New in 2014, Queen Elsa from "Frozen" uses her incredible powers to transform Cinderella Castle into a glistening ice palace for the holidays. Joined on the Forecourt stage by Princess Anna, rugged mountain man Kristoff and Olaf, the summer-loving snowman, Elsa bestows this gift onto the people of Magic Kingdom with colorful snowflakes, fireworks and a special effects spectacle bathing the castle in 200,000 shimmering white lights. Magic Kingdom guests are treated nightly to the dramatic "A Frozen Holiday Wish" stage show. (Matt Stroshane/Disney/TNS)
New in 2014, Queen Elsa from “Frozen” uses her incredible powers to transform Cinderella Castle into a glistening ice palace for the holidays. (Matt Stroshane/Disney/TNS)

Just as children grow and progress, their Disney movies have grown and transformed right alongside them.  As of late, Disney seems to not only be targeting the younger generations, but also the adults who once watched Disney cartoons as children.

In Oct. 2011 the “Once Upon on a Time” television series premiered on ABC, bringing beloved Disney and fairytale characters to a live-action television series. “Once Upon a Time” is the first in a now long line of live-action fairytale TV series and movies.

“Once Upon a Time” appeals to an older audience who wants to enjoy their fairytale favorites they grew up reading and watching, but now in a more realistic way. While the main plot line focuses on Snow White and the evil queen, it is more in-depth than what is seen in the original Disney movie. As the show has progressed, characters from “Frozen,” “Peter Pan” and others have been added to the story.

Another thing that “Once Upon a Time” has done is make the live Disney movies more realistic and tell the sides of the villains. When “Maleficent” came to the theaters it was the first time Disney made a feature film on the villain of a story. This storyline brought audiences running to the box office and its success opened a new door for Disney in live-action fantasy movies.

Another Disney movie that gave a realistic spin on fairytales was the film “Into the Woods.” Based on Stephen Sondheim’s award-winning musical, this film follows several common fairytales including “Jack in the Beanstalk,” “Cinderella” and “The Baker and his Wife,” and intertwines their stories. Each character has a wish and through various means they achieve their dreams. Everything seems great until, well, it isn’t and our brave heroes and heroines discover getting what they want isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

This film was intriguing because it showed Disney was giving a new approach to their films and the audience they were tailoring to. While “Into the Woods” is full of fairytales, love and adventure like so many Disney movies, it was definitely not one for children. Several of the characters die, one has an extramarital affair and there’s always the question as to what on earth the prince was doing with Rapunzel when the Witch was away.

While much more realistic and darker than most Disney fairytale movies, that was part of it’s charm. “Into the Woods” showed that fairytale characters are real people too, that they make mistakes and have to deal with the consequences, something few of the animated fairytales show.

A live-action version of “Cinderella” will be released on March 13. This version of Cinderella looks like it is tailored to adults who feel they are too old to watch cartoons but is still appropriate for children.

“Beauty and the Beast,” slated for 2016, will be the next fairytale brought to live action. The all-star cast will include Ryan Gosling, Emma Watson, Emma Thompson and many more lead Hollywood actors. It will be intriguing to see how they pull off this fairytale in live action.

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