the first woman of color to helm a $100 million movie, the studio is adding diversity to their roster little by little. Now the studio has finally decided to feature their first openly gay character in not just any movie, but a remake of a Disney classic.
Disney has really put their marketing for the upcoming Beauty and the Beast on steroids lately, giving us all-too-short glimpses of some really iconic scenes. First it was Josh Gad and Luke Evans in a few seconds of (the best song) “Gaston” on Good Morning America. Now it’s almost a full minute(!) of the opening number “Belle,” that serves as a great introduction to our heroine and an opportunity for everyone else in the town to air their grievances about her.