Monday, June 12, 2017

Breaking Beast

Once upon a time (i.e. last night), our whole family watched the 1991 cartoon version of Beauty and the Beast. Paige has seen the movie many times, because we made the mistake of buying it during her mercifully now defunct "Disney Princess" phase.

She wanted to watch it again for the first time in years, because Hermione Granger stars in the new live action version. Isaac, age 6, is highly gender-conforming and never had a princess phase, so this was his first screening of the animated "classic."

The world could drown in the ink spilled on feminist take-downs of the fucked up Disney Princess Industrial Complex, and yet I feel driven to spill s'more because of my son's 
WTF reaction to this movie.

Reviewing the film's main plot points and messaging, it's easy to see why even a six year-old boy--not yet entrenched in society's misogyny and having instinctive common sense--gave this movie the side-eye:

1. GASTON AS CREEPER: Gaston is a class A-1 gym creeper. He stalks Belle the entire movie and throws a 120-minute temper tantrum because Belle “friend-zoned” him.

2. BELLE AS HUMAN CURRENCY: Belle is 100% human currency. First she’s her dad’s caretaker. Then she's shuttled back and forth between her dad and the Beast. At the castle, she trades herself in for her dad, then becomes the Beast’s prisoner, then leaves to rescue her dad, and then goes back to the Beast of her own "free will."

3. THE BIBLIOPHILE FIG LEAF: Belle likes books, because somehow that’s supposed to make her seem less like human currency. In fact, this plot device only makes Belle's obvious lack of access to a meaningful education and rich professional life that much sadder.

4. BELLE HAS PATTY HEARST SYNDROME: As a coping mechanism, Belle develops Patty Hearst Syndrome by sympathizing with her captor. All it takes to win her over is dinner and dancing in a ballroom and a playful snowball fight shortly before the Beast saves her from wolves.

5. BEAST IS AS BAD AS GASTON: The Beast is only a slightly less awful version of Gaston, because he too cannot take no for an answer. Isaac put it best: “This movie is scary. Why is he trying so hard to make her like him?” Good question, kid!

6. THE FERTILE OCTOGENARIAN: No one explains from a scientific fertility perspective how the old Mrs. Potts (the teapot/maid), who is voiced by Angela Lansbury and looks 85, has a toddler/teacup who is her “son.”

7. ANATOMICAL ISSUES OF HUMAN AND BEAST COPULATION: Conveniently, no one deals with the difficult issue of what would happen if Belle and the Beast tried to get it on—like how would that work anatomically? Belle doesn’t jump the Beast's bones until after he transmogrifies back into an animated Brendan Frazier doppelgänger, so the film leaves this question hanging.

As I say above, in the end, the Beast turns into an animated Brendan Frazier, but he looked way better as the Beast. (In a double-blind study 9 out of 10 women said they would rather fuck the Beast in his Beast form as opposed to his Brendan Frazier form).

I want to make a sequel to this movie and call it “Breaking Beast.” It’ll be like a mix between Breaking Bad and the original classic fairytale.

Belle's dad Maurice develops tuberculosis and starts tinkering with crystallized absinthe (street name: “green ice”) to sell to the villagers to pay for his treatment. (Rococo-era France doesn't have single-payer yet). 

Maurice calls up his old pal the Beast/Brendan Frazier, and the two go into “business” together. They commandeer the wooden cart that has “Asylum for Loons,” painted on it (in the original movie, an angry mob tried to shove Maurice in there and have him committed to an 18th century mental health facility), and they drive it deep into the forest. 

There, the two start cooking absinthe, and they buy an old flour mill in the village as a fence for their operation. All of the ancillary characters—Gaston, the anthropomorphized furniture from the castle, the angry mob, etc.—are the Beast and Maurice's drug gang connections, fixers, lawyers, and rivals.

The pressures of the drug trade start to fray the relationship between the Beast and Maurice, and pretty soon the Beast is partying in the castle all wasted, while Maurice lets villagers OD like whatevs and has to bury all his gold coins at the bottom of a moat.

Meanwhile, Belle stays at home clueless, wringing her hands and along for the ride yet again, just like her character in the original movie and most of the female characters in Breaking Bad.

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