Disney's done this before -- with 2000's Dinosaur. Technically, it wasn't one of their traditional animated films, as the production team employed live-action backdrops for the CG characters. A team of cameramen spent days filming blank spaces where dinosaurs would eventually go. (Not the most glamorous job, but the result was mesmerizing.) Dinosaur grossed $349 million worldwide, the fifth-highest-grossing movie of the year, before falling into relative obscurity.
The Jungle Book never goes full Dinosaur, save for a few heated Baloo-Bagheera conversations. Mowgli is in every scene, scrambling for his life -- and our attention. In an age where spectacle is everything and CG artisans struggle to match live-action actors, a Lion King remake could take the movies to a new space: not quite "real," not quite animated, just gorgeous and engrossing and meaty. Animals have personalities, and with the Disney remake business in full swing, let's hope they take a lesson from ol' Uncle Walt.