The Disney film studio has been known for its adult- children oriented movies. That is inclusive of its ability to hide childhood fairy tales within the conundrum of adult action. Easily perceived with its latest live-action remake of “the Beauty and the Beast”. A movie and story that actually tested the patience of its makers and brought Disney to a damage control mode.
The movie which marginally contains a gay subplot, originally described as a first for a high budget children’s film, called the wrath of the conservative pundits and cinemas alike. A plot that confused the orthodox parents to the zenith. Imagine explaining to children that a film featuring a talking candle has a character who falls in love with another man. A candle and a man, weird…
To the people unaware of the story, it goes as “an arrogant young prince and his castle servants fall under the spell of a wicked enchantress, who turns the prince into a hideous Beast (a human buffalo) and his servants into various objects (of desires). The spell can be broken only when the Beast learns to love and is loved in return.
Years later, a beautiful, idiotic, teenage enthusiast (child labour), a headstrong peasant girl named Belle appears. She is living in a nearby village with her father and is forced to enter the Beast’s castle after her father is wrongfully imprisoned by the angry Beast in an act of dictatorship.
Apparently, with the arrival of Belle, the enchanted servants with their hope renewed, lure her towards the dungeon while keeping themselves concealed. On finding her father, Belle offers herself to the Beast in return for the father’s release, which the paedophile Beast gladly accepts. Here onwards, is the story of a peasant girl trying to bring out the Beast out of his isolation.
En-route, the Beast is brought back to life by Belle (don’t ask how). The castle becomes beautiful again, the Beast richer than before, and the enchanted objects turn back into humans (except for the candle, for it has further uses I suppose). The story ends with Belle and the Beast (now a prince, since he is rich and in human form) dancing in the ballroom. While her father and the objects rejoice. After all, he just got an extremely rich heir.”
You must be wondering, why did I call him a paedophile? In one instance of the story, Belle refuses to have dinner with the Beast. Enraged, he orders the servant to not serve her food if she doesn’t eat with him. Resultantly, the Beast starves her for an entire night. That creepy dude is actually seen spying on Belle through his magic mirror (old form of spying cameras), who angrily cries that she will have nothing to do with the Beast. I wonder if it can get creepier than that.
Imagine you are being watched this entire time by a creepy monster through his magic glass. Knowing every action that you are taking. Hell, knowing that you were getting ready in front of a similar glass. Forcing a peasant girl to like you by threatening her, spying on her, and violating all of her private personal rights. That’s a fairy tale for you.
It is not for the first time that I found Disney movies and the fairy tales full of bigotry. But, isn’t it just wrong to expose children to such material.
Another issue brought forth by Disney was the inclusion of gay rights. Interestingly people gave the lamest reasons to boycott this film. One of the reasons I read on the internet was- “If children see gay characters at such an impressionable age, they may grow up thinking gays are just regular people who are part of the rich tapestry of a society that we live in, and I hate to think what that could lead to. They may even grow up to be gay, and we all know that the lack of gay characters in children’s films is the only thing stopping people from being gay up until this point.” Huh, really…
Despite the movie doing commercially well and displaying a successful technology, parents were said to be outraged that it had taken the liberty of changing an existing well-known storyline in an attempt to broaden its inclusiveness (storyline they say, eh!). They were outraged that Disney’s meddled up with a ‘creepy’ fairy tale and that too a considered classic of all time.
Well, since meddling with the world history has been a thing of the past (just saying), it’s time to meddle with fairy tales. After all, not only religious institutions can meddle with stories, can they?
Talk about religious institutions, this movie was boycotted by the Russian MPs, Christian-run cinemas in America and some further fanatics in Arab nations (dancing scenes were heavily censored in India too). All because of a rumour of inclusion of a gay character. The rationale behind the boycott, as cited by the Christian owners of a cinema, was that they only show “family-orientated films” so that the audiences were “free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language“.
After all, it’s fun to secretly admire the storyline and pretend to protest because religions do not provide them with the liberty to admire what they like. (Galileo must laughing in heavens). Imagine boycotting beauty & the beast because of the inclusion of the gay character while being totally cool with a teenage girl falling in love with a buffalo (yep, a Buffalo. You complaining about goats, they have got a girl making love to a water buffalo).
Eh, isn’t it a little weird to criticise a gay character when the film is about a woman falling in love with a beast?
Ah! Of course, the Beast isn’t actually a water buffalo — he’s a man cursed into Beast form by an enchantress. But if you stop to think about the idea of a young girl falling in love with someone who looks like an animal, behaves like a rampant rapist, with characteristics of a dictator. Well, that indeed is pretty strange.
However, Disney was firm to hold its ground against the protesters and the hullabaloo surrounding the movie. It even gave an explanation that they were proud of the gay character. “Disney seeks to be welcoming and inclusive of all people no matter what their gender, race, or sexuality. All walks of life are welcome in our films. Whether it’s lesbians, gays, bisexuals, sadists or BDSM, we welcome all parts of the society in our movies.” the company announced in a press release, “as long as they represent a large and cashed up demographic.” I wonder when Disney is coming up with its own “50 shades of fairy tales” version. Maybe soon.
Want to watch this movie, watch it for Emma Watson.