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movies matter | criticism by maryann johanson

Beauty and the Beast (2017) movie review: ever just the same, never a surprise

Beauty and the Beast yellow light

MaryAnn’s quick take…
Like a theme-park mounting of the 1991 cartoon, or the blandified pop version of an enchanting signature character tune. A watered-down pastiche of itself.tweet
I’m “biast” (pro): love the 1991 film…
I’m “biast” (con): …and saw no need for a remake
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

First there was Disney’s 1991 animated feature Beauty and the Beast, which is one of the most perfect movies ever and helped kickstart the Disney renaissance and completely holds up even now, a quarter of a century later. But the other thing it helped kickstart was Princess Madness, the license to print money that Disney stumbled upon back then. So in 2002 we got a cashing-in IMAX version of Beauty and the Beast, and it was still glorious in spite of the mercenary motive. And in 2012 we got a cashing-in 3D version of Beauty and the Beast, and it was entirely superfluous but it was a way to see the film on a big screen again, so it was still glorious anyway. But now Disney has run out of ways to rejigger one of its classics (though just you wait until the 2042 VR rerelease of the movie in which you will be able to feel Gaston’s muscles and burn yourself on Lumière’s flames and actually try the gray stuff and discover for yourself how delicious it is), so now we’ve come to the live-action remake.

CGI Lumière cannot hold a candle to the simple pen-and-ink version.

CGI Lumière cannot hold a candle to the simple pen-and-ink version.tweet

Of course, Beauty and the Beast has not been singled out for a live-action remake: Disney is live-action-remaking all of its animated movies, because they can and you can’t stop them and Disney knows how difficult it is for parents to resist children screaming that they wanna see whatever movie is currently receiving saturation marketing. This campaign of Disney’s has so far been a mixed bag creatively: 2015’s Cinderella was a facepalm-inducing reminder that “fairy tales” about women aspiring to be pretty doormats need to die. But 2016’s Jungle Book was a triumph, even though, ironically, it was still mostly animated, this time with CGI instead of pen-and-ink.

So perhaps it’s extra ironic that this new “live-action” Beauty and the Beast is also mostly still animated and yet, unlike Jungle Book, doesn’t quite work. All the charm and the wit of the hand-drawn Lumière and Cogsworth — the royal servants magically transformed into, respectively, a candlestick and a clock — is leeched away in their new CGI versions: somehow, an attempt to make them look more realistic, or at least as realistic as a man turned into a candlestick can be, has made them less believable. (I generally love Ewan McGregor [Our Kind of Traitor, Jane Got a Gun], who provides Lumière’s voice here, but he struggles with the French accent and, well, cannot hold a candle to the original Lumière, Jerry Orbach.) The Beast is also still wholly animated, a motion-captured and CGI’d Dan Stevens (A Walk Among the Tombstones, The Guest), and he looks like a cartoon, and far less beastly, in fact, than his actual-cartoon 1991 counterpart; this is a step back in mo-cap plausibility. There is some sort of irony in the 1991’s Cogsworth’s joke, “If it’s not baroque, don’t fix it” (of the castle he lives and works in) being eliminated from the script here while all around him, the castle sets are drenched in baroque flourishes that only make for an overly busy scene, not a particularly interesting one. (It’s too damn dark in the castle scenes for the backdrops to be much more than muddy blurs anyway, so all good? *sigh*) Even Belle’s village is an exaggerated and almost fantastical idea of rural Frenchness, and more like something you’d see in Epcot Center than a supposedly realistic place.

The Beast is still wholly animated, and far less beastly than his 1991 counterpart.

Everything about this Beauty and the Beast feels like a theme-park mounting of the 1991 cartoon, or — God forbid — one of those on-ice spectacles: it’s a watered-down pastiche of itself. It’s very much like the blandified pop versions of the enchanting signature character tunes we typically get over the end credits of animated movies: overproduced and underwhelmingtweet; manufactured, flavorless, and personality-free. Kiddies will be thrilled, I’m sure, and appropriately distracted (though at a runtime of over two hours, it may try the patience of the very youngest), but that’s a low bar when Disney, in 1991, set the bar so high for itself.

Even the bar for more progressive Disney princesses is a lot higher now than it was in 1991. Belle here is still bookish, still dreams of “adventure in the great wide somewhere” (though she still does not get it; that would have been a great reason to revisit her storytweet), and still is no pushover even in the face of the cold and cruel Beast; this was radical a quarter of a century ago, but not so much today. This new Belle has a taste for inventing — she comes up with a clever donkey-powered clothes-washing contraption — which is a nice touch but doesn’t change the fact that her story remains all about romance, and rescuing a man from himself. (Emma Watson [Noah, This Is the End] as Belle is perfectly fine, if rather uninspired: she doesn’t have much room to bring anything new to the character, and she doesn’t try. I’m sad, too, that Hermione Granger has been demoted to a Disney princess.)

We no longer are assured that every last inch of Gaston is covered with hair, which makes me sad.

We no longer are assured that every last inch of Gaston is covered with hair, which makes me sad.tweet

Weirdly, the new script doubles down on Disney’s longstanding problem with absent mothers: the new backstory about how both Belle and the Beast lost their mothers adds absolutely nothing to the tale… unless it’s deliberately intended to suggest that girls who lose their mothers in childhood do just fine — Belle is clearly a lovely and well-adjusted person — but boys who lose their mothers in childhood turn into monsters, as the Prince was even before he was transformed into the Beast. The 1991 Beauty and the Beast just about skirts around some very problematic gender issues, narrowly avoiding (if you squint at it just right) endorsing Stockholm syndrome as a romantic strategy for men, and this updating manages that as well. But this new film cannot evade, as its progenitor did, the bullshit implication that it is actually the job of women to tame beastly men. (The new script is by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos [The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Hercules]. Maybe Disney should have asked a couple of women to update it.tweet)

The new script doubles down on Disney’s longstanding problem with absent mothers…

The few new songs here — certainly inserted for no reason other than Oscar eligibility, since only new songs may be nominated — are insipid, on-the-nose things that suffer in comparison to Howard Ashman’s literate and witty lyrics and Alan Menken’s music for the original batch of tunes. (Some of those lyrics have been changed, most notably in villain Gaston’s signature song. I wish I could see any reason why that was deemed necessary. “And every last inch of me’s covered with hair” is funny. And it’s gone here.) Even the most effective sequence, Gaston’s (Luke Evans: The Girl on the Train, High-Rise) rallying of the village to storm the Beast’s castle in “The Mob Song,” which still retains much of its original power, is eventually undercut by a new addition to the story that apparently changes the villagers’ motivation from general human smallmindedness and fear of the unknown into something more specific, less universal.

“I know the men in this village are awful, my dear, but really, a beast?”

“I know the men in this village are awful, my dear, but really, a beast?”tweet

(Oh, and the “gay character”? Pure ridiculousness to make a fuss about it: it’s nothing more than a glance or three and a couple of moues to lend a subtle subtext to a line of dialogue; it couldn’t be more underplayed. Though I am genuinely annoyed that the film makes the mistake of mixing up crossdressing with homosexuality. Everyone knows — or should — that just because a man likes to dress in women’s clothing doesn’t mean he’s gay, and just because a man is gay doesn’t mean he likes to dress in women’s clothing.)

As with the live-action Cinderella, there is some stuff to like here, even if the whole package is a disappointment. Kevin Kline (Ricki and the Flash, My Old Lady) as Belle’s father, Maurice, is as engaging as he always is. Josh Gad (The Angry Birds Movie, Pixels) as Gaston’s sidekick LeFou steals every scene he’s in by embracing the over-the-topness that everyone else is ignoring. Mostly, though, this is an unfortunate example of the fact that what works in a cartoon doesn’t necessarily work in live-action.tweet Here, I never believed that a beauty fell in love with a beast, even given the expectation that such a thing isn’t supposed to be extraordinary.

yellow light 2.5 stars

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Beauty and the Beast (2017) | directed by Bill Condon
US/Can release: Mar 17 2017
UK/Ire release: Mar 17 2017

MPAA: rated PG for some action violence, peril and frightening images
BBFC: rated PG (mild violence, threat)

viewed in 2D IMAX
viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.

  • dionwr

    And for me, the ultimate version is *always* Jean Cocteau’s.

    Though one sympathizes with Marlene Dietrich’s reported remark, after he is changed into the prince, to bring her back her beast.

  • God the new CGI Lumiere (and Chip) make me so uncomfortable. Looking at that sends chills up my spine.

  • Nina

    Then I suppose you haven’t seen the new CGI Wardrobe. Yikes.

  • Nina

    BatB is my favourite Disney film, and yet I have zero desire to see this. The original film has a look that makes the world it depicts appear lived-in and, ironically, way more realistic than the one the live-action film presents. Everything I’ve seen of the new film looks too over-the-top and busy. There doesn’t seem to be anything to rest your eye on because there’s too much detail, too much design.

    I listened to a few of the songs that were released on the DisneyVEVO Youtube channel last week, and everything seemed to lack any spirit or passion. The lack of power in the finale’s chorus especially was underwhelming. The songs in the animated film were there to communicate something, but here the songs seem to exist simply because they existed in the original. This film seems so beholden to the 1991 version, that it ends up coming off as nothing more than a very elaborate reenactment of the source material rather than its own thing.

  • Jonathan Roth

    The cynic in me believes Disney is remaking their old cartoons because they have no intention of doing a 2d animated film again. By remaking their classics in live action/3d animation, they can create spinoffs and sequels.

  • We’ve had *Moana* and *Zootopia* just last year from Disney, which were original stories available in 2D (though also 3D), and that’s not even counting Pixar. And there are many Disney and Pixar films on the slate through 2020 (though some are sequels to previous animated films). The live-action remakes aren’t preventing new films from being made.

  • Bluejay

    I wonder if Jonathan means traditional hand-drawn animation. Are there any of those in the pipeline?

  • Danielm80

    As much as I love films like Moana and Zootopia (I just watched each of them for the second time), I really miss hand-drawn animation. It’s a totally subjective reaction, but when I see pictures like this


    And this


    I picture the movie we might have seen, and my heart breaks a little.

  • Jonathan Roth

    Correct. I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear in my terminology there.

  • Bluejay
  • RicoSuave

    The funniest part of the so called “gay controversy” is that it is a straight actor playing a gay character who has a crush on the straight character played by a gay actor . It could be the plot for a film by itself.

  • RogerBW

    Also, a new film means the timer gets reset on these characters re-entering the public domain.

  • Jonathan Roth

    Maybe, but I kind of doubt it. The story of Beauty and the Beast, and the story and characters of The Jungle Book are public domain. Disney’s specific takes on those characters and stories are under copyright, but it wouldn’t stop someone from doing an alternate version based on the originals. Nor would it prevent the original films from entering the public domain once the copyright expires on them.

    Also, copyright protection in the US lasts 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, or life of the creator +70. They’ve got time.

  • Nina

    I’d love to see another hand-drawn film from Disney. I think that Brad Bird spoke about wishing to do one with them, but I dunno if that’ll come to pass. I loved both Zootopia and Moana, but I’m finding that CGI animated films are looking more and more alike. Yet you couldn’t find three more aesthetically different animated films than say, Disney’s Hunchback, Hercules, and Mulan.

    The final blow to 2D came with Winnie the Pooh, though, which didn’t fare so well at the box office despite critical acclaim. But that just seemed like a major dick move by Disney: take an existing property which has a limited, specific audience (don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Winnie the Pooh, but the stories are mainly for young children), make a movie out of it, and release it during the summer alongside Harry Potter and Captain America. Watch it make no money, and then insist that its performance at the box office was due to a lack of interest in 2D animation, rather than a lack of interest in the film’s subject. It’s as if the studio was deliberately trying to sabotage its 2D department.

  • Jurgan

    That Lumiere is my new standard for the Uncanny Valley.

  • Once Upon a Time has all these Disney characters on the show. My wife watches it. Looks bizarre to me.

  • I don’t know. Is that really so important, though? I mean, I love hand-drawn animation, too, but story is so much more important to me than the medium.

  • I think some of this may be more about trademarks than copyright (which are very different things). The reason that *Zootopia* was called *Zootropolis* in the UK and throughout Europe was because of TM issue with a Danish (I think) company holding a completely unrelated TM on “Zootopia.” So this a concern as well.

  • I doubt that most ordinary, non-movie-/celeb-buff people know that Luke Evans is gay. I suspect that even most people upset by this absurd “gay controversy” would be okay with that as long as he doesn’t “flaunt” that onscreen (which I don’t think Evans has yet). *I* think it’s a step forward that an openly gay actor has clearly had no trouble playing straight onscreen, as it should be. But that does only make it easier for idiots and bigots to keep him in a virtual closet.

  • Bluejay

    Story is always of the utmost importance, but so is medium, surely; a story told in a different medium will have a different effect. (Your review points out that Lumiere and Cogsworth work better in hand-drawn animation than in “realistic” CGI.) No one should REQUIRE that a story be told through traditional animation, but it would be a shame if that medium (and all its unique charm and vibrancy) were completely neglected and abandoned.

  • I take your points, but CGI animation is more like hand-drawn animation than it is like “realistic” CGI (like this new Lumiere).

  • RicoSuave

    The controversy is absurd. But I am a bit baffled as to what plot point it served to propel forward in the story, since it never was part of the original story. And as a PG rated film, the target audience age demographic is not really going to appreciate or understand the nuances. It would be like adding in a similar sub plot in “Lord of the Rings” between Frodo and Sam or Pippin and Merry. They could have done that, but would it really serve anything in the scope of the story ?

    An interesting takeaway from the casting of a straight actor to play a gay character and vice versa is that it so far isn’t considered inappropriate to have an actor without the orientation of the character they play. This seems to be the exception in a time when the actor having an intrinsic similarity to the character they portray is a requirement when it comes to race, nationality, etc. Samuel Jackson recently expressed his unhappiness over having British Black actors play American Black characters, saying that the British actors did not have the historical cultural and social background to do the roles justice.

    Disney is prepping for a live action remake of “The Lion King”. The original cartoon had its share of controversy over the portrayal of Scar , with criticisms of it being a distracting gay stereotype. I am curious if Disney decides to carry forward that portrayal in the new film.

  • Bluejay

    I am a bit baffled as to what plot point it served to propel forward in the story, since it never was a part of the original story. And as a PG rated film, the target audience age demographic is not really going to appreciate or understand the nuances.

    New additions to the story may or may not be relevant to the plot, but I wonder if people would care so much if it was a heterosexual relationship that was added. And people consider it fully acceptable to depict boy-girl relationships (including flirting and kissing) in PG or even G films; why should there suddenly be a concern for appropriateness or nuance if the characters are the same sex? If boy-girl relationships aren’t necessarily sexual or erotic in family films, then neither are same-sex relationships.

  • RicoSuave

    As the parent of a 10 year old , I can tell you that at that age, even heterosexual relationships are not understood that well, given the questions I hear. And gay relationships are still pretty rare in the big picture of things even to most adults. So the majority of 10 year olds do not have any real context to process what a gay relationship is. As I mentioned, having the Hobbits in a gay relationship wouldn’t serve to propel anything in the plot.

  • Bluejay

    at that age, even heterosexual relationships are not understood that well, given the questions I hear

    And yet G and PG films are still full of heterosexual relationships. And whatever nuances the kids don’t understand, they can ask their parents, who will explain it to them. No reason why gay relationships can’t be treated the same way. Real people in real life have gay relationships, and I’m sure parents will be happy to explain and provide context to their children, so that the kids learn all about something that’s a normal part of a lot of people’s lives.

  • RicoSuave

    It isn’t quite that simple. You are talking about something that very rarely is seen in daily life of a 10 year old. He/she sees heterosexual relationships all the time, so there is a frame of reference. When I discussed gay relationships with my 10 year old, the next question he asked was “but how do they have children”.Because that is what he sees around him, heterosexual couples with children. Am I going to launch into a lecture on artificial insemination etc to give him a full idea of how that is dealt with in a gay relationship ? To him at his emotional maturity, there is only so much he can absorb or understand. Yes, when he is 14-15 he will have a better world view. But we’re talking about pre-teen emotional levels for the the average kid.

  • Barry

    I just wanted to say that the title MaryAnn uses for her lukewarm review of this film is quite brilliant. It made me smile.

  • Danielm80

    And if a film shows a mother with a baby, some children might ask where babies come from. And if a film shows a child with only one parent–as many Disney movies do–some children might ask questions about death or divorce.

    Your discomfort at answering tough questions is not necessarily greater than the discomfort of LGBT children (or adults) who never see people like them onscreen.

    Also, not all children are as sheltered as yours, and many of them already know there are LGBT people in the world.

  • RicoSuave

    Not exactly the same. I have had that discussion. And when told the father may have left or died or something of that nature, that is understandable in their world view. But the basic biology of a same gender couple to produce a baby is what the issue is. It is not a discussion that would make sense for a young child. Do you have children ? I have no issue with those who feel their children can understand it. But gay couples are far less commonplace than you seem to think.

  • Danielm80

    So your point is that LGBT people shouldn’t be represented in movies because your children might ask advanced scientific questions?

  • LaSargenta

    A 10 year old has the context of two people love each other and are partners. Whether that is heterosexual​ or not is actually irrelevant unless the so-called adults make it an issue. I have a child myself and when he was 10 and even younger, for some people (ie: those who were partnered, whether married or not) I’d refer to their partners and my kid had no trouble with the idea that sometimes the partner was of the same gender and sometimes the opposite.

    I mean, really, it is harder explaining to a four year old girl why she can’t grow up to marry mama if all she thinks of marriage at that point is “two people love each h other very much”.


    Get over it.

  • LaSargenta

    Yes, it IS that simple.

    Grow up.

    Or get out of the socially antediluvian bubble you live in.

  • LaSargenta

    They are less commonly visible because people like you are busy making them stay in the closet.

  • RicoSuave

    Why are you immediately moved to offense because of a different opinion as to what is age appropriate ? In some culture they think it is perfectly fine for a 10-12 year old to be married. We do not. Because children are not mature enough at 10 , right ? So we do place our concept of maturity on what is appropriate. Do you disagree ? Or is the world only according to what YOUR bubble (sic) ?

  • RicoSuave

    You are now assuming something that I never said. I am not surprised though. I wouldn’t have expected differently from you. All I said was that certain situations are best left to be discussed at an older age.

  • RicoSuave

    Again, you are reading in something I never said. Look back at my post… I mentioned how it just seemed out of context for this subplot for the story.

  • RicoSuave

    No, not at all. Why do we not depict four letter words, smoking and drinking in PG movies ? Not because there is inherently anything wrong with those things. But it isn’t something appropriate for a PG film. You can can disagree if you choose … that is fine.

  • Danielm80

    Here’s MaryAnn’s description of the LGBT content in the movie:

    Oh, and the “gay character”? Pure ridiculousness to make a fuss about it: it’s nothing more than a glance or three and a couple of moues to lend a subtle subtext to a line of dialogue; it couldn’t be more underplayed.

    What part of that is inappropriate for a PG movie?

  • RicoSuave

    The point is the introduction of a gay subplot in a story for children. If it isn’t a concept that they can understand easily, then who is the subplot written for ? . That is my question. I am not sure why some are acting so offended that I ask a question about that. I am not calling for a boycott or a banning of the film . I have no problem with the concept itself. Just that is the expectation here that an audience of 10 year olds is supposed to understand this ? And people get upset when I raise that question ? Odd .

  • RicoSuave

    Note that I have fielded questions like “how do black holes bend light” from the same 10 year old. Am I going to get into detailed discussions of quantum physics and Einstein-Bose equations to explain it ? No. I know there is only so much that can be digested and some things are better left till the child is older and has a studied more things about the world around.

  • LaSargenta

    So wtf are you going to do when a classmate of your kindergartner has 2 dads or two mamas?

    Just saying someone is someone partner is fine. Then, if there’s more questions, it is about love. That’s all. There’s nothing more to it.

  • LaSargenta

    Because this isn’t about culture, this is about nature. And some people pair up with the same gender, some with another gender, some don’t pair up, some pairs have kids, some don’t, some singles have kids, some don’t. This stupid story is, for most of it, about bestiality; but, it is heterosexual bestiality, so I guess that makes it ok in your eyes? But, for some reason having a gay crush (that is not returned) is somehow hard to ‘explain’?

  • RicoSuave

    “WTF” ? Seriously ? That is your hyperbolic response ? .. Again what’s with your inability to discuss this without frothing a the mouth ? I am done. Have a god night. It seems like a site where discussions about movies in a civil manner is not your thing.

  • RicoSuave

    The Beast transformed into a human at the end. The gay person did not transform into anything else. To a child that is what they see. You seem to be unable to view it from their perspective or listen to what they say. It isn’t my adult view. And again you are free to disagree. Just keep your apoplectic attitude in check. I have been civil.

  • Bluejay

    Parent of a 15-year-old here, just FYI. I’m going to quote from a couple of your comments so I can make a consolidated reply.

    It isn’t quite that simple. You are talking about something that is very rarely seen in daily life of a 10 year old. He/she sees heterosexual relationships all the time, so there is a frame of reference. […] Note that I have fielded questions like “how do black holes bend light” from the same 10 year old. Am I going to get into detailed discussions of quantum physics and Einstein-Bose equations to explain it? No.

    First, I think it’s awesome that you explain black holes to your child. But please notice: You actually don’t have a problem explaining, in simple terms, something that is far, FAR outside his everyday experience. Your kid will probably NEVER see any black holes in real life, and only knows about them conceptually, from books and TV and movies. He will see a lot more gay people in his lifetime than black holes. But you’re fine with explaining the basic concept of black holes. Good for you.

    There’s no reason you can’t explain the concept of gay relationships the same simple way. “A lot of times men and women love each other in a romantic way, but some men love other men, and some women love other women.” If he asks “How do they have babies?” you can say, “Sometimes they don’t want babies, just like some man-and-woman couples, but those who do can adopt them.” Most kids will probably be satisfied with that. If your kid knows enough to ask about biological children, and if he already knows about sperm and eggs, you can say “Doctors have a way of taking the sperm from one of the men and combining it with a woman’s eggs to start making a baby.” If your kid says “Eww!” or isn’t interested, you don’t have to explain any further. If your kid keeps asking, that’s your cue to keep explaining. You know your kid best, but if he’s asking questions, he might be ready for some answers. (Also: you don’t have to have all the answers. It’s okay to answer as much as you know, and then admit to your kid, “I don’t know.” And if he’s STILL interested, you can go google things and find out the answers together.)

    These are normal biological and social things, not immoral or salacious. Kids don’t need to be PROTECTED from these facts, if they ask about them. Explaining it like any other normal thing will let the child know that it is, in fact, just a normal thing. It’s only weird and uncomfortable if the PARENT makes it weird and uncomfortable.

  • Bluejay

    The Beast transformed into a human at the end. The gay person did not transform into anything else. To a child that is what they see.

    Please look at this statement again. It seems to be saying: The Beast turned “normal,” so that’s okay; but the gay person stayed gay, which is not “normal,” and therefore a problem. Is this what you intended to say?

  • RicoSuave

    The point that you missed is that I CANNOT explain in terms the child would understand at his current age what a black hole is, in the same way a gay relationship cannot be properly understood at his CURRENT age . It seems that I have constantly repeat to you that at age 10 the child doesn’t fully understand. And as I have also said, when he is older it would be easier to understand the situation. It seems odd that in a society where we want to accommodate all views, religions etc, that anyone having a different view as to when a child should be told something (like in this context) is suddenly reviled. A bit hypocritical.

  • RicoSuave

    Not at all.. again you are projecting. The Beast became a man and the woman and the man “lived happily ever after” .. something children are familiar with as happens in most fairy tales. But they’ve never sen a man and a man in that kind of an ending in a fairy tale, so it isn’t a familiar ending to them. Do you understand now ?

  • LaSargenta

    Well then maybe they should have been read And Tango Makes Three instead of Cinderella.

  • LaSargenta

    There is no reason to ‘accommodate’ views that marginalise children. Yes, the children of gay couples AND gay children themselves who know they are different somehow and when puberty starts (which varies…some start hitting it as early as around 9) they start getting an inkling of how they are different.

    There are children, for example, who are lucky enough to have families who love them but then they are isolated by the parents of the other kids in the school/town/neighborhood because those kids don’t fit in with the so-called grown-ups ideas of what is ‘appropriate’ for other kids the same age to know about. Like somehow a 13 year old is equivalent to a porn film.

    Or the kids I’ve known whose parents reject them for the same reason.

  • Bluejay

    I CANNOT explain in terms the child would understand at his current age what a black hole is

    Really? “A black hole is an old star that got squished by its own gravity, so now it’s just a big hole in space that sucks in everything close to it, including light.”

    Also, there are plenty of kids’ astronomy books and websites. Here’s one for starters. http://www.kidsastronomy.com/black_hole.htm

    in the same way a gay relationship cannot be properly understood at his CURRENT age

    Here’s a thought: Do you think the CHILDREN of gay couples understand their parents’ relationship? How do you think gay parents explain to their own children, even from the youngest age, what their family is like? Whatever they tell their kids, is what we hetero parents should use to make OUR kids understand.

    And again, there are plenty of kids’ books to help. Here you go:



    It’s really not that hard. Kids don’t need to know complicated physics to grasp the concept of black holes. They don’t need to be Constitutional experts to understand some basic things about government. And it’s REALLY not that hard for them to understand that two people can love each other, and a lot of times it’s a man and a woman, but sometimes it’s other combinations. After all, there are children’s books about it!

    And no one is preventing you from expressing your view. But you’re on a public comments section, so we’re DISCUSSING it. Free speech means you get to have your say, but it doesn’t exempt you from hearing other people’s opinions on what you say. I’m ALSO being civil here, by the way.

  • Bluejay

    But they’ve never sen a man and a man in that kind of an ending in a fairy tale, so it isn’t a familiar ending to them.

    So what? If they have questions, the parents will explain. And if more films feature a gay fairy tale ending, then it WILL become more and more familiar to them, and they’ll learn that the “man/woman happy ending” isn’t the only possible combination. That’s a good thing, right?

  • Bluejay

    Why do we not depict four letter words, smoking and drinking in PG movies? Not because there is inherently anything wrong with those things. But it isn’t something appropriate for a PG film.

    I have issues with the ratings system, but that’s a different debate. In any case, your examples are behaviors that, arguably, shouldn’t be shown in a PG film because we feel young kids shouldn’t adopt those actions. “Being gay” isn’t a behavior that kids can emulate; it’s just who a person IS. A hetero boy isn’t going to come out of a movie with a gay character and start being attracted to other boys.

    Look, we don’t rate hetero porn films as PG either. But the higher X rating for porn is for the behavior, not the heterosexuality. There’s plenty of heterosexuality in family films; kids see plenty of stories with hetero couples having crushes or flirting or kissing or falling in love, or even just BEING TOGETHER even if the story isn’t about their relationship. If that’s normal and okay for kids to see, then it’s equally normal for them to see gay couples having crushes or flirting or kissing or falling in love, or just being together.

  • RicoSuave

    I highly doubt a studio is going to invest $200 million on a children’s film with a gay romance as its central them. In fact I highly doubt a studio will invest that kind of money on any summer blockbuster film for any age group with a gay theme. There was a petition to make Captain America and Bucky a couple. That was quickly shot down. Years ago Rupert Everett wanted to make a gay secret agent movie modeled after James Bond. Never got off the ground. Nobody is going to invest that kind of money into a film that appeals to a very small fraction of the population. That’s just business not homophobia.

    Yes, there might be a few secondary characters as in Beauty And the Beast to cater to some in the audience. But films are by and large made for the majority. And the majority is not interested . Just as much as why you will also never see “Love Story” remade with Little People, simply because that wouldn’t appeal to a global audience.

  • RicoSuave

    The issue here is that it is up to the parent to make the decision as what they feel is the appropriate age for their children to grasp such concepts. It isn’t a “one-size-fits-all”. Maybe some are fine with an 8-10 year old being told about the subject and at the same time, some other s aren’t. I don’t think it is up to a film studio to make that decision.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Looks like y’all got yourselves dragged down to Rico’s level again.

  • Bluejay

    I don’t think it is up to a film studio to make that decision.

    Is Disney forcing you to take your child to see it? You have ALWAYS been in charge of what your kid sees. It’s your responsibility to do research on the film in advance. You may think a gay character is inappropriate, but other groups (perhaps gay parents, or parents of gay children, or progressives in general) may welcome the character. Similarly, you may feel your child is fine with the notion of a dead mother, but other parents may think their own kids aren’t ready for it. Should they complain that “It’s not up to Disney to decide to give the character a dead mother”? No, Disney can tell whatever story it wants. The PARENTS decide whether to take the kids.

    You know your kid best. I only suggest this: If he’s already asking about something, give him an answer he can understand, instead of trying to avoid answering his questions.

    So, I’m curious. When he asked you how gay couples make babies, what did you tell him?

  • Bluejay

    Says the guy who recently responded to a blocked commenter.

    Participate (or don’t) in the threads you want, and we’ll do the same.

  • RicoSuave

    Of course, it is always a parent’s responsibility in such matters. And I wouldn’t stop him if he actually wanted to see the film. But even when the first teaser was shown almost a year ago, before the director got on his soap box recently about his “exclusive moment”. my son expressed no interest in seeing the film. I give him the answers that I think he can handle at his age. When he is older he will of course be able to process more complex concepts.

    I told him that they adopt or resort to using medical procedures that allow them to become parents. Look, you and others here seem to be trying to paint anyone who disagrees with your views that “anything goes” with regards to what Hollywood decides to stuff into a movie in this subject as a prude or a “regressive”. It isn’t. Some of us are just tired of being told than any variance of lock step agreement from what is pushed by various agenda driven groups is “antediluvian” . And just so you know, I am an atheist and I have a graduate degree in engineering. It isn’t about any religious hangups or lack of education. Anyway I think the points have been made. And this has run its course.

  • Danielm80

    So your son’s view of the world has now been broadened a little bit. In what way has he been harmed by that? And why do you think Disney should prevent other children from learning that gay people exist (if they didn’t know already)?

  • Bluejay

    To which he said “why don’t they just marry a man or a woman like everyone else”.

    How did you answer him on that? (That’s not “hammering away” at him, that’s answering a question that HE asked. If he’s not interested, he’ll stop asking.)

    Some of us are just tired of being told that any variance from total lock step agreement with what is pushed by various agenda driven groups is “antediluvian”.

    If you don’t want to be criticized as regressive or antediluvian, maybe don’t argue that some types of people shouldn’t be seen in a family film because of who they are.

    Look, EVERYONE has an “agenda.” That’s just saying that everyone has a “purpose” or a “motivation.” The question is, what’s the agenda? Some people support giving equal treatment and visibility to marginalized groups, while others want to stay comfortable in the status quo even if it means some groups of people stay silent and unseen. Everyone participates in an agenda whether they’re conscious of it or not. The challenge is to become aware of the agenda and then decide if that’s something you want to be part of.

    And just so you know, I am an atheist

    And just so YOU know, I’m an atheist too, but some of the other commenters pushing back on you are religious. We are well aware that not all atheists and not all religious people think alike.

  • Bluejay

    I said that more films SHOULD have central gay romances, not predicting that they WILL. And I didn’t say anything about budget. Unless you think people will only see $200 million movies.

  • LaSargenta

    Hey, if one L or G or B or T or Q kid sees me doing my best whack-a-mole on bigoted comments and feels a little less alone for that, I’ve done my job.

    I’ve got my reasons.

  • LaSargenta
  • The point is the introduction of a gay subplot in a story for children.

    There is NO “gay subplot” in this movie. This is the tiniest hint of gay *subtext.* That’s it.

    If you are unable to explain realities about adult lives in an age-appropriate level to your own child, that’s your problem, not the world’s problem.

  • If you are able to field questions about black holes in such a way so a 10-year-old can appreciate it, then you should have no problem answering a question like “But how do they have children?” Sheesh.

  • How is it so difficult for *you* to understand that you can simply say to a child “Sometimes boys fall in love with boys and sometimes girls fall in love with girls, and that’s fine”?

  • RicoSuave

    Again, it isn’t the material, it is the age at which it is to be introduced. My concern is that its introduction at too early an age causes more confusion and even a bit of fear as it something outside an average child’s realm. Why was the drinking age raised from 18 to 21 ? Because the consensus in this country was that the person should be older to make a decision about it. Why was the age of consent raised from around 10 at the turn of the century to 16-18 today ? As you can see society has actually moved in the direction of realizing that understanding and deciding certain things is better left to a later age in some areas.
    And Disney isn’t some noble organization. Their next live action remake “The Lion King” was ripped off from “Kimba The White Lion”, a Japanese cartoon. Disney has refused to pay a dime to the makers of the original film. You can see some of the scenes compared here:
    So let’s not think that Disney is doing some huge service here… when they resort to blatant plagiarism for profits.They are all about the money.

  • Are you suggesting that *Moonlight* has been such a huge success because it appeals only to poor gay black men? Or that *Hidden Figures* has been so huge because only black women mathematicians are seeing it? Come on, you cannot be so lacking in empathy that you are unable to appreciate a good story because you don’t look exactly like the central characters? Don’t you want your child to learn empathy?

  • If there is a level of understanding for a 10-year-old of what a hetero relationship is, then there is also the same for a gay relationship.

  • Bluejay

    My concern is that its introduction at too early an age causes more confusion and even a bit of fear as it is something outside an average child’s realm.

    Again, you are arguing that “being gay” is something that is inappropriate for children, like drinking or smoking or being married. IT IS NOT. If gay parents adopt or have biological kids, are those kids TOO YOUNG to understand their own parents’ relationship? If the kids are gay themselves, are they TOO YOUNG to understand who they are?

    Your child will be confused and a little afraid of A LOT OF THINGS that he never experienced before. Your job is to TEACH HIM so that he isn’t confused or afraid of something normal.

  • LaSargenta

    Again you are treating this like it is something other than a family partnership.

  • LaSargenta

    And realities of plenty of children’s lives. Gay people don’t just spring from nowhere already 21+ years old.

  • Bluejay

    It’s a very ungenerous view of the white male imagination. Women and POC have had no trouble enjoying the adventures of generations of white male heroes. But somehow white men can’t return the favor, because their imagination is so impoverished that they can’t enjoy stories about people who don’t look like them? If white men don’t see that argument as an insult to their mental capacity, they should.

  • Danielm80

    Saying “Underage people shouldn’t drink or have sex” isn’t the same as saying “Underage people shouldn’t have any idea what alcohol is, or what sex is.”

    And no one here has suggested that Disney is a social service organization. Some of us have suggested that this mediocre movie does one good thing: It reminds us that LGBT folks are ordinary people who live ordinary lives. When so many films have done the opposite—and have made people feel abnormal just for falling in love—that’s one small, positive step. Your desire to erase this little love story from the movie is not a positive step.

  • Saw it over the weekend with my wife. My thoughts:
    For starters, I have no nostalgia for the original. It was fine, but
    didn’t hit me the way the movies after it did. Lion King, Alladin, etc
    are much loved by me.
    Musicals and such are definitely not my
    thing. I’ve never liked people breaking out into song and dance in the
    middle of a movie.

    The cg candlestick, wardrobe, etc I found
    somewhat horrifying. It was so weird. Plus I couldn’t help but think
    about how Emma couldn’t actually see any of what was happening in front
    of her. If I like a movie my mind doesn’t go into the particulars behind it like that.

    Emma was fine but I still feel she was miscast. I’d have to ponder who
    would have worked better. Her singing was fine, assuming it was actually
    I wonder why they got Ewan Mcgregor to voice the french
    candlestick guy. Why not just hire an actual French person? His voice
    was ok, but a little off.
    Plus the whole damn thing was just so
    overproduced. Nan said they were trying to mimic the animation, but I
    just thought it was too much.
    All told it was decent, just not my cup of chai.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Carry on then.

  • RicoSuave

    Your words. I never said it was “inappropriate”, just like swearing and drinking are not wrong, just not for a children’s movie. We differ on this and that is fine.

  • RicoSuave

    No it isn’t the same for the vast majority of children who have no exposure to gay relationships.

  • RicoSuave

    Moonlight was an R rated film which was not meant to be a summer blockbuster. You forgot “Brokeback Mountain” .. yes there are gay themed films but they aren’t exactly aimed at the PG crowd are they ?

  • RicoSuave

    I think I have gone over this. He doesn’t understand how that can happen, because he doesn’t see a same sex relationship as making sense at his age. As I said, he is too young to fully under the issues.

  • RicoSuave

    Well, a 10 year old can figure out Rubik’s cube and struggle with tying his shoelaces at times. It isn’t a consistent thing at his age. That’s just the way it is …

  • RicoSuave

    It was obviously more than “tiny” for the director to make a very pointed public statement about it. It obviously was very important to him. “Adult lives” ? As in a fantasy film like Beauty & The Beast ?

  • RicoSuave

    There already have been such films.. Brokeback Mountain was probably one of the most successful. But it was an R rated , adult film.

  • Bluejay

    I never said it was “inappropriate”, … just not for a children’s movie.

    What do you think “inappropriate” means?

  • RicoSuave

    It is relative to the context. Material that is fine for a PG-13/R film is “inappropriate” for a G/PG film.
    Do you think the audiences are all of the same maturity ?

  • Bluejay

    And as I said, I have issues with the ratings system. Even a movie like Love is Strange, which had zero sex — but happens to feature a central gay couple — gets an R rating. No reason kids and teens couldn’t see that one.


  • Bluejay

    So you ARE saying it’s inappropriate for kids (which I disagree with). So why did you say, “I never said it was ‘inappropriate’?” You’re contradicting yourself.

    I’ve already explained why I disagree with you.

  • RicoSuave

    PG-13 is still a rating for kids. I think the material is fine for that rating. I think the material is not understandable for the PG audience. I haven’t contradicted myself. You’re looking for something that isn’t there. Yes, I know you’re upset that not everyone agrees with your opinion. And it is kind of amusing that everyone here takes turns upvoting each others comments. Out of curiosity has anyone down voted each others comments ?

  • RicoSuave

    I checked on imdb and it says the R rating was for language. They have had PG-13 gay themed films.. the Kevin Kline comedy “In & Out” was PG-13. I saw it and it I would say it was fine for the PG-13 audience.

  • Bluejay

    The point is that kids have the POTENTIAL to understand, if they are GIVEN the exposure to these relationships (and if their minds aren’t closed by the adults in their lives). Isn’t that what learning is supposed to be about? How can kids with no exposure to gay people learn to understand and empathize with gay people, unless we let them see *some* gay people in their stories?

    Most kids don’t have exposure to Polynesian culture either. So what? That didn’t stop them from enjoying Moana and having empathy for characters from that culture. Kids learn about things they were previously unfamiliar with, all the time.

  • RicoSuave

    Ok.. so what do you think they would understand in a fantasy film on the subject of gay relationships ? Moana as a means to understand Polynesian culture ? Really ? On those lines do you think the Thor films educated people about Norse/Scandinavian religions ?

  • Bluejay

    Dude, I’m not talking about our philosophical disagreement here — I’m just pointing out an inconsistency in your statements. If you don’t see it, fine.

    There are some regular readers here, and there’s nothing wrong with upvoting people we agree with. (I can’t, because I don’t sign in.) I don’t think the downvote button works. You can try it, if you like.

  • RicoSuave

    I have repeatedly said that the theme was fine for older kids. What inconsistency is there in that ?
    A bit of an echo chamber it seems, given the pattern.

  • Bluejay

    so what do you think they would understand in a fantasy film on the subject of gay relationships?

    They see a gay character, and at the end two gay characters dance with each other. The characters aren’t shunned, they aren’t total evil villains, and they’re just accepted as part of the society around them. It’s a good way to show kids that being gay is normal, and no big deal.

    And yes, Moana is a good INTRODUCTION to the culture for kids who’ve never been exposed to it. Obviously Disney is never 100% accurate, but they incorporated a lot of aspects of the culture. If kids want to learn more, they’ll have to read and see more. But this is one way to have exposure and spark interest.

  • Danielm80

    True confession: I’ve “downvoted” at least half of RicoSuave’s comments, but I do that almost every time he posts on this website, just as I “upvote” most of your comments on other subjects.

  • Agree completely, and I’ve said as much many times before.

  • No, you suggested that movie audiences only want to see people onscreen who are exactly like them. I pointed out that we *know* that this is not the case. It has nothing to do with budget or blockbuster status but what audiences have demonstrated they are willing to watch.

  • Then it’s up to you, as a parent, to explain to your child in an age-appropriate way, how it can and does happen. Children of *all* ages *are* perfectly capable of understanding this “issue” because children of all ages already live with gay people in their lives.

  • Belle is an adult. The Beast is an adult. Maurice is an adult. Gaston is an adult. There are barely any children in this movie. Therefore it is dealing with adult lives.

    The gay thing *is* tiny. You *saw* the film yourself! You can see that it is tiny.

  • The “gay” content of B&TB is even more innocuous that the Norse content of the Thor movies. It’s almost nonexistent, in fact. What bothered your 10-year-old so much that he asked you questions you weren’t able to answer?

  • RicoSuave

    I made it clear that I answered questions but the answers led to more confusion. As I’ve said, in perhaps 3-4 years, things would be clearer to him. But right now it is just confusing to him.

  • They see a gay character, and at the end two gay characters dance with each other.

    I don’t think kids would even pick up on the fact that La Fou is gay, and I don’t think even many adults would have come to that conclusion if someone hadn’t made a big deal out of it.

  • So you have not, in fact, actually the seen the movie?

  • RicoSuave

    The target audience is children. Which is also why films with adults aimed at the PG audience do not have smoking/drinking/swearing etc, all of which are part of adult lives. But not part of the lives of (most ?) children. So films DO alter adult behavior when presenting adult characters to children.

  • RicoSuave

    Again, I’ve pointed out that PG-13 and higher rated films are where such characterizations are better placed. And it has everything to do with business and blockbusters. Films have been edited for language and violence and sex to avoid R ratings so as to get a wider audience.It isn’t anything unusual.

  • RicoSuave

    LOL.. I wouldn’t have expected anything different. It’s ok, I’ll get by… somehow.

  • RicoSuave

    No I haven’t because the director’s pompous hamfisted comments turned me off. If he had just left it alone rather than making sound like a “product placement” advertizement, I may have seen it. No different from a director or actor taking about “We have an exclusive Coca Cola/Pepsi” moment in this movie. If that is their intention with the film, then , no thanks.

  • So you’re saying that it’s okay and appropriate for hetero relationships to be depicted in a way that children can understand, but not gay relationships.


  • There is no sex of any kind on BATB. A gay relationship — which is not depicted in any way in BATB, while a hetero one is — is no more all about sex than a hetero one is.

  • Jesus. Gay people are not “products.”

  • Bluejay

    Interesting… I don’t see downvotes at all, anywhere. Are they blocked from public view if you’re not signed in?

  • bronxbee

    the vast majority”? really? is there no one in your neighborhood, school district, supermarket, that doesn’t live or even come across as living different lifestyles from yours? i have found when raising two boys that they see and question a lot more than their parents think they do. but if they feel that *you* can’t handle the questions, then they get pushed to the back of their minds as “unacceptable” topics, or they hear sniggering and ridiculous misinformation from their friends. also, children are very talented eavesdroppers and often hear information or parts of information you don’t realize they are hearing.

  • bronxbee

    my nephew, at age 7 or 8, saw the movie “Night at the Museum” and became fascinated by Maori culture just because he saw the huge Easter Island head talking (or whatever) in that movie. when 2 years later he came to NYC, all he could talk about was seeing the head at the Museum of Natural History. when we took him, he gave us an extensive lecture about maori culture, easter island history and flora and fauna… all this from a few minutes in a silly movie. as Bluejay says, a movie or a moment in a movie — if it captures imagination or raises curiosity — is a great jumping off point. how long do you think you can keep a 10 year old from hearing about gay people???? especially if you let him watch television? or don’t you?

  • Danielm80

    I’m not quite sure. Disqus will no longer tell you the exact number of people who “downvoted” a comment. (You can still view the number of “upvotes.”) I know that I can see a little arrow pointing down after I’ve hit the “downvote” button. I can’t tell whether it’s visible to anyone else. But, apparently, if enough people vote a comment down, that affects its ranking, so that it slides down toward the bottom of the thread. Or something like that.

    Here’s a discussion thread that, supposedly, explains the situation:


    I use the “downvote” option mainly when I feel like responding to an infuriating comment but don’t want to feed the troll. It’s a cheap form of therapy.

  • Danielm80

    And now I’m going to have that song from Into the Woods stuck in my head.

  • Bluejay

    Funny. I know you mean “Children Will Listen,” but I’ve had a different song from that musical in my head recently:


    Which is, weirdly enough, relevant to this discussion. Into the Woods is rated PG. And here is this scene which is nothing if not a blatant (and awesomely hilarious) display of heterosexuality — two men in agony because of their all-consuming lust for unattainable women. Obviously the ratings board felt kids could handle it. (And I agree.) But who wants to bet that a similar scene with gay men, openly declaring their burning desire for other men, will bump the rating to an R? If this isn’t a clear example of heterosexual privilege, I don’t know what is.

  • Bluejay

    Also, THIS scene, from Hunchback of Notre Dame. Disney movie, rated G. And it’s about a horny priest and the notion of eternal damnation. If we think kids can handle this, they can ABSOLUTELY handle the fleeting and innocuous gay elements in BatB.


  • RicoSuave

    You do realize that despite what Hollywood might want you to think via movies and tv, the numbers are quite small. I am quoting The Washington Post here (an acceptable publication I trust…):

    “Today, there are about 390,000 married same-sex couples in the country, according to Gallup. There are also 1.2 million adults living in a same-sex domestic partnership.”

    Put those numbers against the population of 320 million in the country. What do you think are the chances one would have in meeting a same sex couple ?

  • RicoSuave

    You missed the point I was making that the director was treating it like exactly like “product placement” with his stilted “exclusively gay moment” (sic) statement… “Oh look.. look, I placed this moment riiiight heeere, don’t miss it”.

  • RicoSuave

    Because like it or not most children grow up even today in homes with hetero parents. Children like to be assured that the world is a familiar predictable one. And hetero parents are a big part of that predictable universe. As I keep saying, when he is older, his world view will change, but I’m not going set his time table by what a Hollywood director thinks is his grand standing “exclusive moment” to inject his revision into an existing story.
    Case in point… in the last Star Trek movie, the film makers decided to make Sulu gay out of blue. Even George Takei, the original Sulu, who is gay himself, told them it was a bad idea and that they should leave the character alone. So are you going to now say that George Takei is homophobic because he didn’t want the Star Trek character tampered with ?

  • Bluejay

    We’re not just talking about same-sex COUPLES in official marriages or registered partnerships. We’re talking about LGBT people, period, whether they’re in a relationship or not. The UCLA School of Law (an acceptable institution, I trust) estimates that 9 million Americans (3.8% of the population) identified as LGBT in 2011. (And those are just ESTIMATES based on people willing to *identify* as LGBT. The number of people who are *actually* LGBT is probably larger.) So, still a minority but substantially bigger than your numbers.


  • Danielm80

    Jews make up a pretty tiny percentage of the population. Should Hollywood avoid putting Jewish people in movies because our strange customs might make your son fearful and confused?

  • Bluejay

    Children like to be assured that the world is a familiar, predictable one. And hetero parents are a big part of that predictable universe.

    NO ONE is taking away children’s “familiar” hetero families. They’re simply being shown that there are OTHER KINDS of families.

    And this movie doesn’t even show gay marriages or gay families, just one — ONE!!! — gay character. Hetero children are not going to freak out and say “I don’t understand my universe anymore!” because they see characters who are different from them. The only one who seems to be freaking out about it, and projecting that freak-out onto hypothetical children, is YOU.

  • RicoSuave

    Not the same thing. Nice deflection to religion. Religion is common place. Jewish festivals are celebrated nationwide.and globally. There are countries which are majority Jewish. Is there a majority gay country ?

  • RicoSuave

    Those weren’t “my numbers”. I quoted from the Washington Post April 28, 2015. And my point was that gay couples do not usually live in the usual family suburbs where I live. And definitely no single gay person is going to want to live in family suburbs… I would think most would live in large metropolitan cities for the most part.

  • Bluejay

    Is there a majority gay country?

    No, but there are gay people in every country. Including gay children. Who all deserve to see people like themselves onscreen.

    Religion is common place. Jewish festivals are celebrated nationwide.and globally. There are countries which are majority Jewish.

    Nice to see you have no problem with religion being represented onscreen. Islam is commonplace; Islamic holidays are celebrated in parts of the US and globally; there are countries which are majority Muslim. I wouldn’t have a problem if Hollywood included Muslim characters in all their movies. You wouldn’t either, right?

  • Bluejay

    gay couples do not usually live in the usual family suburbs where I live

    …that you know of.

    no single gay person is going to want to live in family suburbs

    …that you know of.

    You may need to get out more.

  • Bluejay

    I would think most would live in large metropolitan cities for the most part.

    If gay people tend to move to cities, it’s because cities tend to attract diverse kinds of people and are therefore more tolerant. But it doesn’t mean gay people only exist in cities. They live *everywhere,* including in family suburbs. They’re closeted adults, or closeted children and teenagers, who can’t fully be who they are because their communities don’t think they’re normal. And those communities don’t think they’re normal precisely because they don’t have enough exposure to gay people through stories.

  • RicoSuave

    Not really… I’m not the one resorting to CAPS in hysterics because I disagree with the characterization in the film. Note that I posted in another comment that George Takei had strong reservations about making Sulu in the new Star Trek film gay because it did not fit with the character and his history in the Star Trek story. Similar to the rewriting of the character Lefou in the BaTB film. So are you saying now that Takei “freaked out” over the making of Sulu gay ? And note that the film makers were so miffed at Takei for saying that that they disinvited him from publicity tours. Sounds like any criticism of a film in this context is taken as some kind of criminal act. Sounds familiar, reading this thread.

  • RicoSuave

    Why would a person want to live in a place that isn’t exactly interesting to any single person .. straight or gay ?

  • RicoSuave

    It is a question of numbers. There are about 6 million “LittLe People” in the US. How many leading men and romantic heroes in movies are “Little People” ? The Beast in BaTB transformed into a good looking tall man. Why couldn’t he have transformed in a “Little Person” ? Disney could now break even more new ground by breaking another stereotype of having tall men as the heroes in their film. Or do you have a problem with short people ?

  • Bluejay

    Do you think everyone lives where they *want* to live?

  • Bluejay

    How many leading men and romantic heroes in movies are “Little People”?

    Too few. I would welcome seeing more!

    Why couldn’t he have transformed in a “Little Person” ?

    Yeah, why not? That would be cool to see! I’d be okay with that. You wouldn’t?

    Disney could now break even more new ground by breaking another stereotype of having tall men as the heroes in their film.

    I’m totally on board with this. I don’t know why you assume I wouldn’t be.

  • Bluejay

    Takei opposed making Sulu gay because he felt it didn’t honor the original character, NOT because he thinks young viewers can’t handle gay characters. That’s YOUR argument. (I disagree with Takei, by the way.)

    Sounds like any criticism of a film in this context is taken as some kind of criminal act.

    Oh, boo hoo. No one’s coming to arrest you. You’re on a public forum where people argue for their views. If you don’t like other people exercising their free speech, you’re free to stop commenting.

  • Bluejay

    Also, nice deflection yourself — from religion to Little People. I see you didn’t answer my question about Muslims.

  • Danielm80

    Less than 2% of the U.S. population is Jewish. At least 3.8% is LGBT (unless you arbitrarily decide to leave out all the single people). So LGBT people are actually more commonplace. It’s just that some people have chosen to ignore them, out of fear and confusion.

  • RicoSuave

    No a lot closer… Little People have been mocked, discriminated against. Disney has made millions (billions) with their cartoons such as “Snow White And The Seven Dwarves” and other films. Perhaps DIsney should give back and have a “Little Person” as the leading hero/heroine in their next live action film .. no ? You never answered why Disney or other studios aren’t casting more Little People in visible roles. When was the last time you saw a sitcom with aLittle Person in the lead ? There have been more than a few gay characters over the years on tv. Other than Peter Dinklage on “Game of Thrones”, how many Little People are there major movie/tv roles ?

  • RicoSuave

    LOL.. I daresay you’re the person who would weep and need to be held to calm your shaking .

  • RicoSuave

    I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that diminutive hero/heroine to appear in the next Disney film, even though Disney has profited quite a bit from films with the short statured.

  • Bluejay

    You’re still not answering my question about Muslims.

    You never answered why Disney or other studios aren’t casting more Little People in visible roles.

    Simple: prejudice, which is a factor both in casting and in society discouraging more Little People from being actors in the first place.

    even asking a question about the relevance of making a previously non-gay character gay in a Disney movie gets a reaction as if somehow there is a dearth of gay characters in the media today and not having this Disney role would somehow deny representation

    That’s not why you’re getting pushback. No one is saying LeFou is *essential* to gay representation. And no one is criticizing you for asking whether a character change is relevant to the plot. You’re being criticized for arguing that gay people shouldn’t be seen in family films because you think children can’t handle it.

  • Bluejay

    I said I would *welcome* it (because you asked). I didn’t say I *expected* it. You keep conflating the two.

  • Bluejay

    You disagree with Takei ? The person who defined the role ?

    Oh, so NOW you’re in favor of lock-step agreement?

    I daresay you’re the person who would weep and need to be held to calm your shaking .

    Wait, are you trying to BURN me? That’s adorable.

    And this is the kind of thing you say when you’ve run out of legitimate arguments. That’s what I thought.

  • RicoSuave

    And suddenly you are in favor of disagreeing with how a role should be played ? Wonders never cease.
    You are the one resorting to CAPS locks and the “boo hoos” … take some of your own medicine. Bitter ?

  • RicoSuave

    And Disney will not do it because that is not what people expect and the studio will be writing off a $200+ million movie. So Disney does keep to convention it seems,,,

  • Bluejay

    I agree. Disney will put something in a $200 million movie only if it thinks its audience will be okay with it.

    Disney put a gay LeFou in a $200 million movie. So its audience must be okay with it. Good to know.

  • RicoSuave

    What about Muslims ? Here’s a character you should lobby for…a gay Muslim character in a Disney film. Maybe make the Dwarves gay Muslims in the live action “7 Dwarves” remake. Should check all the boxes.
    I said that a PG-13 level film is fine… you are arguing that it is necessary at the PG level to introduce gay characters. That is my pushback. We are going to disagree on it.

  • Bluejay

    Here’s a character you should lobby for…a gay Muslim character in a Disney film.

    You say that as if it’s a criticism, but of course, there’s nothing wrong with such a character. I would welcome it. Why wouldn’t you? Wait, I can guess.

    You still didn’t answer my question about Muslims.

  • RicoSuave

    They didn’t tamper with the main characters… that was the point. They want their box office.

  • RicoSuave

    We’ve had a long discussion now and some points have been lost in this thread. Ok… what was your question about Muslims ?

  • Bluejay

    They put in a few subtle gay references because they weren’t concerned about kids being able to handle it. Even if, apparently, at least *one* parent can’t.

  • Bluejay
  • RicoSuave

    As I’ve said a PG-13 level is fine. You and the others ignore that repeatedly. You acknowledge that Takei can have a difference of opinion about how a role is to be played, so what is the issue here ?

  • Bluejay

    You acknowledge that Takei can have a difference of opinion about how a role is to be played, so what is the issue here?

    You’re the one slamming me for disagreeing with Takei. I have no issue with having a different opinion.

    As for OUR disagreement: I recognize that you have a different opinion. The REASONING behind your opinion is offensive to me, and so I am expressing my objections to it. You have the freedom to state your views, and I have the freedom to state my objections to those views. Do you have a problem with that?

  • RicoSuave

    Didn’t we just have that same discussion about Jewish characters and the Jewish faith ? What’s the difference about Muslim characters ? Not sure what your point is here. Unless you are saying there should be gay Muslim characters in movies/tv shows?

  • Bluejay

    What’s the difference about Muslim characters?

    So, like me, you’re fine with the idea of Muslim characters being represented in lots of Hollywood films, including family films. Good. Just want to clarify the consistency of your position.

    Danielm80’s response to your “population” argument is actually more relevant.


  • RicoSuave

    No, I only pointed out that others like Takei have also disagreed with this random rewriting of characters, same as I have said. Nowhere have I said gay characters shouldn’t be in films, nor have I said that children shouldn’t see gay characters. All I said was that PG is too early a level and PG-13 is a better introductory level. And just mentioning that seems to have wrapped people around the axle here.

  • Bluejay

    Do me a favor: See the film. Then come back and tell us if you found it inappropriate. Otherwise you’re just arguing about the hypothetical idea when you don’t know how it’s actually been executed.

    I know that you think PG-13 is a better “introductory” level. My point is that no child is too young to be introduced to the existence of LGBT people — just as no child is too young to be introduced to people of a different skin color or culture, or to the idea that two people of different “races” can marry each other. You don’t need to be 13 before you’re introduced to the existence of people who are different from you.

    Saying that young children shouldn’t know about LGBT people until they’re older — and lumping in “gayness” with disapproved behaviors like smoking — has the effect of making gay people seem “not normal” or “just for adults.” Something to inspire confusion and fear. The reality is that there is nothing for children to fear about LGBT people. And there’s nothing automatically “adult” or “mature” about being gay (which is separate from the sexual activity, the same way that being hetero is separate from sexual activity). And if hetero kids are confused about something they don’t see in their daily life, the whole point of children’s stories (and parents) is to help them not be confused. I don’t know how much plainer I can say it.

  • Danielm80

    People who are old enough to see a PG-13 movie are, pretty much by definition, teenagers (or adults), not children. So, yes, you did say that children shouldn’t see gay characters. And you’ve suggested that just knowing that there are LGBT people in the world will create harmful levels of fear and confusion in children, which is objectionable for all sorts of reasons.

  • Bluejay

    And suddenly you are in favor of disagreeing with how a role should be played?

    I’m in favor of examining the reasons for the disagreement, and of pointing out bullshit and bigotry when I see it.


    You got nothing. Keep it up.

  • I don’t think clicking on the downvote button does anything at all anymore.

    It really might be time for me to get rid of Disqus entirely…

  • I am honestly starting to think that your problem with gay people has nothing to do with your son and everything to do with you.

  • No, I think *you* are missing the point. However hamfisted and overblown the director may have been, gay people are still not *products.* There is no imperative to see a brand of sugar water represented onscreen. There absolutely *is* an imperative to see underrepresented people onscreen.

  • You really need to get out more. Gay people are *everywhere.*

  • Why couldn’t he have transformed in a “Little Person” ?

    An excellent question! Why couldn’t he have?

    Except, in the context of how a gay person actually appears in this story, you should be asking, Why couldn’t there be a little person in a small supporting role in which their size had absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the central story?

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