Nowadays, everyone seems to be clamoring to make live-action versions of the classic cartoons that, let's be honest, we don't really need. But while the "House of Mouse" has procured, and thus released, many new live-action films from other companies, such as Marvel and Lucasfilm, there was a time when they were able to come up with their own live-action stories in a rather clever way. Now, I know there are a lot more where these came from, I am just naming the ones that I find have been overlooked in recent years.
1. The Parent Trap (1961)
Yes, at some point I know that we have all seen the remake with Lindsay Lohan and marveled at how bright eyed and lovely she was and wondered what on earth made her become the way she is...
But the original bait and switch pair was played by the ever talented Hayley Mills. When the technology was still new, she played opposite herself and wowed us with being able to become two different characters who met at summer camp and turned out to have been separated in their parents' divorce. It's clever, and a little less slapstick than the remake and focuses on the parents and twins' relationship as opposed to taking time out of the movie to talk about the side characters and their love story.
And who can forget "Let's Get Together"?
It even spawned a sequel, though it didn't do as well, and showed that the power of Hayley Mills, who did a lot of Disney movies in her day, was one to be reckoned with.
2. Escape to Witch Mountain (1995)
This is another one of those movies that spawned a remake, and in fact did it twice as the original came out (the original being a 1975 version) this follows twins that have discovered powers and must figure out their origins while on the run from a tycoon. It is clever, and funny and honestly a heck of a lot better than the remake with The Rock. Definitely one that is a must see.
3. Enchanted (2007)
The movie where Disney pokes fun at itself, this movie was a good time with a large cast of some very popular actors. A girl gets transported from the Disney-like land of Andalasia, into our world and has to figure out a way to get back to her true love so that they may be married.
The movie is light-hearted, and has many cameos from Disney Princess voice actors from the Renaissance, most notably Jodie Benson as the secratary in Robert's office. This film is a lot of fun, poking fun at the old Disney tropes with a lot of Easter Eggs that only the truest fan will spot. And see if you can recognize Nancy's voice. You probably should, she was the voice of Elsa and a famous Broadway actress.
4. Sky High (2005)
A clever parody of comic book superheroes, I have no idea how this isn't more popular. Will Stronghold is the son of two of the most famous superheroes, and is embarrassed because he has yet to discover his powers. He goes to school with other kids that are all superheroes in training, and has to figure out how to navigate not only being a superhero, but the struggles of high school.
With appearances from Kurt Russell, Linda Carter and Bruce Campbell, it is a wonder that this movie isn't more noticeable, but that is just me.
Check it out and decide for yourself if this movie is a good one.
5. Pete's Dragon (1977)
This movie has so many songs that will get stuck in your head, it isn't even funny. It's a sweet story about a little boy that was adopted by a terrible family and has to run away, not for the first time. He has a friend, a dragon named Elliott, who comes to children that need help and eventually meets up with Nora who takes him under her wing and tries to help him without truly believing the dragon exists.
Amazing in the movie is Mickey Roonie who plays Lampie. He is the only person besides Pete who has seen Elliott, as he can make himself invisible, and because he is a drunk nobody believes him. Eventually the truth comes out and Pete is saved after many misadventures.
A good mixture of cartoon and live-action, long before Who Framed Roger Rabbit, this movie is a clever take on an orphan just looking for a home.
6. Holes (2003)
One of the best book-to-film movies I have ever seen, Holes was an interesting movie where young men get sent to Camp Greenlake for misdemeanors and have to dig holes all day. The reason behind this is actually quite clever but I won't spoil it for you. The kids are all well acted, even Shia LaBeouf, and the story is an original one.
If you were a fan of the book, you should definitely have a look. If you would like to see Shia back when he was still fairly normal and could do a good comedy, this is probably one of the best movies for you.
And who could ever forget the song that was released with it?