A few Disney live-action remakes (Image via Disney)

Ranking Disney’s best live-action remakes

Disney truly is a wonderful film studio that has given fans some of the best films ever made in cinema history. It has made such classics as Pinnochio, The Little Mermaid, and Cinderella. The Mouse House has lived up to the promise of creating some of the best children’s films and will not be running out of steam anytime soon.

With all that in mind and making some of the most culturally significant animated and hybrid projects known to man, the studio was bound to remake previous properties for profit and nostalgia.


Many live-action Disney remakes have faced criticism from critics and fans alike. Much of the objections have been aimed at the fact that the remakes lack the same magic as their cartoon counterparts.

However, in some cases, that may not always be the case.

holy trinity of disney live action remakes im afraid

Here is a list of Disney's best remakes with the most emotional resonance and attempts to do something new with their perspective property.


Disclaimer: This article reflects the views of the author.

Disney and their best live-action remakes

5) Aladdin


This Disney remake sees everyone’s favorite street rat, Aladdin, fall in love with Princess Jasmine and run into some trouble with the devious Grand Vizier named Jafar, who craves the Genie’s lamp inside the cave of wonders.


While this remake doesn’t match the same level of magic and awe as the 1992 original, it still exudes a fun and colorful canvas Disney always provides for its viewers. It throws spell after spell of visual wonder that keeps the audience captivated.

Also, on the plus side, Will Smith’s Genie cultivates, or salps, together a fresh new take on the blue Djinn that could give Robin Williams a run for his money.

4) Dumbo


Surprisingly helmed by German Expressionist student Tim Burton, this remake has audiences fly with the big-eared outcast elephant as he becomes a great attraction for a struggling circus. As a result, the pachyderm manages to garner the attention of V. A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), who exploits the animal for his avaristic purposes.

The film was somehow criticized for its perceived lack of emotional depth, and looking back, the verdict makes fans scratch their heads as to why. Its dark landscape is perfectly matched and never overshadowed by the heart that anchors the film.

This was a remake that met the same standards as the original. The only downside was that it didn’t have those funny talking crows.

3) The Lion King


If Disney fans want a visually stunning film, they’ll be more than happy with this feat in CGI wizardry. Despite how people label it, this is another better animated shot-for-shot remake of the 1994 film.

However, that doesn’t mean that it’s inherently bad. Fans see a young lion cub named Simba, who follows in the footsteps, or paws, of his father, Mufasa the King.

He teaches Simba what makes a great king, shaping him in his son’s image. However, Mufasa’s brother Scar attempts to make a deal with the hyenas in an attempt to kill Mufasa and Simba.

A simple story with not-so-simple visual effects, this film is such a marvel for the eyes that it almost looks like a nature documentary shot on location. Every frame of animation and every hair on the animal’s skin seems more realistic than the scales on a fish.

Sadly, the movie was overlooked by critics as dull and lacking emotional resonance. Much like Dumbo, it took leaps and roared mightily.


2) Beauty and the Beast


A tale as old as time seems never to get old. In the film, a young woman named Belle saves her father from being held captive in a Beast’s castle by taking his place.

As time passes, the two grow attached as the Beast hopes that Belle can fall in love with him to break the curse placed upon him and his castle.

This is a remake that proved to be magical, whimsical, and humorous without ever trying too hard. It fixes some plot holes that have stayed rent-free in children’s minds since 1991, and it brought Disney over a billion dollars at the box office, which isn’t too shabby for a remake.

Like many on the list, this movie seems underappreciated for its sheer brilliance and craft in filmmaking. Hopefully, that changes over the years.

1) The Jungle Book


Finally, it comes to this triumphant jungle film, The Jungle Book. In the movie, a man-cub named Mowgli is raised by wolves and brought up to learn the ways of said wolves until a vicious tiger named Shere Khan (Idris Elba) threatens his way of life by hunting down the boy.

The movie will probably go down as Jon Favreau’s magnum opus. It improved upon the campy 1967 film and utilized its characters more in a superior and serious fashion.

The perfect cast is brilliantly assembled with acute and sensitive care for the source material, which is why this is genuinely the most outstanding Disney remake ever.


Quick Links

Edited by
Ravi Iyer
See more
More from Sportskeeda