Beauty and the Beastly Gadgets

My movie reviews will figuratively be given by Yin and Yang, two half-naked Beat Existentialists from their houseboat in Sausalito. These two are responsible for the last Age of Enlightenment – that died with the election of Trump! I will always provide a alternative review.

I walked out of Beauty and the Beast last night as a harpsichord walked in. The young boy as a tea cup, made me sick. His life was over. He will not reach pubescence. Why is this happening, and for whom? This surreal parade of hardware and gadgets has something for everyone, but, no real content. But for the beautiful enchantress that applies the curse to the first Shit-head Male we are introduced to, there is no magic. MAGIC is the BRAND! Why didn’t she come back and curse Shit-head No.3, the minister who has Belle’s clothes dumped on the ground after trying to teach a young girl – how to read! The script writers and heads of Disney Studios should learn how to read. Start with – all of the Grimm’s Brothers!

What the hell did they do to Belle? They almost let her be beautiful when we first see her, but, being beautiful is not being poltically correct. I got a short version of this lesson from Belle Burch at the Wandering Goat.

“I have a problem being beautiful.”

Before we (us males) can bite into the cake, it is turned into, a dull bun!

“If you can consume the oridinary bun of blandness, you will be allowed to enter the Realm of Inner Beauty!”

O.K. I get it. Lead the way!

Inner beauty consist of being a Book Reader – who ignores Shit-head No.2 – because she has her head stuck in a book, verses looking in a mirror raving about how beautiful you are – like vain Gaston – who wants to own beauty  so he can fill her womb with his seed – and his baby!

“Yuk! Motherhood is not for me!”

There goes the womb! She could have gotten on the good side of the cruel man-minster by telling him she wants to join a Nunnery – and read really good books all day about ‘The Queen of Heaven’!

“Oh dear. I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you are a Magical Virgin ready to be a Bride of Jesus.”

Belle is constructed before our eyes. She is a New Experiment! Disney is terrified they will get her wrong, and they will have a Frankenstein Monstress that the critics will feast upon. The Dick-O-Meter does not budge an inch. How about ‘The Beast’. Will he get him some? We don’t get a hint of this possibility. No blood on the apron. No untying of the bow. He has been sterilized, too. He makes bland jokes – to himself!

We get A Monster – for a little while! He get’s a scary growl out, before he is rendered Jim Carry, or, Adam Sandler, doing their Goofy Moron Impotent Guy. These dudes come off like Big Time Fornicators, but, there is no proof.

Beast is just another chauvinist pig dong HIS THING. The man lurking within was a champion womanizer and fornicator. The beautiful enchantress did the Church a big favor. She closed his x-rated show. He is rendered stupid and harmless – and meaningless!  His existence is so typical of all movie males that are set upon – by children who are infinitely wiser and know where the moral high ground is, when the adults, don’t. Father’s always get a well-deserved kick in the balls.

Belle’s father, appears to be the exception. But, he s a gadget maker out of touch with reality. His daughter asks about her mother, and is shown a religious icon, a Mother and Girl-child kept inside a specials gold box like the ones te church keeps its relics. Belle is a Special Girl, but, she does not go to church. She doesn’t have to.

“Tell me one more thing about my mother!”


I thought about my Belle’s mother, and, it was all down hill after that. I walked out during the Calamity. All these objects that could talk, turned into a Sponge Bob Square Pants, cartoon. There was not a penis and vagina to be seen anywhere. Why am I watching a cartoon? Then I realized this was a Magical Castration of the Real Male, and got out of there. Men and Magic, don’t mix anymore! Belle is a dullard, a real bore, too! I would not do her!

I did not stick around for the answer to the Red Rose Mystery. Did the father drop and break The Mother Theatre Icon that reminded me of The Phantom of the Opera? He then picks a white rose that is the symbol of purity. Later, the red rose becomes the symbol of passion, or hope? I don’t know. I chose to remain ignorant.

What I could not stand, was the mechanizations of the Disney Money Men. You could hear the gears in their counting machines, grinding away. I went to a 3:50 showing, and was surprised to see most the lounge chairs were reserved. I asked why, and was told it was a student break time. Very few people showed up. I asked why after I left. Apparently reserved seats were being sold out, but, when folks started texting what a stinker this movie – IS – many ticket holders, asked………”Why bother!”

Consider the tweets of our President, the Beast who lives alone in the White House, because, he bugs the shit out of his beautiful wife……….because, he can’t sleep! Is Melania a Reader?

I recommend this movie:

Jon Presco

Beauty and the Beast trailer

Courtesy of Disney

March 3, 2017 | 09:00AM PT

Disney’s live-action remake of its 1991 animated classic, starring Emma Watson as a pitch-perfect Belle, is a sometimes entrancing, sometimes awkward mixture of re-creation and reimagining.

You could say that the notion of turning beloved stories and characters into brands was invented by Walt Disney. He built his empire on the image of Mickey Mouse (who made his debut in 1928), but Disney really patented the brand concept in 1955, with the launch of Disneyland, where kids could see old familiar characters — Mickey! Snow White! — in a completely different context, which made them new. Twenty-three years ago, the Broadway version of “Beauty and the Beast” (followed three years later by the Broadway version of “The Lion King”) introduced a different form of re-branding: the stage-musical-based-on-an-animated-feature. Now the studio is introducing a cinematic cousin to that form with the deluxe new movie version of “Beauty and the Beast,” a $160 million live-action re-imagining of the 1991 Disney animated classic. It’s a lovingly crafted movie, and in many ways a good one, but before that it’s an enraptured piece of old-is-new nostalgia.

There’s a lot riding on “Beauty and the Beast.” Given its sheer novelty value (the live-action “Cinderella” released by Disney in 2015 wasn’t really cued to the 1950 cartoon version), the picture seems destined to score decisively at the box office. But the larger question hanging over it is: How major — how paradigm-shifting — can this new form be? Is it a fad or a revolution? Disney already has a live-action “Lion King” in the works, but it remains to be seen whether transforming animated features into dramas with sets and actors can be an inspired, or essential, format for the future.

Going into “Beauty and the Beast,” the sheer curiosity factor exerts a uniquely intense lure. Is the movie as transporting and witty a romantic fantasy as the animated original? Does it fall crucially short? Or is it in some ways better? The answer, at different points in the film, is yes to all three, but the bottom line is this: The new “Beauty and the Beast” is a touching, eminently watchable, at times slightly awkward experience that justifies its existence yet never totally convinces you it’s a movie the world was waiting for.


Emma Watson stars as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast in Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, a live-action adaptation of the studio's animated classic directed by Bill Condon.

‘Beauty and the Beast’: Emma Watson & Cast Bring the Classic Songs to Life

A good animated fairy tale is, of course, more than just a movie — it’s a whole universe. The form was invented by Disney eighty years ago, with “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937), a film I still think has never been surpassed, and when you watch something as transporting as “Snow White” — or “Bambi,” or “Toy Story,” or “Beauty and the Beast” — every gesture and background and choreographed flourish, from the facial expressions to the drip-drop of water, flows together with a poetic unity. That’s the catchy miracle of great animation.

When you watch the new “Beauty and the Beast,” you’re in a prosaic universe of dark and stormy sets, one that looks a lot like other (stagy) films you’ve seen. The visual design, especially in the Beast’s majestic curlicued castle, is gentrified gothic — Tim Burton de-quirked. At the beginning, when Belle (Emma Watson) walks out of her house and wanders through the village singing “Belle,” that lovely lyrical meet-the-day ode that mingles optimism with a yearning for something more, the shots and beats are all in place, the spirit is there, you can see within 15 seconds that Emma Watson has the perfect perky soulfulness to bring your dream of Belle to life — and still, the number feels like something out of one of those overly bustling big-screen musicals from the late ’60s that helped to bury the studio system. It’s not that the director, Bill Condon (“Dreamgirls,” “The Twilight Saga”), does anything too clunky or square. It’s that the material loses its slapstick spryness when it’s not animated. The sequence isn’t bad, it’s just…standard.

That’s true of most of the first part of the movie, right up until the point when Belle rescues her kindly inventor father, Maurice (Kevin Kline), from the Beast’s castle — where he’s being held prisoner for having assaulted a flower — by trading places with him. Belle, a wistful bookworm, is the odd girl out in her village, and she has already brushed off several encounters with Gaston (Luke Evans), the duplicitous hunk who became a new Disney archetype (in “Frozen,” etc.): the handsome, big-chinned, icky monomaniacal two-faced suitor. On first meeting, however, the Beast seems nearly as dark. He’s a prince who was cursed and turned into a monster for having no love in him, and the best thing about the movie — as well as its biggest divergence from the animated version — is that he’s a strikingly downbeat character, a petulant and morose romantic trapped in a body that makes him feel nothing less than doomed.

He’s played by Dan Stevens, a British actor who out of makeup looks like a bland version of Ryan Gosling, but the makeup and effects artists have done an extraordinary job of transforming him into a hairy hulking figure with ram horns, the face of a saddened lion having an existential meltdown, and the voice of Darth Vader channeling Hugh Grant. Visually, the characterization makes a nod to the scowling-eyed Beast from Jean Cocteau’s immortal “Beauty and the Beast” (1946), but he also comes off as a kind of royal version of the Elephant Man: a melancholy freak trapped in solitude. I loved that for a good long while, he’s a bit of a hard-ass, a man-creature who doesn’t dare to think that Belle could love him. But then, under her gaze, he begins to soften, and his transformation is touching in a more adult way than it was in the animated version. The romance there was benign; here, it’s alive with forlorn longing.

Which is to say, the new “Beauty and the Beast” is not as kid-friendly a movie. It tries to be in certain sequences, notably those featuring Lumière the candelabra (voiced by Ewan McGregor), Cogsworth the pendulum clock (Ian McKellen), and Garderobe the wardrobe (Audra McDonald) — all of whom are basically tactile, live-action animated characters. The “Be Our Guest” musical number scrupulously revives the dancing-plate surreal exuberance of the original, but there the frenetic nuttiness was exquisite. Here it tips between exhilarating and exhausting, because you can feel the special-effects heavy lifting that went into it.

I keep comparing “Beauty and the Beast” to the animated version, which raises a question: Is that what we’re supposed to be doing? Or should the film simply stand on its own? The movie wants to have it both ways, but then, that’s the contradictory metaphysic of reboot culture: We’re drawn in to see the old thing…but we want it to be new. The live-action “Beauty and the Beast” is different enough, and certainly, if you’ve never experienced the cartoon, it’s strong enough to stand on its own. (Josh Gad, incidentally, plays Gaston’s worshipful stooge Le Fou as maximally silly and fawning, but I must have missed the memo where that spells “gay.”) Yet it’s not really that simple, is it? The larger fantasy promoted by a movie like this one is that we’ll somehow see an animated feature “come to life.” And that may be a dream of re-branding — shared by studio and audience alike — that carries an element of creative folly. Animation, at its greatest, is already a glorious imitation of life. It’s not clear that audiences need an imitation of the imitation.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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