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The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

The Live Action Epidemic: How Many of These “New and Improved” Classics Are Actually Good?


We’ve all grown up watching our favorite classics on TV, from movies like Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid to The Lion King, and even Mean Girls. Recently, these movies have been remade with new actors, new settings, and even new songs. But are these remakes still fan favorites?

To figure this out, let’s ask the students of HSMSE about their opinions on whether the remakes are better than the originals.

Starting off strong is The Little Mermaid. Originally created in 1989, The Little Mermaid quickly became a blockbuster, grossing over $211 million dollars internationally. The remake, made in 2023, made around $263 million internationally. Disney also spent $300 million on the live action movie, going very far over the original budget. Was it worth it? Gaetane Pasquer (‘26) says, “It was really good because I really liked the casting of the characters and the cinematography was nice.” However, she adds, “The original one is a classic so it’s hard to compare, but both are very good.” She recommends that others watch it if they have the chance. 

Adding on to the positive reviews of remakes is Clodagh Finucane (‘26) who watched both the original Disney film (1991) and the remake (2017) of Beauty and the Beast. For context, the original movie had been on a restricted timeline, and only took two years to make, rather than the expected four, due to loss of production time filming other movies. Clodagh says, “The live action is so much better. The costumes and the CGI were so good, and they made the animated characters really come to life.” Perhaps the quality of the original movie could have been better given a proper timeline. Really, it’s apparent that the CGI in the 2017 version elevates the experience to a whole other level. 

Now, moving on to the more negative aspects of some remakes, starting with Mean Girls. Initially inspired by a book, then turned into a movie, and then a musical, and finally another movie, the iconic film has had a long history of remakes. Some have definitely been better than others. The book that started it all, Queen Bees and the Wannabes, was published in 2002, and the first movie was made shortly after in 2004. Then, in 2017, the musical was produced, and finally, in 2024, the most recent edition was released. Greer Silberbush (‘26) has watched the original movie, the musical, and the most recent movie, and expresses a definite preference. She says, “The original Mean Girls movie and musical are better than the remake, because in the remake, there were so many iconic scenes that were cut out or altered and a lot of the songs had less passion and energy than the originals.” Greer isn’t the only one who thinks the new remake was disappointing. Critics such as The Observer, The Spectator, and social media in general show their lack of enthusiasm for this new remake. 

Finally, the last movie in the spotlight is Mulan. Another Disney classic and fan favorite, the very first Mulan was made in 1998, becoming so popular that a Mulan 2 was produced in 2004. Recently, in 2020, the live action film was produced, and it didn’t receive as much positive feedback as the previous editions had. Why? Sooyoung Lee (‘26) offers a possible explanation: “I watched both of the original Mulans, as well as the live action remake, and I preferred the old ones because they had a lot more comedy, light dialogue, and added more humor. Whereas in the live action remake, it was very serious and almost boring. They made a movie that was initially catered towards kids, not appealing to a lot of kids.” It appears that this live action movie did not garner the same enthusiasm and support as its original, and even prompted responses from well-respected magazines such as The Guardian, which focused more on the historical accuracy, or lack thereof: “Historians largely agree that Mulan was a member of the proto-Mongolic Xianbei people, who lived in northern China in the 5th century. Over time her nomadic identity has been removed and replaced with that of the dominant Han ethnicity. So claiming this new Mulan is an “authentic” version of the legend is especially ironic at a time when China is cracking down on Mongolian cultural identity alongside the imprisonment and ‘re-education’ of Xinjiang Uighurs.” (Jingan Young, September 7, 2020) Whether it’s the actual facts of the movie or the quality of the film, it’s safe to assume that the live action remake was not a success. 

While there are definitely some good remakes out there, many of them lack the same charm that the originals have. From the characters, costumes, and comedy to the creativity, the remakes just miss the mark, as the originals set some pretty high expectations. Has this article inspired any ideas about remakes for you?

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