Although Disney films are primarily known for their various animated experiences, that hasn’t stopped the company from dipping into live-action. However, Disney’s expanding empire has led to the medium spreading across several different properties.
Some audiences associate Disney’s live-action films with their several remakes of animated classics. Others tend to find pleasure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, there are other Disney live-action films that receive less recognition despite warm critical reception. Sometimes they are pushed aside in favor of animated and non-animated competition inside and outside the studio. Nevertheless, they fly high in various qualities to become classics.
10/10 Holes (2003) perfectly suited its source material thanks to its casting
Holes (2003) is a film based on the novel of the same name by Louis Sachar. It follows a young Stanley Yelnats (Shia Labeouf) who is wrongfully convicted of a crime and sent to a juvenile detention center where he and a group of other boys dig holes related to an ancient mystery.
The entire movie is virtually made up of the book’s dialogues verbatim, and the actors manage to bring it to life appropriately to immerse viewers in the story. Labeouf’s character and the other boys share a believable camaraderie. The film’s villains are both intimidating and over-the-top, which makes their on-screen presence just as entertaining.
9/10 Saving Mr. Banks reminds viewers why his subject is a timeless classic
Save Mr. Banks implies that author PL Travers (Emma Thompson) is reluctant to grant Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) the rights to adapt his Mary Poppins books because of the way they depict her childhood. However, she ultimately finds herself desperate for money and agrees to the deal, while the two sides clash over ideologies in the film’s development.
The lead actors bring a passionate likability to their roles, which gives them sympathetic perspectives on the film’s subject matter. Although Travers and Disney don’t get along throughout the film, it’s clear that they have a unique understanding of the source material that complements each other and believe in communicating to an audience that will understand its meaning.
8/10 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl prides itself on being a simple swashbuckling adventure
The first one Pirates of the Caribbean film, Curse of the Black Pearl, follows Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), who teams up with blacksmith Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) to save the latter’s love interest, Elizabeth Swann (Kiera Knightly). Jack’s former undead pirate crew hold Swann hostage and believe she is essential to lifting their curse.
Depp’s goofy performance is central to the film and drives the film’s humor and action, which suits young audiences’ pirate adventure fantasies. Bloom and Knightley’s performances entertainingly work on the absurd. The story is relatively simple to follow, allowing audiences to enjoy it in terms of action, characters, and adventure.
7/10 Freaky Friday (2003) made the most of its concept
terrible friday (2003) follows mother and daughter Tess (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Anna (Lindsay Lohan), who switch bodies through the magic of a fortune cookie. Both can only go back by realizing the meanings of fortune by fully understanding each other’s life.
Although it was a remake of a 1976 Disney film of the same name, it had a lot more comedic potential with the mother in the workforce and the understanding of the daughter. It also offers a similar perspective on the adult perception of youth activity. Some elements have inevitably become dated, but it retains a timelessness through the protagonists’ amusing performances, especially during the trading period.
6/10 The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe Pull A Heavy Heart Out Of A Fantasy World
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe follows four children who discover an enchanted wardrobe leading to the magical world of Narnia. As the children learn more about the earth, they discover that they are part of a prophecy to save the earth from its evil rule.
The film takes ideas that would seem childish on paper and makes them entertaining, from the effects of the creatures to the people who portray them. The film spends time building connections between them and the kids, which gives it immense weight. This aspect allows viewers to be more immersed in the grand scale of the action.
5/10 Enchanted uses parody to deliver a unique love story
Delighted involves a lively peasant girl Giselle (Amy Adams), who is to marry a young prince. However, an evil queen named Narissa (Susan Sarandon) sends her to the real world in New York, where Giselle falls in love with a lawyer Robert Phillips (Patrick Dempsey), who takes pity on her confused state.
Giselle’s love story satirizes various tropes in Disney princess movies, which don’t translate to Robert or real-world perspectives. However, the film shows how Giselle and Robert have incomplete but understandable viewpoints that the two must instill in each other. This writing makes their story more heartwarming despite its predictability.
4/10 Return To Oz Has A Familiar Sympathy With Freshly Spooky Imagery
Back to Oz follows young Dorothy, who is saved by a little girl from a psychiatric experiment designed to squeeze her supposed dreams of the world of Oz out of her head. She finds herself in the world of Oz, where she is under threat from a villain known as the Nome King.
The film is filled to the brim with creepy images and characters, but is balanced by its surreal qualities to keep it from being too bloody or over the top. Although the cast is entirely different from its inferred predecessor, they and the new characters bring a familiar likability worthy of lore.
3/10 Sky High thrives on its comedy
sky high involves teenager Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano), who is the son of two superheroes and enrolls in an airborne high school for heroes. When his powers manifest, he finds himself torn on many fronts from being an average, extraordinary human.
The story is very much aimed at younger audiences, but has enough wit for adults to enjoy. The cinematography is somewhat cheesy but captures a familiar comic book feel to immerse audiences. The characters feel like something of a parody but with a twist to create a unique likeability. This aspect keeps some of the movie’s hackneyed high school drama from being too mundane.
2/10 Who Framed Roger Rabbit’s Live Action Elements Are Just As Worthy Of Credit As Its Animated Elements
Who Framed Roger Rabbit takes place in a world where anime characters reside in the real world. It follows hating detective Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins), who may be the only hope of clearing the name of a cartoon rabbit accused of murder, Roger Rabbit.
While audiences marvel at the film’s efforts to bring together Disney, Warner Bros, and characters from other properties in a way never before or ever before, the film also shines thanks to its human lead actors. Hoskins’ performance brings humorous and heartfelt cynicism, while Christopher Lloyd, as the villainous Judge Doom, instills fear through even the most silly dialogue.
1/10 Mary Poppins has a childish style with grown-up substance
Mary Poppins (1964) features the titular character (Julie Andrews) as a nanny called in to care for two children from a dysfunctional family, Jane and Michael Banks (Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber). Through a series of magical adventures, she heals the family and brings them closer together.
Children can enjoy the childlike fantasy that magical adventures provide. The different things and environments the children explore are brought to life through performances by Andrews and Dick Van Dyke as his friend Bert. The fun of these adventures serves as a means to an end in helping the Banks family understand the importance of things in life, which the writing communicates in subtle yet poignant ways.
NEXT: 10 Worst Disney Live-Action Movies, Ranked By IMDb