With Disney refurbishing Tron, The Black Hole, and Flight of the Navigator, it's obvious the Mouse House is mining its past for modern greenbacks. What Disney properties deserve an update? And no, we don't mean Hall of Presidents: The Movie.
Since the success of Pirates of the Caribbean, Disney hasn't been trying to capture lightning in a bottle twice. No, they've gone whole hog and built an entire lightning bottling plant designed to transmogrify your fuzzy nostalgia into hard cash. It's a massive paradigm shift for the company - a decade ago, who would've thought an Escape From Witch Mountain sequel would've raked in $100 million? Hell, even Lindsay Lohan's Herbie: Fully Loaded turned a huge profit.
With new versions of The Black Hole, Swiss Family Robinson, and Flight of the Navigator coming down the pike, it's possible that some of the following properties will be in the reticule of Walt Disney Pictures' money-gun. With some luck, they'll have all the swagger of the first Pirates of the Caribbean and none of the superfluity of the last two.
1.) Something Wicked This Way Comes
This 1981 adaptation of Ray Bradbury's horror novel about a dark carnival was fraught with behind-the-scenes difficulty. Disney wanted to keep the film family-friendly. Bradbury jockeyed to maintain the novel's horror edge, a stance I understand but don't agree with. Anyone who saw this as a kid knows the movie's weapons-grade nightmare fuel.
How To Remake It: Bradbury wasn't thrilled with the final cut of Something Wicked and the original doesn't scream Disney classic. If you're going to remake it, shuffle it over to Miramax and get Cronenberg or Fincher on it or something. Let's not have Bradbury's tale languish as a Disney Channel Halloween special.
Who: Fenton Crackshell was Scrooge McDuck's accountant on Duck Tales. When he yelped ""Blathering Blatherskite!" he became Gizmoduck, the mono-wheeled mallard of munificence.
How To Remake It: We haven't seen Duck Tales in a while, so a film or television reunion seems par for the course. My suggestion? Turn Gizmoduck into a live-action film starring a non-CGI, non-talking duckling who can turn into an adorable patchwork cyborg. The cuteness will appeal to a wide demographic of children and heshers. Go all Where The Wild Things Are and get some Pitchfork Media darling band to score it. (Ratatat? Bam!) Hire Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim to direct it.
3.) Night On Bald Mountain
What: The 1940 Fantasia rendition of Modest Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain." This sequence is the reason Fantasia has never become a cherished film among psychotropic drug aficionados.
How To Remake It: Disney's mining The Sorcerer's Apprentice for material, so it wouldn't be surprising if the way metal Night On Bald Mountain is next on the docket. Go full-blown swords'n'sorcery epic on this one or at least tap The Mighty Boosh crew for a surrealist puppetry interpretation. And for the love of Chernabog, no Halloween costumes.
4.) ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter
What: This Tomorrowland ride was open from 1995-2003 and closed presumably because it was scaring the heck out of vacationers. A winged horror is transported into the room with you in near darkness, and the kid to the left you will regurgitate his fish and chips from Epcot's England pavilion onto your tennis shoes.
How To Remake It: ExtraTERRORestrial suffered the fate of being too awesome for Disney, so give its mythos a place on-screen. Straight science fiction, no CGI or space opera frills. Just the creepy, trapped-in-the-dark sensation of the ride.
What: Over the course of writing this article, I wracked my brains for ways I could justify a Condorman remake. It turns out that's impossible. The world's probably a better place for it.
How To Remake It: Still, if I wielded the keys to the Magic Kingdom, Condorman would be a $300 million endeavor sans CGI. The budget would mostly be spent on an elaborate pulley system to make up for the crap special effects of the original. Condorman: More Condor would star Bruce Campbell, only turn a profit in Moldova, and bankrupt Walt Disney Pictures.