A Disney live-action film inspired by TikTok? This has bad written all over it. Ever since Disney started remaking their classic animations into live-action features, the films have been hit/miss for the House of Mouse. Financially, the remakes are a box office success, with Aladdin, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and The Jungle Book all collecting over $1 billion worldwide. However, critically, the films haven’t been on par with their animation counterpart. This has stood out in the past couple of years, starting with Mulan, with the recent release, Pinocchio, being trashed by both critics and fans.
“A well-intentioned work that largely falls flat, it arrives as just another widget in Disney’s “remake’em all!” agenda, one whose pedigree offered the hope of something better.” The Hollywood Reporter‘s John DeFore’s review of the Disney film can easily be a summary of how most fans feel about these live-action remakes. Luckily, Joe and Anthony Russo have been listening to the concerns of viewers who demand that these live-action counterparts not feel like easy cash grabs, though the fact that the filmmakers are using TikTok as an inspiration is certainly alarming:
“Audiences today have been trained by TikTok, right?” Russo asks Variety. “What is their expectation of what that musical looks like and feels like? That can be a lot of fun and help us push boundaries a little bit on how you execute a modern musical.”
From Martin Scorsese, that is no cinema! TikTok and films are two different mediums that filmmakers shouldn’t be inspired by. TikTok’s are made-for-quick and silly entertainment (or toxic and annoying advice) that isn’t meant to send fans on an incredible character-driven journey. Films are larger than life. Following these fantastical characters in colorful and unique worlds is something you will never get in a ten-second TikTok video. It’s odd that the Russo Brothers may seriously be considering taking inspiration from a platform that’s wholeheartedly different than the film they’re trying to make.
Granted, based on the interview, it does sound like sarcasm is at play here, and the Russo Brothers didn’t particularly say that the story or filmmaking style will be based on TikTok videos, but it does sound like the brothers are misinterpreting the criticisms levied against these live-action remakes. Now, The Russo Brothers are only onboard as producers as most of the creative decisions will go to Guy Ritchie, who also did the Aladdin remake. Given all the talks about making Hercules more experimental, the key thing about turning this into a successful adaptation is by keeping the original themes and characters but not an exact carbon copy of the animated feature that preceded it.
Guy Ritchie is an excellent filmmaker: The Gentlemen, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch, are just some of the great films he’s made throughout his career; however, Ritchie’s style was barely present in the Aladdin remake. It was essentially the film that everyone was complaining about, a safe, nearly shot-by-shot live-action recreation of its animated counterpart. Ritchie and the Russo Brothers don’t need to make something wild and experimental, and it could be in the vein of Mulan; While not particularly a great movie, the film at least takes risks with its source material, and it doesn’t feel like an exact copy of the original.
Whatever the case may be, the Hercules feature should be an interesting one. Clearly, there’s talent behind the camera that can result in one of the best (if not the best) live-action adaptations to date, but if the Russo Brothers’ comments are serious, then it’s a little concerning that this is the direction they’re opting to take.