Friday, 26 May 2017

Disney Movies You Didn't Know Were 'Remakes'

Live action Disney movie remakes. They've generated a lot of interest over the past couple of years, criticism being rife. ''How could Disney remake such a classic!!'', ''It'll never be as good as the original!''..and so on and so forth. I won't get into my thoughts on the 'remakes' (or reimaginings as I prefer) right now, instead, I'll ask a question: Why was it that no one cared if Disney remade previous movies of theirs, until Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast etc?
In this post, I'm gonna share a couple other live-action Disney movies that weren't exactly 'original'!

Race to Witch Mountain 2009
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Anna Sophia Robb.
Remake of: Escape to Witch Mountain 1975
Starring: Eddie Albert, Ray Milland

Escape to Witch Mountain is a fantasy adventure movie, based on a young adult sci-fi novel of the same name by Alexander Hill Key from 1968. There is a sequel, Return from Witch Mountain, released in 1978 and then another in 1982, Beyond Witch Mountain which was brought out as a TV movie.
Also as a TV movie, Escape to Witch Mountain was remade for the first time in 1995 being released as part of The Wonderful World of Disney before finally being reimagined into the 2009 feature film, Race to Witch Mountain!

The Shaggy Dog  2006
Starring: Tim Allen, Kristin Davis
Remake of: The Shaggy Dog 1959 
Starring: Fred MacMurray, Jean Hagen

Just like the afore mentioned movie, The Shaggy Dog 2006 is the second remake of this fun-filled family comedy. It had a 1994 TV movie remake, a 1976 sequel (The Shaggy D.A.) and a 1987 TV movie sequel, The Return of the Shaggy Dog.

Freaky Friday 2003
Starring:  Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan
Remake of: Freaky Friday 1977
Starring:  Barbara Harris,  Jodie Foster

If you haven't seen or heard of Freaky Friday...where were you in the 2000s?! Popular with people of my age especially, Freaky Friday is a fantasy comedy where mother and daughter switch bodies.
The original 1977 movie was an adaptation from a book of the same name by Mary Rodgers and also had a TV movie remake in 1994 before the 2003 version which our generation knows and loves came to be.

The Parent Trap 1998
Starring: Lindsay Lohan,  Dennis Quaid
Remake of: The Parent Trap 1961
Starring: Hayley Mills,  Maureen O'Hara

Like the teen classic above, The Parent Trap is another popular with my fellow 90s kids and coincidentally also stars Lindsay Lohan. Other than the 1998 remake of the 1961 version (which, sorry, is my favorite as I adore everything to do with Hayley Mills) there are also three sequels, 1, 2 and Hawaiian Honeymoon all of which star Hayley Mills!

Flubber 1997
Starring: Robin Williams, Jodi Benson
Remake of: The Absent-Minded Professor 1961
Starring:  Fred MacMurray, Nancy Olson

Now as you can see by the name, this one might not be so obvious unless you have seen the movie but yep, Flubber is indeed a remake of 1961 The Absent-Minded Professor. Legend Fred MacMurray, as Professor Brainard, creates 'flying rubber' (or Flubber) that, among other things, ends up on the feet of basketball players just like the invention of Professor Philip Brainard portrayed by the equally as legendary Robin Williams.

101 Dalmatians 1996
Starring: Glenn Close, Huge Laurie
Remake of: 101 Dalmatians 1961
Starring: Betty Lou Gerson, Rod Taylor

Adapting an animated feature film into a live-action movie is a new thing no? I thought Disney had just run out of ideas and was redoing all the classics in the last 2010s onward? No! It really gets my goat that no one seemed to complain when 101 Dalmatians was reimagined using real life people and real life dogs but nevermind, it's only now we aren't allowed to revisit any of the classics canon ;)
The 1996 movie was a big success and was followed by the sequel 102 Dalmatians in 2000.

The Jungle Book 1994
Starring: Jason Scott Lee, Lena Headey
The Jungle Book 1967
Starring: Phil Harris, Sebastian Cabot

2016 wasn't the first time The Jungle Book came to real life! 1994 saw another Disney animation 'remade' and with actual wild (well, trained) animals as opposed to our CGI versions we are now lucky to be able to utilize.

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey 1993
Starring: Michael J. Fox, Sally Field
Remake of: The Incredible Journey 1963
Starring: Émile Genest, John Drainie

Apparently, Homeward Bound is described as an adventure comedy but I'd class it as an emotional rollercoaster haha. I grew up watching both the original and the remake and have always loved them so much! You could probably say the story is the animal version of Home you think?!
Despite there being a 30-year gap between the two versions and obvious technological advances, the sentimentality remains as strong in both movies with beautiful animal actors in both too.
Homeward Bound, unlike The Incredible Journey, was followed by a sequel in 1996 - Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco.

So start your griping that Disney remakes are a terrible idea, only done because they have no new ideas (haha, pull the other one...just look at the insane list of announced original movies we have to come in the following years) and all that other jazz. None of these movies are direct copies either, they are just re-imagined to bring it up to date for new audiences and all 'remakes' are usually just that.
I hope you'll think a little differently about live action adaptions in future, see them as stand alone productions and try not to compare them too much to their counterparts. I also hope that you enjoyed this post! :) Thanks for reading!!


  1. Oh my gosh, I had no idea that Flubber was a remake at all! I'd seen bits of the original Freaky Friday, so I knew about that one, but a lot of these I had no idea about and that's why I love these kinds of posts, always something new to learn! - Tasha

    1. I have to admit, I didn't either until a couple of years ago when I first watched the original and it clicked!
      Crazy isn't it. No one complains about those remakes ;)


  2. I loved the original Parent Trap and Freaky Friday when I was little - it's always those two I think of before the remakes!

    1. Aww thats so fun! I prefer those versions but sadly didn't see them until about 5/6 years ago...the shame.