Top 10 live-action Disney films (that prove Star Wars is in safe hands)
Posted on 9 Nov 2012 at 16:15, by Tom Morgan
7. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN
If there’s one character that’s now come to define Johnny Depp’s illustrious career, it’s Captain Jack Sparrow. From his slightly drunk swagger to his mumbling speech pattern, there are traces of this mad sea dog in almost everything he’s done since, proving how deeply engrained the Pirates films have become in popular culture. Admittedly, they’ve all become slightly more ludicrous with age, but the sea battles were stunning, its huge cast of colourful characters were well-rounded and well-liked (except maybe Orlando Bloom), and watching Bill Nighy with a squid tentacle beard just never gets old.
There’s simply no other set of films out there that capture the same sense of high-seas adventure and rapscallion tomfoolery, and when it’s all crowned by the enduring character of Captain Jack, we’d happily endure all manner of inane quests for cursed gold, eternal youth and Davy Jones’ locker. It proves that, with the right cast of characters, Disney can make a film out of pretty much anything - even a space opera which features a walking carpet as a main protagonist.
The ultimate combination of traditional hand-drawn animation and live-action antics, Enchanted was a seamless blend of old and new-school Disney. It took all the tropes of Disney films of yore - damsels in distress, evil queens, talking animals, and randomly bursting into song - and stuck them in modern day New York with hilarious results. It was both a playful homage and a self-mocking extravaganza of Disney in-jokes, hidden cameos, and it was all scored by Disney Renaissance maestro, Alan Menken. It can be a little over-the-top at times, but James Marsden’s hammed up narcissistic prince is definitely worth it.
It also proved Disney was happy to play the fool with its source material, something the latter three Star Wars films failed to grasp. Throughout the original trilogy there were elements of humour, but these either fell into unwanted parody in the Phantom Menace or simply evaporated amongst the angsty final film.
It may not have much of a plot, but there's no doubt Tron (the original, not the tedious remake) is a seminal film.
This was the first movie to get audiences genuinely excited about computers, which in 1982 were far from ubiquitous. Tron made a mainframe seem like a mad parallel world, full of lightcycles, flying ships and gladiatorial combat, rather than just a collection of shonky Pascal code.
Couple this with astounding special effects, enhanced by Disney's decision to film on large Super Panavision 70, and you have a film that could be considered the first CGI masterpiece. Considering how well the original Star Wars trilogy's special effects have aged, Tron bodes well for Disney to match ILM's stonking 1977 special effects in any new Star Wars titles.
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