Saturday, March 11, 2017

Beauty Killed the Beast

At the climax of the original KING KONG, a crowd gathers around the big ape's dead body after he fell from the top of the Empire State Building when a New York cop points states the obvious to Robert Armstrong's Carl Denham..

"Well, Denham, the airplanes got him."

(I guess his bullet-ridden corpse was a big clue.)

However, Denham contradicts him, proclaiming, "Oh no. It wasn't the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast."

Then the gathered throng ad-libs, "Beauty?" "Beauty?" "What is he, drunk?" (Maybe I imagined that last line.)

So here we are in 2017 and King Kong lives again (must have been a flesh wound) in KONG: SKULL ISLAND, released a week before the new Disney live action version of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.and naturally, controversy prevails in the atmosphere. KONG's alleged racial insensitivity is being recycled from Peter Jackson's ten year old version, so it barely registers a blip this time around. I guess #KONGLIVESDON'TMATTER. No, this time, the bonfire is burning at Disney over a ("GASP!") homosexual character perpetuating the gay agenda to influence and brainwash influential young minds around the world.

In new BATB, Josh Gad plays Le Fou, the goofball henchman of Gaston, the narcissistic heavy of the story To add a little garnsih to the character, Le Fou has a big crush on his handsome friend and ay, there's the rub.(For Le Fou, anyway)

It seems some people have a problem with this piece of whimsy, elevating it to this to an outrage of Def-Con 4 l proportions. "Homosexuals? In a family film? Not on my watch!" I find it amazing that we are having this conversation in this day and age of tolerance, acceptance and peaceful coexistence...oh, wait. That sort of thinking is so last year...

A drive-in theater owner in Alabama has refused to show the film. They released these statement on their website:

As of December 16th the Henagar Drive-In is under new ownership. Movies scheduled prior to that date and four weeks after this date were not scheduled by the new owners. That being said…It is with great sorrow that I have to tell our customers that we will not be showing Beauty and the Beast at the Henagar Drive-In when it comes out. When companies continually force their views on us we need to take a stand. We all make choices and I am making mine. For those that do not know Beauty and the Beast is “premiering” their first homosexual character. The producer also says at the end of the movie “there will be a surprise for same-sex couples”. If we can not take our 11 year old grand daughter and 8 year old grandson to see a movie we have no business watching it. If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it. I know there will be some that do not agree with this decision. That’s fine. We are first and foremost Christians. We will not compromise on what the Bible teaches. We will continue to show family oriented films so you can feel free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language. Thank you for your support!

Russia actually considered a nationwide ban on BEAUTY, but has since decided to allow the film to be seen, now with a 16+ rating, meaning no Russkie young 'uns will have their minds polluted by Western gay propaganda. To pile on even further, a boycott has been threatened not only against the movie but also against the Disney corporation. Walt is spinning in his grave like a rottisserie chicken.

But what's all the hub-bub, bub? BEAUTY AND THE BEAST has a PG rating. How much hot man-on-man action can there really be? The MPAA really frowns upon anal sex, suggested or otherwise. And to make the whole brouhaha just a bit ironic...Josh Gad is straight while Luke Evans who plays Gaston is openly gay. Put that in your phallic-shaped pipe and smoke it, Henagar Drive-In.

I would support a  boycott on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST for other reasons, like that Disney is regurgitating its own product back into society. A live action version of a cartoon remake makes my head spin at 78 rpm. This is, of course, the Disney way and basically always has been. Next up are live-action versions of THE LION KING and PINOCCHIO with Gepetto probably played by Morgan Freeman. The Mouse Factory is exactly that, a big soul-less machine cranking out widget after widget in the name of commerce first and foremost while creativity and originality have gone the way of the dinosaur (not a successful character in the Disney canon).This don't mean a fig to Disney acolytes around the globe who will flock to this because SQUEEEEEEEE!!!!

The Beauty/Beast story has been re-told cinematically over the ages, most recently in a 2014 French version with Vincent Cassel. Of course there's the Disney animated cover, a classic of the genre from the 1990s (yes, even with Robby Benson as the Beast). TV has its own versions in name only, the most popular being the 1980s series with Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton in the New York sewer system. (How romantic!) Another rendition of the classic story was made for the small screen starring George C. Scott as the furry freak brother, who starred with his then-wife Trish Van Devere. It might have been more interesting with the first Mrs. Scott, Colleen Dewhurst, though there might have been some confusion on who was playing The Beast.  There have also been those low budget knock off variations on a theme like MERIDIAN and TANYA'S ISLAND. Though I don't know for sure, at some time there must have been a porn version called BOOTY AND THE BEAST. Boy, talk about your low-hanging fruit. So to speak.

Nothing, but nothing beats the spectacular Jean Cocteau masterpiece  from 1946. a true work of art that occupies a space on my favorite films of all time. But hold on just a doggone minute....Cocteau was...GAY! Not only that, his lover was Jean Marais, the actor who played the Beast. Holy merde! Where does that leave Beauty in all this? Maybe they should have called it BEAUTY AND THE BEARD. (Ba-dump-bump!) I guess it really is a fairy tale after all, isn't it?

The bottom line (no pun intended unless you swing that way) is that I feel compelled to support a product I feel to be repellent, but for completely different reasons.. While I abhor this era of remakes, reboots and re-imaginings , building the cultural landfill to epic proportions that will eventually bury us all, I hate ignorance, intolerance and narrow-minded assholes even more. If I have to choose my battles, I'll take on the latter first because the threat is so immediate. The former has been a lifelong struggle that I will always rail against until the end of my time.

But who am I really kidding? I won't pay money to see the new BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. I'd sooner watch the cartoon again since it's the same goddamn movie.  The Cocteau film is an even better bet. But if I choose to go out, I'll opt for the fun and games of KONG: SKULL ISLAND. Wait a minute, what? King Kong now identifies as gender non-binary?

Carl Denham might want to change his answer.

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