An Open Letter to Beauty and the Beast: Square Up

Nobody asked for this article, just like nobody asked for this movie.

Walt Disney Studios decided a few years ago that what we needed, more than anything in the world, was live-action remakes of their animated classics. No one asked for this (if you did, I’mma fight you when you finish this article). Maleficent gave a new, rape-centered view of Disney’s greatest villain (a neutering origin story we arguably didn’t need) and Cinderella gave her prince a name and an actual personality. The Jungle Book, released in 1967 was due for an update. And you know, I was ready to let Beauty and the Beast slide, but then the promotional materials started dropping and I knew. This movie deserves to have its WHOLE ass beat. Let me count the ways y’all had me fucked up.

[title type=”h4″]1. Casting Super White Feminist Emma Watson[/title]
emma watson
Y’all lost me from jump with this one. Bearing the standard of all things appropriately Feminist and properly Anglo-centric like a modern day Susan B. Anthony, this reedy-voiced actress does her best to lose whatever goodwill she earned from the Harry Potter franchise (shit’s been gone for me since we got a superior Hermione in Noma Dumezweni). Her myopic view of Feminism exists at the exclusion of too many women but they keep holding her up as the paragon of the future of womanhood with one hand and holding the rest of us down with the other. That’s why her doll has that big ass forehead, that’s where she stuffs all the intersectionality.

[title type=”h4″]2. First “Exclusively Gay Moment”[/title]
First of all, words mean things and “exclusively gay moment” does not sound promising. Is it a love scene? An almost-kiss they like to throw at us queer folk as a tease? A one-sided-love sad ending for the tragic queer? Who knows because those three words put together don’t tell us shit. Plus, of all the characters y’all can make queer, you choose LaFou. The Fool. Gaston’s sidekick. The butt of the joke and a villain. Y’all looked at this whole cast list and thought this was where you wanted queer kids to see themselves reflected. I’m interested to see what this “exclusively gay moment” is at the end of the movie because we know Gaston dies and I’m not sure whatever heel-face turn they’re gonna give LaFou will make up for what he does in the rest of the movie.

[title type=”h4″]3. Hiring Actors Who Can’t Sing[/title]
I shouldn’t be seeing headlines for a movie musical proclaiming how the actor playing the main character learned to sing. Like that’s the primary requirement for being in a musical: singing. Because there’s music. Songs. Words put together in a poetic structure and matched with notes that you, the actor they hired, have to put together and manipulate your breath and vocal cords to duplicate and make audible. And Emma…nah…just nah… And y’all got the NERVE to have Her Royal Highness, Audra “The Greatest Across All Space and Time” McDonald surrounded by this level of vocal mediocrity?? Shame.

[title type=”h4″]4. Second & Third Interracial Kiss[/title]
Y’all want a cookie or something? Dafuq? Why the hell is this news? Now y’all just reaching for stuff to get praised for. The next headline is gonna be how this movie rescued 45 orphans from a burning hospital and found them all organ donors for their heart transplants while saving 100 corgis from a puppy farm/kill shelter. Ugh…sit down.

[title type=”h4″]5. Creepy CGI[/title]
I’mma just quote myself on this.

“The castle cookware and decor crew somehow looks more and less human and totally expressionless. They’re really skirting the uncanny valley with this one.”

Y’all ain’t have to double down on the realism here…they’re talking tchotchkes here. Y’all triggered my fight or flight instinct enough with reanimated-Tarkin, leave me in peace!

So, Beauty and the Beast, square the hell up. I don’t know if I have to fight every individual copy or if I can just pick the closest showing and give the movie these hands. I think I can wait until the official drop on March 17th before I take out my gold hoops and put Vaseline on my ear lobes. But if another “progressive” tidbit drops…

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  • Brittany N. Williams is a writer, actress, unimpressed Shakespearean Blerd, keeper of 90s theme songs, future Lord of the Fire Nation, and & New Orleanian by way of Baltimore, DC, Hong Kong, London, and NYC. Catch her laying waste to all challengers in Soul Calibur or slinging literary fire across the interwebs.

  • Show Comments

  • Ofosu

    Lord Cyberius agrees wholeheartedly with all the above. #DisneyAnimationsShouldBeLeftTheFuckAlone #EmaaWatsonIsNotAFeministShesAnIdiot #Truths

  • Teal

    This is great and perfect

  • Shanon

    I did not want this movie!

  • Karen

    I honestly thought the clock would be gay. Look, they sprinkle Emma Watson on every thing, like Mrs. Dash, you know, no flavor and kinda dry. I would have loved to see the movie played by a person of color. Traditional white roles recast for POC get more viewers.

  • Monica

    That’s it- you got it. Make any resemblance to feminism your enemy- kill the movement by being separatist and throwing insults. This is why we can’t overcome our pay gap and the worlds treatment of women. Sex trade of girls lives on as a butterfly affect of your stated hatred for women of white. I say that We will only unite in love- not insults. I came to this site excited about a picture I saw of moon girl, but I leave deflated, that once again I find a calling to hate and insult vs love and admire. You may say it’s true that all things you write about Emma, but surely there must be a better way to lift up feminism, but that may not be the popular thing nor what you feel is needed. Sadly I cannot support moon girl when the organization that produced it is spewing in the same breath insults and hatred towards women, any women.

    • I’m like TT

      Girl shut up ? Woc specifically black woken have been talking about Emma Watsons mediocre feminism that only helps her. Emma literally made a 360 turn when it came to Beyoncé embracing black women sexuality calling it her self titled album something for the “male gaze”.
      Why the hell do Blk women have to comfort and help white women when they fuk up why do blk women have to forgive “naive” white women that put their white feminist agender over actually aiding in intersectional feminism. Like girl bye! ?

  • TheBlueMegaDeuce

    When I first heard about the live action Cinderella, I could kinda understand it. White people love rehashing their princess fantasies, but when I heard about THIS, this insulting travesty that is nothing more than a money grab, set to ruin my favorite animated Disney movie. God, I just don’t understand what motivates modern movie execs. Sigh…

  • Jules

    Um Money

    • TheBlueMegaDeuce

      That’s the insulting thing about it. In America, no matter what the industry or line of business, no matter what the actual job entails, no matter how much creativity is required, once you reach a certain level in the company behind it, it becomes ONLY about money. Money is the real religion for the wealthy in this country and boy are they faithful to it.

  • writerchic2

    Disney should really stop while they’re ahead…they can’t remake the magic from the originals.

  • pemberliegh

    I saw it last night and I’d be really interested in hearing your thoughts after/if you see it. I was surprised and happy the town had a comparatively diverse demographic but would have loved a more diverse cast in the mains. I was really happy with LeFou. He is much more nuanced, not the 1 dimensional lackey villain of the cartoon. I liked him and his arc a lot, but I’m neither queer nor pic so Im almost certainly missing things that would be meaningful to relevant people.

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