Live Action Adaptations are (Mostly) Bad and Unnecessary


The live action remake of The Lion King caused split opinions amongst the fans. Many criticized it’s awkward CGI while others thought it did the original movie justice.

Lancy Shi, Photojournalist

Unless you have been living under a rock, you must have heard of the thousands of beloved cartoons that are being adapted into new movies with a real life cast. For instance, movies like Mulan, Avatar the Last Airbender, and Cinderella were all examples of originally animated films that got adapted. Additionally, with The Little Mermaid and Cowboy Bebop coming out, it doesn’t seem like Hollywood is planning to stop creating more of these. This new “trend”of remaking perfectly good animated movies or shows has created various different opinions among film fans alike. My stance on this situation is that most of these remakes are both bad in quality and execution. Even though the concept of adapting films isn’t new, it still doesn’t change my opinion that animated movies and shows should remain as animations and nothing more.

My main problem with these terrible remakes is that they almost always seem cheap. It seems to me that the only reason why these adaptations are even made is because the film industry has been getting lazier. Why spend years creating a cohesive and beautiful original story when it is much easier to just take an already created story and slap on a live action cast? Most of these adaptations don’t add anything new to the story, and on top of that, they are not even loyal to the source material. For example, the Death Note live action movie completely changed the main characters’ personalities as well as the plot. The most infuriating part is that the only reason why these changes are made is to make the movie easier to create. The original anime had so much depth to its characters only to be watered down in the live action for a stupid reason. If the producers are not going to spend time and effort into making a good movie, then why make it at all?

The problem is that the movie industry generally views animated movies or shows as childish and pointless, despite the fact that a lot of cartoons and anime cover much deeper themes than these so-called “mature” live action movies. There is a general lack of respect for animators, as well as everyone working in the field of animation. Because of this, the film industry feels the need to remake cartoons to potentially draw in new audiences. They simply don’t respect art and don’t realize that the reason why some films did so well was because the art captured people’s attention. They think that as long as the remake follows the original story somewhat, they can capture the same vibe as the original, which is not true. 

Another issue I have is that these adaptations are mostly used as cash grabs. The directors know that plenty of people are going to tune in to their remakes because of nostalgia purposes, but they also want to get new people into these movies/shows. Generally, one will think that people prefer to see newer movies rather than older ones because they will be shown in theaters and there will be more hype surrounding it . My main problem with this isn’t the fact that they want to draw in new audiences, but rather the fact that they don’t make these movies good, resulting in the exact opposite of what they intended to do. Someone born after the 2010’s might only see The Lion King as that weird CGI film with the stiff looking animals. Arthur Pham (12) even said that “The live action lion king kept me for weeks because it was so bad”. 

At the end of the day, I understand that directors are just trying to make money; however, I still believe that resorting to recreating older movies or shows is not the best idea to grab the audience’s attention. It is way better to try to create new and original ideas for movies and actually spend time in making them good. YLHS students may have some split opinions on this topic, and I am more than happy to hear about the other side of the argument. If anyone has any recommendations for good adaptations I will be happy to check them out.