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Beauty and the beastiality

Alabama drive-in boycotts Beauty and the Beast?

Theater owner perceives a permutation of America values
Theater owner perceives a permutation of America values
Movie

Beauty and the Beast *

thumbnail

Comparisons — to Disney’s first live-action princess movie remake (2015’s <em>Cinderella</em>) and to the 1991 animated tale of a Beauty who wants “much more than this provincial life” (and the Beast who must win her heart if he is to recover his humanity) — may not be unavoidable, but they are useful. <em>Cinderella</em> strove and succeeded at expanding and deepening the core fairy tale without sacrificing the story’s “timeless classic” feel. In sharp contrast, <em>Beauty</em> imports a modern YA sensibility that extends beyond star Emma Watson’s empowered-young-woman demeanor — “provincial life” is so backward that Belle’s neighbors recoil at the sight of her teaching a child to read and destroy her labor-saving clothes-washing machine as if it were the devil’s handiwork, while the Beast is presented as the victim of a Bad Dad. And it extends further still, to the language — at one point, one character says of another, “We are so not in a good place right now” — and to the presentation, as a homoerotic subtext is here and there elevated to text. (Credit for all this may go to co-writer Stephen Chbosky, of <em>The Perks of Being a Wallflower</em> fame, as much as it does to director Bill Condon, who helmed the last two <em>Twilight</em> movies.) On that score, your mileage may vary; it’s when you get to the animated <em>Beauty</em> that things get rough: Ian McKellan makes a fine, melancholy Cogsworth the clock, but the rest of the enchanted servants come off hammy and campy, while Kevin Kline seems lost as Belle’s father and Luke Evans turns alpha male Gaston into a bigger cartoon than the original. To say nothing of the workaday new songs and the lumpen inelegance of the CGI Beast. But oh, those fantabulous sets!

Find showtimes

It would be one thing if Alabama drive-in theatre owner Carol Laney had refused to book Disney’s latest retread of Beauty and the Beast (Lickona liked the sets) based solely on a perceived lack of imagination on the part of the studio. After all, how much more money can they milk from the Oscar-winning animated smash that was reverse-rotoscoped into a Tony-winning Broadway sensation?

Add to that a pair of fourth-rate direct-to-video continuations (Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas and Belle’s Magical World), a video game, and the cruel and exacting Beauty and the Beast: A Concert on Ice and Disney Inc. has enough dough in the petty cash drawer to purchase half the western hemisphere and transform it into their own Magic Kingdom.

Instead of badgering the cheapskates at Disney for their disdainful tracing of story, songs, and Beast costume, Laney instead chose to rally against what she observes to be a queer permutation of America values coming soon to an IMAX near you.

In the April issue of Attitude, director Bill Condon, desperate to stoke the PR flames, revealed that in his Beast, Gaston’s lovable sidekick, LeFou, will be Disney’s first-ever openly gay character.

In Laney’s world, it’s okay for a minor to have mature sexual feelings for a creature with a bear’s torso, a lion’s teeth and flowing mane, a pair of wild boar tusks, and the legs and tail of a wolf all topped by a horned-head of a buffalo, just as long as it’s a member of the same sex.

Said Laney, “If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me, then we have no business showing it.” If the Lord has the misfortune of accompanying Laney on her every visit to the picture show, He has my permission to text, talk, and kick the back of her seat throughout the movie.

Both of our local outdoor theatres, the Santee Drive-In and the South Bay Drive-In, will be showing Disney’s latest milestone. How long’s it been since you frequented a drive-in?

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Theater owner perceives a permutation of America values
Theater owner perceives a permutation of America values
Movie

Beauty and the Beast *

thumbnail

Comparisons — to Disney’s first live-action princess movie remake (2015’s <em>Cinderella</em>) and to the 1991 animated tale of a Beauty who wants “much more than this provincial life” (and the Beast who must win her heart if he is to recover his humanity) — may not be unavoidable, but they are useful. <em>Cinderella</em> strove and succeeded at expanding and deepening the core fairy tale without sacrificing the story’s “timeless classic” feel. In sharp contrast, <em>Beauty</em> imports a modern YA sensibility that extends beyond star Emma Watson’s empowered-young-woman demeanor — “provincial life” is so backward that Belle’s neighbors recoil at the sight of her teaching a child to read and destroy her labor-saving clothes-washing machine as if it were the devil’s handiwork, while the Beast is presented as the victim of a Bad Dad. And it extends further still, to the language — at one point, one character says of another, “We are so not in a good place right now” — and to the presentation, as a homoerotic subtext is here and there elevated to text. (Credit for all this may go to co-writer Stephen Chbosky, of <em>The Perks of Being a Wallflower</em> fame, as much as it does to director Bill Condon, who helmed the last two <em>Twilight</em> movies.) On that score, your mileage may vary; it’s when you get to the animated <em>Beauty</em> that things get rough: Ian McKellan makes a fine, melancholy Cogsworth the clock, but the rest of the enchanted servants come off hammy and campy, while Kevin Kline seems lost as Belle’s father and Luke Evans turns alpha male Gaston into a bigger cartoon than the original. To say nothing of the workaday new songs and the lumpen inelegance of the CGI Beast. But oh, those fantabulous sets!

Find showtimes

It would be one thing if Alabama drive-in theatre owner Carol Laney had refused to book Disney’s latest retread of Beauty and the Beast (Lickona liked the sets) based solely on a perceived lack of imagination on the part of the studio. After all, how much more money can they milk from the Oscar-winning animated smash that was reverse-rotoscoped into a Tony-winning Broadway sensation?

Add to that a pair of fourth-rate direct-to-video continuations (Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas and Belle’s Magical World), a video game, and the cruel and exacting Beauty and the Beast: A Concert on Ice and Disney Inc. has enough dough in the petty cash drawer to purchase half the western hemisphere and transform it into their own Magic Kingdom.

Instead of badgering the cheapskates at Disney for their disdainful tracing of story, songs, and Beast costume, Laney instead chose to rally against what she observes to be a queer permutation of America values coming soon to an IMAX near you.

In the April issue of Attitude, director Bill Condon, desperate to stoke the PR flames, revealed that in his Beast, Gaston’s lovable sidekick, LeFou, will be Disney’s first-ever openly gay character.

In Laney’s world, it’s okay for a minor to have mature sexual feelings for a creature with a bear’s torso, a lion’s teeth and flowing mane, a pair of wild boar tusks, and the legs and tail of a wolf all topped by a horned-head of a buffalo, just as long as it’s a member of the same sex.

Said Laney, “If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me, then we have no business showing it.” If the Lord has the misfortune of accompanying Laney on her every visit to the picture show, He has my permission to text, talk, and kick the back of her seat throughout the movie.

Both of our local outdoor theatres, the Santee Drive-In and the South Bay Drive-In, will be showing Disney’s latest milestone. How long’s it been since you frequented a drive-in?

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