It’s been a week since I saw Disney’s Maleficent on the big screen. I originally gave it an underwhelming review. However, as more time passes, I get more upset. How did such a terrible movie make $70 million in its first weekend? I’m hoping that negative word of mouth spreads and the monetary intake drops significantly. The reason Maleficent’s success matters is that Disney will see that they can keep pumping out mediocre movies with the same formula (wink, wink Marvel) and still make bucket-loads of cold hard cash.
While I’m on this rant…How in the holy h3ll has Frozen become the 5th largest box office earner of all time? Sure, Frozen had its moments. But, at best, it’s a poor man’s Tangled. I don’t get it.
Disney took everything that was great about Maleficent and completely reversed it. No longer do we have the manifestation of evil the can change into a fire-breathing dragon on command. Now, we have a victim that gives half-hearted curses and enjoys pranks. Angelina Jolie was born to play the former villain. Unfortunately, the writers and director didn’t attention to much else. Maleficent tried to turn the true love cliche on its head, but it was done slightly better by Frozen. Also, the movie completely eliminated one of Sleeping Beauty’s best characters, Prince Phillip.
Because everyone paid to see Maleficent, even though I told them not to, there will surely be more character spinoffs in the mediocre vein of Maleficent. I thought I’d give Disney a little help at which classic characters they could ruin. Also, this will lower your expectation of any future movie when they’re announced.
5 – The Hunter (Bambi)
The hunter is typically against killing forest creatures, but he has to sit by and watch his family starve. It’s been a rough harvest and the time finally comes that he must either hunt animals or watch everyone he loves die slowly. One day, he grabs his rifle and ventures into the forest. He spots an elk and hesitantly pulls the trigger. He brings the elk home and his family is fed and happy. But the happiness only lasts for so long. Soon, birds start flying into the windows of his cottage. Then, no one can sleep because squirrels are clawing at the roof. In a short time, all of the forest creatures are waiting outside the cottage. It turns out that the hunter unknowingly killed the wife of the great deer prince. These rabid animals want revenge and only the blood of the hunter will satiate them. Look for “Deerly Departed” in Disney 3D in summer of 2018.
4 – Jiminy Cricket (Pinocchio)
Jiminy Cricket is often referred to as the conscience of Pinocchio. If the puppet ever goes astray, Jiminy shows up to remind him what he should be doing. In the reimagined version, simply called “Cricket,” Jiminy doesn’t start out as innocent as you see him in the movie. It turns out that Jiminy goes by the name Jimmy Cricket and works for Stromboli in a child-trade underground. The only reason Jimmy shows up at Gepetto’s shack, when Pinocchio is created, is to spy on him and eventually lead the boy puppet to Stromboli.
Stromboli figures that Jimmy is taking too long to accomplish his job. One day, while Pinocchio walks to school, Jimmy sleeps in. Stromboli sends in two of his own men to capture Pinocchio. Jimmy does his best to stop them, knowing that he’s outlived his usefulness to Stromboli. Meanwhile, another gang lord calling herself the Blue Fairy puts a bounty on Pinocchio and offers the job to Jimmy. After rescuing Pinocchio and Geppetto from the mouth of a whale, he returns the two to the Blue Fairy. She then rewards him with a gold star, essentially promoting him as a made man.
3 – Jafar (Aladdin)
Disney would take Jafar’s tale to political correctness heights that no one will expect. Instead of being the nefarious Grand Vizier that attempts to overthrow the Sultan’s throne, he will instead be viewed as a political up-and-comer that is only trying to change society in Agrabah from the inside out.
Jafar always grew up in fear for his life. The leaders in the Middle East don’t smile upon homosexuality, and Jafar has kept his sexuality hidden throughout his life for fear of being killed. In this modern take, Jafar would rise the political ranks of Agrabah in order to change the political landscape so that no one will be put to death for their religious beliefs, sexuality or political affiliation.
In this version, the Sultan is a fear-mongering tyrant bent on eliminating anyone different. Jafar does everything he can to marry Jasmine, not because he loves her, but their union would help him accomplish his goals. The Sultan starts to notice odd things about Jafar, especially considering his best friend is a Scarlet Macaw. The Sultan hires a street rat named Aladdin to investigate Jafar and possibly take him out of the equation. Along the way, Aladdin finds a lamp, which Jafar desperately wants because it could finally be the key to changing the Sultan’s mentality. This movie will be called “Diamond in the Rough.”
2 – Christopher Robin (Winnie the Pooh)
Disney has never shown us what happens after Christopher Robin grows up. The thing about Christopher Robin is that he never loses his immersive imagination. Instead, it develops as he matures. Christopher Robin, or Chris Robin as he goes by now, is a best-selling horror novelist. His most famous series of books is about a nightmarish world known only as “The Woods.”
Chris Robin still utilizes his childhood friends from the Hundred Acre Wood, only this time they are representative of the seven deadly sins. Winnie the Pooh represents Gluttony, Piglet is Envy, Owl is Greed, Kanga is Lust, Eeyore is Sloth, Tigger is Pride and Rabbit is Wrath. Because this series represents Robin’s imagination now, the characters have no choice but to transform to their new literary archetypes.
Is it wrong that I think this idea would make a great graphic novel?
1 – Ursula, the Sea Witch (The Little Mermaid)
Second only to Maleficent in Disney’s evil pantheon is Ursula. If you question how evil she is, just remember she has a colony of cursed mermaids that have shriveled down to horrific roots, forever stuck in captivity.
Her modern take would change all of that. In Ursula’s movie, “Middle C Witch,” we’d see Ursula in high school as she attends Poseidon High. She and Triton have been friends for a long time, but she never had the nerve to tell him how she really felt. As choir tryouts approach, Ursula knows her chance has finally come. She dedicates a touching song to him as the rest of the class watches on. While it’s a beautiful song, Triton’s buddies just laugh and mock her. Triton wants to fit in, so he does the same. It turns out that only sopranos are accepted at the Poseidon High Choir. Ursula is an contralto. She runs/floats out of class in a stream of tears.
Flash forward 20 years later and the widowed Triton is celebrating the singing talents of his many daughters. Ursula, wants revenge on Triton for how he treated her. She tricks Ariel into giving her voice up so that Ursula may be a soprano at last. In turn, she becomes Ariel and attempts to ruin her life. By mimicking Ariel, she realizes the happy youth she disregarded because she was too full of scorn for Triton. In the end, she tries to win Triton over again by becoming huge and singing as loud as she can. Sadly, just as Triton is won over by Ursula’s melodies, she is stabbed by a ship driven by Prince Eric.