Disney has been pulling from its on well a lot lately, with live-action adaptations of their animated classics. Films like Alice Wonderland, Cinderella, and Maleficent have all gotten the live-action reboot treatment. The trend isn’t stopping anytime soon. An Alice in Wonderland sequel is on the way, along with new versions of The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Dumbo, Mulan, Winnie the Pooh, and Pinocchio. Now, another animated cornerstone from the Disney vault is getting a wave by the live-action magic wand… The Sword in the Stone.
THR reports Bryan Cogman, a writer-producer on HBO’s fantasy Game of Thrones, has been tapped to pen the script for the project, which will be produced by Brigham Taylor.
Just in case anyone of your reading didn’t have a childhood, the 1963 animated movie by Disney tells the tale of a wizard named Merlin who trains a young boy named Arthur to become the king of Camelot. It was, of course, based on the many tellings King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table lore. Disney’s version was lighthearted featuring songs and a Doc Brown-type cooky wizard. It also had one of the worst heartaches ever. I feel so bad for that female squirrel who looked so sad when Arthur turned back into a boy.
I’m sure some of you readers out there will lament this saying that director John Boorman already did this in the 1981 film Excalibur. As excellent (and dark) as Boorman’s version was, it did not find an audience outside a small subculture of fandom, plus it is also 30-35 years old. A Disney version would be a new start for the current generation of children and young adults. Disney will also get a feel for how well it will do because the Arthurian Legend is going to be a big piece on ABC’s Once Upon a Time this season. And hey, at least, we have Game of Thrones talent on this one which is promising.
Opinions differ, but with the assortment of Disney live-action adaptions, I don’t think there has been one that has really sold me. All of these reboots have attempted to be their own thing with an expansion of depth and twists on characters and mythology. They’ve also been darker and more mature, lacking cross generational family friendly vibe we usually know and love from Disney. The nostalgia and personal connection to the classic animated films is strong, and when creatives toil with the things we love, it’s hard usher in a new version with open arms. The balance of keeping things fresh whilst maintaining the emotional connection audiences have is not something, I feel, Disney has done successfully yet.
Disney sure has a long line of animated properties to get the remake treatment. Maybe they’ll capture new and old magic in the next one.