17 March 2017

Beauty and Hank McCoy

As we approached today I got the feeling more and more that Beauty and the Beast (2017) was going to be a way bigger deal than I cared about. Now, as a Die Hard-loving heterosexual young dude I never gave less than a shit about Beauty and the Beast (1991). This is of course not to deny its outright popularity and enduring love from huge swaths of people. It gained much notoriety from its memorable score, songs, and Best Picture nomination, and I'll admit that when I last saw it, sometime in 2012 or 2013 I was struck by how ground-breaking it actually is. So, let's talk about that a bit as well as preview the critical, cultural, and commercial potential of the newest installment in Disney's money-making machine.
She also still looks like she's 12.

The studio is certainly going for a repeat of its great streak in Live-Action adaptations stretch back to Alice in Wonderland (2010), that most notably peaked with the surprise stellar performance of The Jungle Book (2016) last year. It's an interesting proposition that trades mostly on nostalgic regurgitation rather than innovation, but as long as it's a right to print money, that paradigm isn't leaving us anytime soon. It was only a matter of time before Disney decided to re-invent its more recent 90s library, that's potent in the cultural memory of every millennial out there.

It's a formula that's dangerous in the sense that it creates an allowable mediocrity. It's the same Disney/Marvel movie formula - create the same but good product over and over until the public stops demanding it. Somewhat unbelievably, we aren't nearly close to giving up on this business model, yet. So let's talk about B and the B:

First, we need to get out of the way how fucked up this story is at its core. This has been demonstrated pretty well just about everywhere, The hypocrisy is rampant in this being a classic Disney's children's tale that features a giant monster trapping a French chick in his tower until she kinda wants to fuck it. At the same time, it spins everything on its head and demonstrably shows a different side of the classic man vs. monster tale where the beast is misunderstood and the handsome dude is a huge dick. Also it is really shitty how all the servants are also cursed. What did they do? Just because this Buffalo Man can't get laid they have to be a candle that somehow never melts all the way down and pots and cupboards and shit? It's such a mess. Best Picture nom, tho.

Despite all this sheer insanity, the movie is beloved. When the trailer for the new one dropped it was quickly the most viewed in YouTube history. As more and more came out it became very apparent that this would be a shot for shot remake of the 1991 animated classic. To me, this makes its potential fantastically less interesting, although that doesn't seem to deter anyone else. Anticipation is pretty high. I continually feel like an awful person, since my main thought is that Emma Watson is simply not busty enough - Belle was ridiculous even for Disney Standards. They should have gotten Lisa Ann or Ava Devine - you know, someone with real beauty. That's the bro-iest thing I've ever said in the history of this blog and sublimely awful considering how good of an actor Watson is, but I already don't care about this movie beyond a really really busty live action Belle. Heterosexual. Die Hard.

Culturally, just like any of these repetitious Disney flicks we might get some contentious waves. The Jungle Book lasted for a while and there are fond memories a year later, but that jump from 1967 animation to brilliantly rendered digital critters was a huge leap forward, not to mention that the plot actually barely resembled the campy original. If Beauty and the Beast (2017) doesn't stand out, I imagine it will be well-liked but fade in our memory unless something really ridiculous happens. Maybe it'll be notable for Disney's first gay character, but that's also embarrassingly too late to be really worth celebrating. Also, Disney clearly has hundreds of years of closeted gay characters under its belt. Now, if it was actually just Dude and the Beast, then we'd be getting somewhere.
There's no way LeFou is the only gay character in this movie.

On the critical note, this is probably going to be just fine, but not great. Same as culturally. That's really thing with the contemporary non-Logan (2017) landscape. Shooting for the middle is just fine, and I'm sure this will be a well-constructed, well-reasoned film that doesn't rise to meet any lofty critical expectation. Mediocrity incarnate. Its predecessor was the first animated Best Picture nominee, but there's virtually no way this live action installment cracks the Top 10.

Finally, this is almost assuredly going to make a buttfuck of money. Neither Logan nor Kong: Skull Island (2017) has blown up as much as they really could have, and even if they did, they're not really competing for this audience, anyway. That tween crowd has been starved for a long time for something that's actually quality, and even though this is pandering at its finest, it'll be different enough from Divergent and the Maze Runner and all that YA crap to gain some attention. It'll bump into Power Rangers (2017), which does seem to lean towards the same 90s nostaglic demographic along with a teen lean, but the action ought to contrast with the romance to build some different audiences. Also I don't think anyone actually cares about Power Rangers. Beyond that, it's clear sailing for a while and this ought to dominate.

In other news, The Belko Experiment (2017) also drops this weekend, which I am super-into. Battle Royale (2000) in an office with John C. McGinley is all you had to tell me. This thing may get a cult following but will almost assuredly make no money. That's fine. Hopefully it's super violent and awesome and could actually be good counter-programming to Beauty and the B.

What do you think about this weekend's slate? Or will you just watch porn, instead?

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