Hey all, I know I've not been around for a while but I've been preoccupied with other stuff outside the web. I tried writing this up last night but my office computer goes all wonky and closes the stupid web browser before I get a chance to finish and I have to start over again. Anyhoo, I've been seeing around the Internet various top 10 lists of stories, fairy tales, classic novels and legends that are practically crying out to be made into Disney films. And I've been wanting to post one of my own. Some stories are really not necessarily bad or anything, I just think it'd be fun to see Disney take a shot at 'em. While others just have a crappily ever after that Disney ought to fix and some are just plain dreadful and rotten so they deserve the Disney treatment to clean them up a good bit.
And so, here are what I have for a top 11 stories that should become Disney films. Why top 11? 'Cause like the Nostalgia Critic, I like to go one step beyond.
11: Three Princes and their Beasts
I've never heard of this story until a while ago, but apparently, three prince brothers, their stepsister and a band of animals (wolf, fox, hare, boar and bear) come across three crossroads. Once taking separate paths, the oldest brother taking the stepsister, they have all sorts of crazy adventures. During the end, the stepsister was forced to betray the oldest brother and as punishment, she is tied up and forced to fill a super deep bowl with her tears before she's set free.
What Disney could do is have the three brothers go on a journey to rescue their kidnapped younger sister and gaining animal companions along the way. There'd also be a lesson about respecting nature as well as being kind, caring and compassionate to other living creatures.
10: The Odyssey
This story always fascinated me, Odysseus on a journey to return home to his family and having many exciting adventures along the way.
A possibility that Disney could do with the story is shorten Odysseus' journey from 20 years to probably in-between 5 to 8 years. Also, his wife Penelope and son Telemechus could have slightly bigger roles. It could also take the same path that "Pinocchio", "The Sword in the Stone" and "Moana" took, having not one main antagonist figure that lasts throughout the film and was obviously the bad guy. But rather an adversary that appears during each act and the biggest and most dangerous baddie appears during the climax.
9: The Little Matchgirl
Where do I begin with this Hans Cristian Andersen tale? It's just a downer story with a bummer ending. My mom starred in a play when she was a child as the title character and her mother (my maternal grandmother) bawled her eyes out throughout the whole friggin' thing. Though, Disney did make a short film and it is artistically and musically beautiful but the story and ending both remained a total downer. I was like "d*** it, Disney! I trusted you!" Even my cousin was like "What the s*** kind of story is that?" I'll tell ya one thing, Hans Cristian Andersen was a nut due to insomnia.
There's so much Disney can do to clean up the story similar to how they cleaned up "The Little Mermaid". This is just from my own mind, but the girl would be given a real name also would start out as an Aladdin character, living on the streets of Moscow with her pet mink and avoiding the police, having to steal food. She still has faith that her grandmother is alive even though she has been informed multiple times that she has no living relatives. When she comes across some magical matches, they turn out to guide her to where her grandmother is. So she, the mink and a boy (the nephew of the antagonist) would set off to find her grandmother with the antagonist wanting to stop them.
8: Tom Sawyer
A classic story by Mark Twain. There was a Disney film titled "Tom and Huck" though I have not seen it and haven't heard good things about it.
I think Disney can do a bit of twisting of this story like leave out the murder and plotted mutilation, instead the antagonist (a possible combined character of Injun Joe and the Ragged Man who would not be biracial) does frame Muff Potter for robbery and only Tom, Huck and Becky know the truth. Also, the fate of the antagonist would be a wee bit different.
7: Black Beauty
I've watched a few adaptations of this story and have read bits and pieces of the book, however the actual story is kinda depressing. The one adaptation I thought was really good was one by Burbank Films Australia in which there's a legit plot about courage and loyalty as well as some antagonist figures.
What Disney I think could do is also give it a legit plot with a wee bit happier atmosphere. I haven't anything in my mind at the moment.
6: Les Miserables
An interesting story by Victor Hugo but is quite the downer. If Disney can twist "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (another story by Hugo) into an entertaining and beautiful film, there's a potential shot at doing the same for Les Miserables. Can't think of anything right now but there's bound to be something sooner or later. Perhaps, Jean Valjean was framed for stealing bread and is on the run from the law, taking on several identities while proving his innocense.
5: The Nightingale
A story about the Chinese Emperor who recieves a nightingale who sings beautifully but when getting a jewel-incrested mechanical one, he sets the live bird free back into the forest. However, the mechanical one breaks and the Emperor becomes sick from depression, the nightingale returns and saves him from Death with its beautiful song.
This does have potential for a Disney film, I think, probably extend the story some and have the mechanical bird poison the Emperor set by the antagonist in order to take the throne and the nightingale must embark on a quest to retrieve the antidote and save the Emperor with some help from a group of new friends. Also would teach how nothing can give, return and recieve love the way a living creature can.
4: The King and I
After being severely disapointed with the 1999 animated adaptation and then being intrigued by the live-action film from the 60's, this story really should be done by the real Disney and not some other studio trying to imitate Disney. As I've said before, the secondary antagonist was given the "curse of unfunny running gag", also every other minute, I wanted to kill the monkey, he was that annoying even for someone like me who has a high tolerence for cutesy comedy relief characters.
What Disney should do, IMHO, is have the story focus on three subplots, one for Anna and the King, another for Louis and Prince Chulalongkorn (as well as keep the two boys the same age of preteen as they were in the original story) and a third involving Tup Tim and her sweetheart Lun Tha. However all three pairs of heroes are watched over by the antagonist (either the Kralahome or another new character) in order to take the throne. There might be a bittersweet ending or even a prologue with the King dying and Chulalongkorn taking over for him.
3: The Musicians of Breman
A fun classic tale about four animals (a donkey, a dog, a cat and a rooster) leaving their abusive owners for the town of Breman to become musicians. Along the way, they end up outsmarting a group of crooks. There was a German film called "the Fearless Four" based on the tale, it was fun and all, though it would be nice to see a more fairy-tale take and a trifle more faithful to the original story.
It's possible for Disney to make this into a musical fairy tale with the animals being able to sing but they can't talk to humans, to them, it's just their typical animal sounds. They outsmart a group of crooks and befriend a young woman who becomes their manager and gives them what they haven't had for a long time, love.
2: Diamonds and Toads
A story about a nasty widow woman with two daughters, the older is as rude and snotty while the younger is polite and sweet. When ordered to get water from the river, an old peasant woman asks for a drink and the younger sister politely gives one to her. Turning out to be a fairy, she casts a spell. Whenever the younger sister speaks, flowers, pearls and diamonds come out of her mouth. She shows this to her family and the mother orders the older sister to go to the river to give the old peasant woman water. However, when getting water, she's aproached by a beautiful princess and the older sister is rude to her. Turning out to be the same fairy as before, she casts a spell on the older sister. Whenever she speaks, snakes, lizards and toads would come out of her mouth. In the end, the younger sister meets a handsome prince and lives happily ever after while the older one lives alone, becoming a crazy cat lady then dies.
What Disney I think could do is twist the story some to involve the sisters each getting a spell cast on them by a Fairy Godmother as a reward to the younger for being polite and a punishment to the older for being rude. The younger having flowers and jewels while the older has bugs and scorpions, both appear in the sisters' hands rather than spitting them from their mouth. The sisters would embark on a journey to lift the curse from the older, gaining some new friends and a prince along the way. Also giving the older sister a happy ending.
Before the number one spot is revealed, here are some honorable mentions.
12 Dancing Princesses, The Golden Touch, Bluebeard, Cleopatra, Beowolf, Moby Dick.
1: The Red Shoes
Another example of how Hans Cristian Andersen was a nut, this story and its ending to match are just dreadful and terrible. If you wanna learn more about it, I suggest checking Wikipedia.
This is something that Disney REALLY needs to twist and clean up also give the protagonist, Karen, a happy ending. Involve her trying to remove the shoes from her feet that won't come off after putting them on (they will make her dance at times against her will), gaining some new companions and a love interest along the way. Since the original was very Cristian-oriented, change it from angels and God to fairies and magic, as well as a lesson on how vanity and pride get you in trouble. Also, the original owner of the shoes would be the antagonist.
And those are what I think Disney should do for animated films. If anyone out there agrees, disagree or whatnot, let me know in the comments.