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Skin Care by Hyram’s Drugstore Favorites

TikTok skinfluencer, Hyram Yarbro, has taken the world of skincare by storm. From his hilarious skin care reaction videos to his sustainable product recommendations, he has quickly risen to popularity.

Since his beginning in March of 2020, he has cultivated a community of over 6 million followers and has earned over 200 million likes. Although his recent success has been on TikTok, he is no stranger to skincare. 

Photo taken from @skincarebyhyram on Instagram. Hyram is holding a 1 million subscriber plaque from YouTube in May of 2020. He now has over 3 million subscribers.

Hyram began sharing his passion for skincare in November of 2015 with the start of his YouTube channel, Skin Care by Hyram. While he is not a dermatologist or an esthetician, his years of personal experience and individual research have made him a trustworthy source for information that is sympathetic to the struggles of having bad skin. His videos are educational, entertaining and eco-conscious.

Although Hyram offers skin care tips to people of all ages, a large majority of his audience are young people. Because of this, he produces a lot of content recommending affordable and accessible products for high school and college students alike.

If you are looking to dive into the world of skin care, here are some of Hyram’s most recommended drugstore favorites. 

  1. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Cleansing Gel – $12

This cleanser is a great pick for people with very dry skin. The second ingredient in this face wash is Glycerin, a great cleansing agent that helps the skin retain moisture and prevents skin irritation.

  1. Simple Micellar Facial Gel Wash – $13

Hyram recommends this cleanser to a multitude of people, because it tends to work for people with any type of skin. It provides a gentle cleanse and it is fragrance free.

  1. CeraVe Renewing Salicylic Acid Face Cleanser – $12

This cleanser helps people with acne-prone skin with salicylic acid as a main ingredient . Hyram also loves that this cleanser has niacinamide, as it is one of his favorite skin care ingredients of all time. Niacinamide is known to help reduce the appearance of pores, fade acne scars and even overall skin tone. 

  1. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream – $16

This moisturizer is one of the cleanest and affordable on the drug store market. It is great for hydrating dry and sensitive skin. Some key ingredients are glycerin and sodium hyaluronate which helps the skin absorb moisture. 

  1. CeraVe Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30 – $14

Sunscreen is an absolute necessity for maintaining healthy and youthful-looking skin. Hyram recommends this sunscreen because not only is it safe for your skin, but it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals that pollute the coral reefs or marine life. Hyram lives in Hawaii so protecting the beaches and sun damaged skin are two priorities of his. 

These are just a few affordable and accessible Skin Care by Hyram recommended and approved products. To see if your current skin care routine is “Hyram approved,” or for more product recommendations and application tips visit his YouTube channel or TikTok, at Skin Care by Hyram.

“You’ve Got Time”; Time to Revisit

After over a year of living without the women of Litchfield in “Orange Is the New Black,” it’s time to re-examine those beloved characters.

**WARNING: Spoilers ahead for the series “Orange Is the New Black.” Reader discretion advised.**

Source: Jill Greenberg – Netflix

“The animals, the animals…” Fans of the Netflix original series, “Orange Is the New Black,” likely still get goosebumps when they hear the first few words of Regina Spektor’s haunting “You’ve Got Time.” 

The song played under the opening title of the beloved show that ran for seven seasons on the platform. “Orange Is the New Black” has been praised for its complex characterizations of women, addressing the abusive conditions within the prison industrial complex and ICE detention centers and discussing all kinds of social issues such as racism, transphobia and sexual abuse. The final season was released on July 26, 2019. For over a year now, we have been deprived of the resilient, oftentimes hilarious women of Litchfield penitentiary. But are all the characters really as great as we remember them?

It’s time to take a look back at the women who made the show so memorable. All characters will be put into a “block” grading scale: A Block for the best characters, C Block for the not-so-great characters and B Block for the ones floating in the middle. This scale is completely subjective so feel free to disagree with me!

Piper Chapman – C Block

Even though Piper was our leading lady for the series, I couldn’t stand her. She was unbearably privileged and was often the very definition of “first world problems.” When it came to her relationship with Alex, I thought Alex could’ve done so much better. Piper, especially within the relationship, was selfish, bossy and obtuse. She didn’t believe Alex when she thought someone was trying to kill her (i.e. the end of season three), she cheated on Alex and she abandoned her right after Alex’s mother passed away. Yes, I am obviously biased towards Alex but these seem to be the actions of someone who is objectively awful. This is not to say Piper deserves all the horrible things that happened to her; I don’t think she deserved to have a swastika burned into her arm. But, nonetheless, she was an accidental Nazi sympathizer and I think that speaks enough to how unlikable she is as a character.

Alex Vause – A Block

Perhaps I liked Alex so much because she was relatable; she was cynical, sarcastic and laid back (most of the time). Her biggest flaw was loving Piper. While she cheated on Piper with a corrections officer towards the end of the last season, I see her affair as a bit more justified, considering Piper had been released from prison at that point and Alex was all alone and scared. Alex had been disappointed by people most of her life (her father, ex-lovers [including Piper], her “co-workers” within the drug smuggling ring she worked for, etc.) and I see her as someone who just needed to catch a goddamn break. I mean, she had to murder someone in self-defense and cut up the body to save herself from getting life in prison. Need I go on?

Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson – A Block

Talk about needing to catch a break. Taystee was one of my favorite characters from the very first season. Her and Poussey were my favorite comedy duo and when they fought throughout season two…it just broke my heart. What broke my heart, even more, is when she was sentenced to life in prison for a crime she did not commit. If you need a refresher: she was accused of shooting and killing CO Piscatella when the riot at Litchfield was raided but really the riot police (or whatever their official title was…) was responsible for the murder. Taystee tried to fight it in court, was sentenced to life and then tried to appeal her case once new evidence came to light. None of it worked and she ends up serving her life sentence working to better the lives of the women at Litchfield by teaching them about the micro-loans she helped organize in honor of Poussey. Of course Taystee would use her time to help others; that’s who she is. That’s why I love her so much. I’m upset that the writers of the show gave no justice to her. But I know that’s how life is; there’s often little justice.

Nicky Nichols – A Block

I love Natasha Lyonne. Even more, I love Natasha Lyonne as Nicky Nichols. She is the definition of a flawed character but that’s why we love her so much. We know her addiction troubles stem from a childhood full of neglect and sadness. We sympathize with her being in love with a woman who will likely never love her back (Lorna). Or at least, I hope you did. Nicky’s fierce loyalty and biting wit make her one of the series’s strongest and most lovable characters. Her relationship with Red illustrates perfectly how blood does not dictate who our family is. I thought her ending was one of the most poetic and beautiful out of anyone in the series: she followed in her mother’s footsteps. Nicky ended up being in charge of the ICE detention center kitchen, reflecting Red’s leadership and initiative to turn her kitchen into a bright spot in a gloomy place.

Galina “Red” Reznikov – B Block

I really liked Red at the beginning of the series. In the war between Vee and Red in season two, I was all-in for Team Red. However, once we hit season four, Red’s priorities started to spiral. Red was a fierce, unwavering matriarch that no one could touch. But then she started to obsess over Piscatella and became hell-bent on destroying him. I hate to admit it, but she is the reason Piscatella snuck into the prison during the riot and attacked her friends. I’m not saying it’s her fault any of them got hurt; that blame is solely on Piscatella. But, like it or not, she is the one who lured him in. Then, in season six, Red got sucked into the “prison war” mindset and once again lost sight of her priorities. She tried to attack Frieda (who sold her out after the riot) when she finally had the opportunity to see her grandchildren. It was just sad to see her integrity as a character deteriorate. Not to mention she kind of had feelings for Sam Healy at one point in the series, which is disgusting due to his racism and misogyny. C’mon, Red. However, it is very very sad to see her end up in “Florida” (the cell block for the old, infirm and mentally impaired) at the end of the series because of her early dementia. Oh, how the mighty fall.

Gloria Mendoza – A Block

At the beginning of the series, Gloria was a bit forgettable. However, the writers soon gave more weight to her character and we got to see how she really was. She had a rocky start in the beginning, with her beef with Red and her issues with Sophia (which were blown way out of proportion thanks to Dayanara’s mother, Aleida), but Gloria eventually grew to have some very redeeming qualities. Gloria is a fiercely caring woman: she loves her kids, she looked after Dayanara after her mother was released and she would do anything to help anyone. She protected her kitchen staff and took pride in her food in the kitchen. Her and Norma are the ones to thank for finally getting rid of Vee (season two’s main antagonist). In the last season, Gloria risks her release date in order to help the women in the ICE detention center. Unfortunately, she did have that awkward “romance” (if you could even call it that) with Litchfield’s laziest guard, Luschek, but in the end, it is such a joy to watch her get released from prison.

Suzanne Warren – A Block

The writers really asked themselves: what is one of the saddest possible backstories we could give to one of these characters? Then they gave it to Suzanne. Suzanne was in prison because she accidentally “kidnapped” a boy and ran him off a ledge in her apartment. It’s unclear whether the boy survived or not but, judging by how high up the apartment was, he presumably died. Suzanne’s childlike mindset just wanted a friend to play with and it ended up costing her her freedom. That described most of her time in prison as well: she just wanted a friend. Whether it was Piper or Taystee or Vee or Frieda, Suzanne just wanted someone she could talk to and play with. People took to calling her “Crazy Eyes” but it deeply hurt her feelings and was offensive, considering her mental capabilities. Suzanne’s brutal honesty and pure heart won the hearts of viewers all over the world. And won Uzo Aduba two Emmys.

Dayanara Diaz – B Block

Daya’s choices stress me out. She had sex with a guard without protection and wound up pregnant. She then decided to pursue a relationship with the guard who impregnated her and even got engaged to him, even though he disappeared shortly thereafter. She shot a guard at the beginning of the riot in season five. Once in the maximum-security prison after the riot, she became a drug kingpin and started using drugs herself. Despite all of this, I know Daya was a product of her environment. Anyone raised by Aleida Diaz was bound to have some problems of their own. Even though I don’t necessarily agree with Daya’s choices when she was in maximum, I was at least proud to see that she finally stood up to her mother. Plus, I can’t judge her too much on how she chooses to spend life in prison. I have no idea what I would do in that situation.

Lorna Morello – C Block

I’ve heard lots of people say that they don’t like Lorna because of the way she obsesses over men. However, I think that’s completely unfair because she was obviously mentally ill and needed professional help to address her thought processes. I’m putting Lorna in my metaphorical C Block because of her blatant racism. Throughout the series, it could be seen as somewhat humorous and I assume many viewers laughed it off. However, once she’s working in the kitchen at the ICE detention center, her comments angered me greatly and I realized that I would despise her if I knew her in real life. That being said, I do feel sorry for her in the end. She lost her baby, her husband and she ends up in “Florida” with Red. All that pain finally broke her and it’s hard to watch.

Blanca Flores – A Block

Much like Gloria, Blanca was forgettable at the beginning of the series. Then she was portrayed as this humorous wild woman and I started to like her. Then season four dropped and I realized she was a stone-cold badass. She was the one who first stood up the abusive conditions within the prison and she stood on a table for days to fight for the rights of the incarcerated. Putting her in A Block rather than B Block with Red might seem hypocritical since she also helped lure in Piscatella during the riot. However, the last season is driven by her time spent in the ICE detention center and I sympathized with her so much more in that final season. I thought was strong, intelligent and resilient in one of the most horrific situations that can happen to a person. I really respected her and was rooting for in a way I never thought I would when I watched the first season. Also, I thought her relationship with Diablo was so cute and I’m so glad they finally got to be together.

Cindy Hayes – C Block

I never had any major issues with Cindy throughout the series. She was selfish, yes, but she was also funny and seemed like a dependable friend, especially when it came to Taystee. Season six turned all of that around. While I understand that she feared for her life, she was completely in the wrong when she betrayed Taystee and basically framed her for shooting Piscatella. She testified against Taystee in court and doomed her to a life in prison. It was a betrayal that hit deep. Again, I have no idea how I would react in that situation. But I would hope I would be more loyal to my friend and not condemn a human being to life in prison.

Poussey Washington – Her own private, luxury cell<3

I saved the best for last. Much like Judy King in season four of the series, Poussey has a luxury, private cell with flowers and a water seltzer machine in my metaphorical blocking situation. Poussey loved books. She was kind and honest and funny and intelligent. No one deserved her fate but she least of all deserved it. At the time of her death, Poussey finally found a relationship that made her happy. She loved her friends and she was making the best of a bullshit prison sentence. (She was busted for selling marijuana and was sent to prison, further illustrating the ridiculousness of marijuana-related sentences.) Watching her die was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to watch on television. Her death hit hard and it’s an episode I’ve still only seen once after several years. Her spirit and her light inspired a cry for change within the prison and her name was used for the micro-loans Taystee created to give women a second chance on the outside of prison. Poussey was a true friend and brilliant human being. She deserved so much better.

Julie and The Phantoms: Don’t Underestimate This Teen TV Show

Quirky show idea? Check. Diverse characters? Check. Awesome soundtrack? Check. Cute band boys? Triple check!

A show made for teens is always hard to make when it’s walking the line between too childish for adults and too graphic for teens. But, maybe the new teen musical, Julie and the Phantoms is the answer to this problem.

Directed by Kenny Ortega (AKA the mastermind behind the High School Musical and the Descendants trilogies), nothing short of amazing was expected out of this new show, which is exactly what Ortega delivered. The Netflix series is a musical-based supernatural storyline filled with mystery and romance. 

The new Netflix series, based off of the original Brazilian hit show, Julie e os Fantasmas, stars upcoming actress Madison Reyes as Julie Molina.

Julie is a 15-year-old musical prodigy that is maneuvering her way through high school while dealing with her mom’s recent death and the resulting loss of her passion for music.

One night she discovers and accidentally summons the three ghosts (or phantoms, if you will) of Luke (Charlie Gillespie), Alex (Owen Joyner), and Reggie (Jeremy Shada), who were teenage rock stars that died back in 1995, right before they were going to perform the biggest show of their career.

Julie is the only living person (or “lifer” as described in the show) that can see the three guys, you know, in true Disney-esque fashion. Soon after, they discover that the band can actually be seen by humans when they perform with Julie (a twist!). So of course, they decide to start a band. Julie navigates her way through high school drama and crushes while also finding a passion for music again with the help of her new ghostly bandmates.

Credit: Netflix (Left to Right: Jeremy Shada, Madison Reyes, Charles Gillespie, Owen Patrick Joyner)

In this unique Netflix original, there is so much to love. The idea itself is very intriguing in the fact that it has a little bit of everything for everyone. Especially when it comes to its characters.

The cast for the series is one of the most diverse for a children’s/teen’s show that I have personally seen. Having characters with different ethnicities, sexual orientations, and home life dynamics which is one of the best things about this show. It gives its audience of young, impressionable teens and pre-teens the representation that many television shows lacked in earlier years.

Our main character, Julie Molina, is a talented, young Latina that has an incredible passion for music but who’s also struggling to grapple with the expectations of being a teenager. Coming from a newly single-parent household, she is attempting to figure out the new dynamic structure for her family with the absence of her mother.

The band’s kind-hearted drummer, Alex (Owen Patrick Joyner), is the show’s only openly gay character. This is a huge strive in the right direction when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation within shows that are targeted toward young audiences. 

Luke (Charles Gillespie), the guitarist of the band, although not an outwardly diverse character,  goes through an interesting development throughout the series. Towards the end of the nine-episode season, we find out that Luke had left his parents on bad terms before he died due to the lack of support for his music career. Thus, revealing a more vulnerable side of the lovable guy that we first see in the beginning. Having a character have a situation such as this, makes them much more human and relatable to many teens who have gone or are going through similar struggles right now. 

The show’s comedic relief and bass player, Reggie (Jeremy Shada), had been insinuated to have parents that were not very loving and that fought frequently. In one of the early episodes, his parents had been described to have been “one fight away from a divorce” which may resonate quite a lot for many people who have unstable home lives. It has actually been a conspiracy amongst fans that due to the instability of his home life, Reggie has developed a need to cling onto other parental figures to find comfort.

Credit: Netflix

We also get introduced to Julie’s best friend, Flynn (Jadah Marie Johnson). Flynn is a talented, 15-year-old Black girl, who is in the same music program as Julie. Throughout the series Flynn’s character becomes a voice of reason, playing a huge role in Julie’s character development. She remains a prominent character in Julie’s life, so much so that she is actually the subject of one of Julie’s songs in the show, Flying Solo.

As a supportive role, there is Willie (Booboo Stewart), a fellow ghost that becomes tied into the Phantoms’ ghostly adventures. His character provides guidance through the afterlife, becoming a key element in the progression of the story. Although not specifically touched upon in the series due to Willie having less of his backstory revealed, Stewart is known to be of mixed descendants thus translating into his character’s identity.

Additionally, Julie’s father in the series, Ray Molina, is played by the famous Puerto Rican telenovela actor, Carlos Ponce. This is seen as a significant inclusion by the Latinx community since Ponce was a prominent actor within the telenovela world throughout the 2000s and 2010s.

Along with having a huge range of diverse characters, there’s also something else that’s amazing, the soundtrack!

The entire nine episodes of the feel-good, musical series are actually named after the song that is most prominently featured in each episode. Each episode comes with lessons being learned, friendships being tested, and bonds being formed between many of the characters. Music becomes the glue that sticks the entire show together and makes everything work.

Photo credit: Netflix

As the show progresses, we see how Julie’s relationships with her bandmates, friends, family, and her passion for music goes through many different twists and turns. The series soundtrack steers the audience through the dynamic changes in each character’s life.

Photo credit: Netflix

From the Phantoms’ ‘90s punk rock song, Now or Never, to the last song that Julie wrote with her mother, Wake Up, the soundtrack details the vastly different aspects of the show and the journey that the main characters take. 

The songs from the show even become an outlet for the show’s antagonists to reveal their own personalities and stories.

There really is something for everyone in the Julie and the Phantoms soundtrack. 

(As of September 16th, the Julie and the Phantoms soundtrack went #1 on the iTunes music charts.)

This surprisingly deep and meaningful show is one with many different themes and lessons that the characters go through. By having these themes be put into a show made for such a wide audience,  it provides a great platform to talk about subjects that may have been seen as too taboo for tv. But, this show somehow makes these tough subjects much easier to digest and to learn from with the way that it is structured.

Julie and the Phantoms does a good job touching on difficult subjects such as dealing with death, grief, and regret as well as emotional healing with multiple characters. The series tackles teenagers having to figure out who they are and the challenges of finding your identity. During this modern age, the question of sexuality arises and the anxieties that come along with it. The struggle to figure out the way the dynamics of love and relationships are different now when compared to before. Redemption is also seen in multiple forms throughout the series when characters are forced to deal with the consequences of their actions, whether they were intentional or not. 

Family is also a huge aspect when it comes to the relationships within the show. The literal interpretation of this theme can be seen as Julie’s family deals with the loss of her mother, their family struggles in restructuring themselves into a single-parent household throughout the entire season. This theme can be found through the turmoil that was left behind in Luke’s family due to regret and grief being addressed toward the end of the show. But there is a more figurative representation of this theme in how the band sees one another as their new, chosen family that can depend on each other since some of them didn’t have that opportunity when they were alive.

I would highly recommend everyone to go and see what I mean when I say that this show is definitely not something that you want to miss.

10 Tips to not go insane during zoom university

As fall rolls in and schools all across America open their virtual doors to students, frustration and uncertainty begin to set in. Going from an in-person learning environment where the teacher is five feet away to answer questions, to the isolation of virtual learning is physically draining and emotionally exhausting. Staying on task is a challenge in itself with the dog barking in the background, or mom walking in the room to ask a question while the professor struggles to figure out how to unmute themself.

Online classes are overwhelming at best, and panic-inducing at worse. So, as we all struggle to enter the correct zoom codes by the time class starts or figure out what’s due tomorrow, here are some tips to help get you through the insanity of Zoom University.

Illustration by Serena Rodriguez

1. Put Yourself on a Sleep Schedule

With most classes online for the fall semester, professors have given up on attendance policies and resorted to recording lectures to be viewed at any time. While the course usually isn’t self-paced, there’s not always a requirement to wake up on time for that 8 a.m. This could definitely lead to thinking ‘why not just sleep till noon?’ — It’s tempting, definitely, but keeping your body on a schedule will help you in the long run. Not only will your internal clock thank you, but you’ll spend more days waking up refreshed than groggy and ready to go back to bed.

2. Separate Your Work Area from Your Sleep Area

The mind is capable of a lot, but if you’re constantly curled up under your covers in bed while flipping through powerpoints and taking notes, it’s not going to be able to differentiate sleep time from work time. This could have a major effect on your sleeping patterns, especially if the place you’re supposed to be sleeping becomes a source of stress instead of relaxation. Work at the kitchen table instead, or at a desk, to help keep the spaces separate and the mindsets in each space separate too.

3. Make Time to go Outside

While it might seem pretty cool at first to not have to go out and do things, it can also be detrimental to your physical health. The sun provides natural vitamin D, and even if you can’t be out partying with friends all the time anymore, you should still make time to go for a walk or even just sit outside for a bit. If nothing else you could always sit at a Starbucks patio and do some homework (or scroll through tiktok, whatever keeps you out in the sunshine for a little longer).

4. Plan at Least One Full Week at a Time

While classes seem less organized this semester as everyone struggles to get a handle on online learning, it’s important to do your best to plan ahead. I personally always try to plan two weeks out in order to make sure I’m keeping up with assignments, but planning a weekly schedule is probably the perfect time frame. Make a note of all the important due dates that week, when to do those more passive assignments like readings, and try to think about how much time you’re willing to spend on school work each day. Block out a specific amount of time instead of going back and forth with the work all day to continue to help differentiate relaxation from work.

5. Do Your Chores

Sitting around the house all day without having to worry about looking decent can make chores like laundry seem daunting and unnecessary. Make time for this stuff too. Don’t let the dishes get out of hand or the clothes take over the floor. Cleaner environments can actually reduce anxiety and depression levels, while being cooped up all day could definitely exacerbate those problems, so do what you can to help keep your environment looking good — your brain will thank you.

6. Make Time for Friends

Whether it’s a Zoom party, a socially distant coffee date, or a day at the park, make time for the people you care about. Isolation has a lot of negative effects on human health, and while it might seem harder to spend time with people, be sure to put in the effort to get in some quality time with them. The serotonin will start pumping again, I promise, and it will be a nice break from all the extra online schoolwork.

7. Use GroupMe (Or Some Other Alternative)

Now more than ever it’s important to create spaces to contact your classmates. It’s not like you can reach over and tap someone to ask for their number, so the best thing to do is to talk to the professor about getting a GroupMe link sent out to the class so you can have a one-stop-shop to talk due dates, get some help in the class, or even just complain to someone who understands the struggle.

8. Don’t Slack on Hygiene

Just like you need to clean your house, you need to clean your body. Just because nobody is around to smell your bad breath doesn’t mean you shouldn’t brush your teeth. Sometimes, when there’s not a daily structure that in-person classes provide, things like hygiene can be  forgotten. It’s important to remind yourself to keep up with the things you would normally do. A nice shower is the perfect getaway from all things Zoom University, and will  leave you feeling refreshed and ready for whatever the day may bring.

9. Organize Your School Space

Since you’re separating your sleep and workspaces, make sure you take the time to organize that workspace. Having papers everywhere and pens sprawled across the area can lead to confusion and frustration, and sometimes when things get too messy it can make you feel like giving up. Don’t let your school space get disorganized, instead follow some tips from a fellow BurntX writer to help keep your space organized.

10. Actually Go To Class

Okay, so it’s not mandatory. Attendance policies are a thing of the past and all the lectures are recorded for whenever you want to watch them, so, why even bother? Getting that live zoom lecture is the closest to an in-person feel you’re going to get. You can ask questions in real time and talk about points you need clarified up front. Beyond that, you can meet classmates and use breakout rooms to your advantage to get names and numbers of people who can help you get through the course. As much as I’m sure we all wish it was, this is not a semester off from hard work. So whether it’s an 8 a.m. or an 8 p.m., make sure you’re logged into zoom and ready to participate for the majority of the semester.

Disney Has a Live-Action Remake Problem

The House of Mouse has been remaking their animated classics into live-action films. With recent releases, it’s becoming clear that they were better off as animations.

Disney has released their newest remake, “Mulan,” onto Disney+ for a fee of $30. The reimagining of the 1998 film received mixed reviews. It’s a stunning film to look at, not so much a fun movie to watch. “Mulan” isn’t the first remake to get less than stellar reviews. Last year’s “The Lion King” also received poor reviews from critics, and there’s more. Disney has a problem with their live-action remakes, and we will look at what those problems are.

Some films need a remake, to add a new perspective, to reinvent the story. Other films don’t need a remake because they’re great as they are, “The Lion King (2019)” was one of those films. 

The original 1994 film was near perfection, and there was nothing new to do when trying to remake it. 

If there is no need to reinvent the story, then it should not be remade.

“The Lion King” suffered because it ended up being a shot for shot remake with no emotion. Turns out photo-realistic animals aren’t that great at conveying feelings.

Disney’s “The Lion King (2019) photo via IndieWire.

Lack of emotion is another issue with the live-action remakes.

Remakes require a sense of newness and freshness to justify their existence. Disney makes attempts at this and still fails. 

The consequence of changing too much of the story is that the film ends up lacking any of the heart from the predecessor.

“Mulan (2020)” is the newest culprit. Vanity Fair’s review of the film says it turned out to be lifeless, lacking all the awe from the original 1998 film. 

Disney’s “Mulan (2020” photo via Vox.

They remade the film, but they did not remake what made it good.

In “Mulan”’s case, they removed characters who added to the emotional elements of the story. The axed characters include Li Shang, the Grandmother and Mushu.

They sped through the montage of Mulan going to war. A powerful scene, stripped of all it’s meaning and depth.

“Cinderella (2015)” is a good example of what “Mulan” needed to be. They took away the singing but kept the spirit and charm of the story.

Disney’s “Cinderella (2015)” photo via Variety.

Kudos to Disney for attempting to go in a new direction with the story, but they did not bring honor to this remake.

Half of the time, these remakes are fine, but that’s it. They’re fine. They’re forgettable.

“Beauty and the Beast (2017)” was a pretty and faithful adaptation that served its purpose. Enjoyable for two hours, and then as soon as the credits roll, it’s forgotten. It’s a prettier version of the original.

Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast (2017)” photo via IndieWire.

Disney does not like to go too crazy with things, so audiences end up with a safe, by-the-book adaptation. They satisfy for as long as they need to, and then, they exist.

Rolling Stone’s review of “Dumbo (2019)” said the film is too safe and predictable, resulting in the film never taking off toward its potential.

Disney has a problem with its live-action remakes. Either they do not change enough to make it worthwhile, or they change too much and ruin the story.

The Jungle Book” (2016) seemed to be Disney’s peak with adaptation having the highest critical score of them all.

Disney’s “The Jungle Book (2016)” photo via Into Film.

It’s a tough task, but ever since “The Jungle Book,” these films are a hit or a  miss.

I thought “Alice in Wonderland (2010)” was good, but The New York Times says the grim tone, distracting 3-D and awkward fight scenes made for another miss.

Let’s hope Disney gets it right with “The Little Mermaid” adaptation. They’re making a big change by casting a Black woman, Halle Bailey, to play Ariel. Yes, mermaids can be Black. They are fictional creatures.