It happened: there will be a Disney live-action prequel to an animated film. The Hollywood Reporter announced that a prequel to the 1992 animated classic, Aladdin, is in the works. The film will be about the origin of genies, and is simply titled Genies. There is no set release date.
Earlier this year, Disney shocked the world, announcing a string of live-action films adapted from Disney animated classics, such as Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, Winnie the Pooh and others. (Read about my case against the “Night on Bald Mountain” live-action adaptation, another announced film). However, Genies is the first announced live-action prequel.
Which honestly does not make any sense at all. If a prequel or sequel to a film is made, it makes sense to keep it in the same medium, meaning– if the first one was animated, the prequel should be too! There are some great movie prequels out there. For example, The Godfather Part II. What if Francis Ford Coppola decided to animate that? That would not be cool.
The same goes for sequels: if the first one is live-action, keep the second one that way! (same goes for animation). Only one example that defies this rule comes to mind: Stuart Little 3. The first two films were live action, and for some bizarre and unexplained reason, the third was animated. And I think it’s fair to say that nobody liked Stuart Little 3. Let’s call this hatred surrounding the film and movies that took a similar path the Stuart Little 3 Syndrome. I will continue to uncover more films in this category.
Basically, Disney is treading some very dangerous waters planning a live-action Aladdin prequel. I cannot imagine that many kids who grew up with the original want to see a CGI version of The Genie.
So Disney, let me know when you’re making that live-action prequel to Oliver & Company I’ve been waiting for since I first popped the sweet, sweet original VHS tape into its player when I was young.