This week’s new movie releases, including The Book of Henry and All Eyez On Me, sound oddly familiar
Matthew Lickona 3 p.m., June 16
The ready-or-not-here-we-come Disney animation team of the Nineties, having previously trivialized a classic novel in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, are not about to balk at trivializing an entire classical mythology. And under their ruling sensibility of the camped-up contemporary stage musical, the very notion of a virile hero is treated as a joke (a "myth" in the most colloquial sense; a figment; a delusion): an intensified attack, for certain, over the treatment of him as a mere adornment, a mere fashion accessory, to the P.C. independent strong-willed feminist role model (Pocahontas, The Hunchback...). There is one of those on hand as well, a heavy-lidded, sloe-eyed femme fatale called Meg — short for Megara — to prey upon the he-man's sole weakness: he likes girls. (But oh, those pecs! those abs!) Meg is currently under contract, as it were, to the villain of the piece, Hades, an in-love-with-the-sound-of-his-own-voice spieler, modelled along the lines of a behind-the-scenes Hollywood power broker. His nefarious plan: a "hostile takeover" of Mount Olympus. Think of Olympus, if you please, as the Disney Studio; think of Zeus as CEO Michael Eisner (forget that he himself was once a usurper from the outside), or think of him as none other than Uncle Walt; and think of Hades as, say, Don Bluth or, more contemporary with Walt, the Looney Tunes gang. The irony is, the takeover in real life has already taken place, from the inside, in the form of surreptitious Body Snatchers from Planet Broadway. 1997.