Top 10 live-action Disney films (that prove Star Wars is in safe hands)

Published 
9 Nov 2012
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Ignore the naysayers, Disney is a great choice for the new Star Wars films - here are ten reasons why

Film fans aren't sure what to think about George Lucas selling Disney the rights to the Star Wars franchise - after the awful mess that was episodes 1-3, you could be forgiven for wishing they would leave the series well alone.

Don't panic though - we've got every faith that Disney will come through and produce some fantastic new films. Why? Its excellent track record when it comes to live action. Today we've listed just a few of the many superb films Disney has produced over the years, which should put your mind at rest.

10. RETURN TO OZ

Proving that Disney can do dark and tense movies while keeping it family-friendly, this 1985 Oz film's cult following is proof of the enduring appeal of clever effects - including a life-sized animatronic chicken - and surprisingly complex storytelling. You know it's going to all be a bit harrowing as soon as Dorothy - trapped in a real-world mental institution - is transported to Oz only to encounter the ruins of the yellow brick road.

The film admittedly spooked a number of small children during its cinematic release, but there's always been room for that sort of tension in the Star Wars archetypal battle of good versus evil. The excellent design of characters such as Jack Pumpkinhead and the outstanding lead performance of a very young Fairuza Balk bode well for creature effects and strong female characters, too.

9. COOL RUNNINGS

Cool Runnings took the true story of the first Jamaican Olympic bobsled team and turned it into a family-friendly comedy that managed to be sweet without ending up (too) schmaltzy.

After failing to make the Jamaican sprinting team due to a qualification mishap, Derice Bannock teams up with champion pushcart racer Sanka to form a bobsled team, enlisting the help of John Candy's disgraced former bobsled champ Irv. The team overcomes financial and technical battles, as well as the disdain of the East German team, to race in the Olympics.

The cast is likeable and funny, and the cod-Jamaican accents are far less offensive than The Phantom Menace's horrendous racial stereotypes.

8. HOCUS POCUS

This Halloween-themed family film revolves around the attempts of three witches to ensure their immortality by murdering children. Cheery stuff, right? The plot could easily be the stuff of schlock horror, but Disney gives it a family adventure twist with a pair of intrepid teenagers and great comedic casting for the witches (Sarah Jessica Parker really was funny once, we promise) and the inevitably amusing consequences of a trio of 17th century witches running head-on into a modern American Halloween.

Although it didn't do massively well with critics and cinema-goers at the time of its release, Hocus Pocus has since proved to have the kind of enduring cult appeal and all-ages entertainment value that's exactly what's missing from Lucas's own Star Wars prequels.

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