Lately, Disney’s been obsessed with remaking all their animated classics into live-action films. (Or, in Lion King’s case, CGI.) This all got me thinking,… Disney already has a pretty good collection of live action movies. Ones with original plots, not just copies of the animated ones. And we don’t always talk about them enough.
So, without further ado, here are my personal favorites (in no particular order):
1. The Princess Diaries-
Think about it. Anne Hathaway as an awkward teenage girl who discovers she’s a princess. Julie Andrews as the sassy elegant queen. A fictional country devoted to pears. What more could you ask for?
Every time I take a Disney princess personality quiz, (which is more often than you think, don’t judge...) I wonder why Mia isn’t an option. No, Buzzfeed, I’m not anything like Snow White, I’m literally Mia Thermopolis at heart.
Soooo yeah, now I’m gonna leave and go ride a mattress down the stairs, maybe eat some M&M pizza. (Just kidding. My house doesn’t have stairs. *chomps colorful pizza*)
2. Into the Woods-
This movie had to be on my list, mainly because it’s pretty much what got me interested in musical theatre. While I understand people’s frustration, because it did change a lot of stuff from the Broadway version, it was still a beautiful movie. If you haven’t seen it, you should!
The third movie on this list with a princess in it? Guess I have a specific taste. (Okay, so technically Giselle isn’t a princess, but you get my point.)
Really, though. I adore this movie with every inch of my being. It takes all the tropes of traditional Disney princess movies and celebrates them. When it pokes fun, it’s only out of the purest form of respect.
I may be biased, ‘cause I really love Amy Adams. And James Marsden (who was my first celebrity crush, thanks to X-Men) is Prince Edward. And I just really love… everything about the movie. But come on. It’s been a while since live-action Disney was this good, let’s be honest.
So, yeah, the Broadway one is... much better. But you have to give Newsies some credit.
Despite the cheesiness, it’s really cute and fun. And, alas, Jeremy Jordan would never have gotten the chance to make us cry with his rendition of “Santa Fe” if it didn’t first exist in the 90s version. So, gotta give it that at the very least.
Also, it’s Christian Bale as Jack. Singing and dancing. It’s pretty entertaining.
Last, but not least…
5. National Treasure-
This movie is. So. Great. So funny, such a unique and interesting plot. I will argue that it’s the highlight of Nicolas Cage’s career.
Don’t ever let me ramble about National Treasure, or you’ll have to hear all about the hypothetical musical version that I’m considering writing.
Some honorable mentions (AKA the part of my list where my footnotes got really lazy):
The Parent Trap.
Two girls, both played by Hayley Mills, (that’s right, folks. I’m not referring to the Lindsay Lohan version.) meet each other at summer camp, and they discover they’re twins separated at birth. Amazing.
Fine. This time, I am referring to the Lindsay Lohan remake. A mom and daughter accidentally switch bodies, and it’s a mess, but they learn a lot about each other. Also I think the guy from NCIS was in it (but don’t quote me on that). Amazing.
A high school for superheroes. There’s a friendzoned plant girl, and another girl’s power is to turn into a hamster or guinea pig or something. If that’s not relatable, I’m not sure what is.
What a classic.
Oh, while we’re on the subject of guinea pigs….
It’s primarily CGI, but it has some humans, so it still counts as live action. They’re like highly trained, military-grade, talking guinea pigs. I don’t know who had the idea for this movie, but I wish it had been me. Featuring Nicolas Cage as a mole.
I hate the Muppets (sorry), yet I unironically loved this movie. Probably because it had Amy Adams. And singing.
AM I A MAAAAAAN, OR AM I A MUPPET?
It’s stuck in your head now. You’re welcome.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
Long title. Two of the greatest tv spies played Alexander’s parents: Jennifer Garner (AKA Sydney Bristow) and Steve Carell (AKA Michael Scarn).
This movie was pretty much nothing like the 12 page children’s book of the same title, but I guess nobody was really expecting that. Anyway. Yeah.
It’s Shia LaBeouf so… you decide whether or not that’s a good thing, I guess. But come on. Stanley Yelnats. His name is spelled the same backwards. Just… It’s so quirky, I can’t not mention it.
Mary Poppins. It’d be wrong to leave it off the list. Besides, I have to wrap up this list with a movie that I can actually confidently say is brilliant. So I’ll say just that. Mary Poppins is brilliant. That is all.