Bill Condon, most known for his work on “Twilight” and “The Fifth Estate” has officially signed on for a live-action film of “Beauty and the Beast.”
The famous animated “Beauty and the Beast” film opened in theaters in 1991, and went on to earn $425 million worldwide.
The decision to move forward with the project is likely due to the recent success of “Maleficent” which released in theaters last month. It topped the box office on its opening weekend earning over $170 million worldwide. Disney has also had wide success with live-action versions of “Wizard of Oz” and “Alice in Wonderlands.”
There is already a live-action “Jungle Book” project in the works and reportedly a “Cinderella” film as well.
Director, Condon, is no stranger to musicals either. His 2006 hit Dreamgirls, based on the Broadway musical, was a worldwide success.
Let’s just hope the new project will not look like this:
Lionman Scarface and Shoulderpads Assumptive In Love Heat
AKA, Beauty and the Beast on the CW
Boy, where to start with this piece of work.
Actually let’s start with me. I love fairy tales, and I love fairy tale reworkings. “Beauty and the Beast” was always a particular favorite of mine, probably because it dealt in consequences—everything that happened to the characters was a direct result of something they did. They don’t suffer misfortune, they suffer karma, and that idea has always resonated with me. Learning to take responsibility for one’s own actions and their consequences is effing hard, which is why some people have to get turned into a beast in order to appreciate that lesson.
I like fairy tales when they are as weird as possible. Turn them into cartoon musicals with anthropomorphic wall clocks? Gold. Reinterpret with Ron Perlman dressed as Lion-O in an 80’s hair band? THE BEST AND PUREST OF GOLDS. CW had a few choices to make when they decided to re-make George R. R. Martin’s (yeah…let that process for a bit) Beauty and the Beast, which ran from 1987-1989 on CBS. Let’s just say they haven’t impressed me with their choices thus far.
What I liked about the original (which I have dubbed Lionman and Shoulderpads in Love) was Vincent’s physical inability to be anything other than a Lionman. Sure, Catherine fell in love with him and learned to see into his heart and beyond his (totally hot) scary Lionface cleft lip, but there wasn’t any cure or magical potion that would turn Vincent into Ron Perlman. That is what made that show so addictive. Watching those two interact with each other around the apparently insurmountable species sexual incompatibility was addictive and cheesy. OK, mostly cheesy, but yelling at Linda Hamilton about how she’s just being a prude because hot lionman sex is something she should TOTALLY go for (your mom watches this show…haaa) is pretty much the best viewing experience ever. *
Anyway, it seems like the CW has gone the absolute opposite direction. The new Vincent is not beastly at all in appearance. The tiny scratch on his face is LAUGHABLE. The Beast is on the inside, and that is just boring. BORING BORING BORING. That is all the ex-boyfriends any of us ever had! I AM SERIOUSLY UNIMPRESSED, CW. There better be something else going on, like Catherine’s utter lack of likability being because she is the Beast in this version. That would be interesting.
But then there’s the plot…
Oh, you mean, the “plot.” This storyline? Not so much about actions and consequences. Not at all about that, in fact. All these characters are complete reactionaries. Something happens to them, and they react to it. Unless there is a complicated backstory to be revealed later, the “detective” did nothing in her past that caused her mother’s murder, just like there is nothing in the beast’s choices that showed why he deserved to become a monster on the outside. Yes, the events that follow from those two life-altering moments are connected, but they are a string of events that derive from things that were done to the characters, not from some choice the characters made for themselves.
Just in the basic set-up, therefore, this fails as a reworking of the fairy tale.
But it fails in other ways, too. First of all, the beast is way too studly to make a believable beast, as Rachel pointed out. Even when he gets mad and kills things he just looks like manbearpig, and the rest of the time he looks like a tittybaby for being all emo about his one little scar. Wah, wah, wah. Go tell it to the one-legged man, so he can hump it on down the road. It’s no wonder she’s all, “Who WAS that hot beast that saved me in the woods? Oh, it’s you! Let’s bone.”
Can we also talk about how far-fetched it is that a super-hot and well-educated doctor guy who joins the army after his brother is killed in the 9/11 attacks (seriously, CW…WTF is WRONG WITH YOU?) would then be chosen for a super-secret Gamma Ray project in the first place? One of my favorite parts of the story is that Vincent the former Doctor, when asked what was done to him…has no idea. BUT YOU ARE A DOCTOR. Did they put the gamma rays up your butt? Was it a pill you swallowed? Did a withered old lady shove a rose in your face and cackle? YOU HAVE TO HAVE SOME IDEA!
Exactly. It would have made more sense if he had done it to himself, you know, performing illegal medical research. At least that way it would have been his choice and his consequences, instead of being victimized and hunted by these evil government agents. Yawn.
The script is so poorly written that the cliché lines “Needs a new decorator,” “Do you know what the definition of insanity is?” and “We are going to save each other!” ARE THE BEAST LINES. It’s like the writers let Yahoo! Answers write the script!
I want to go back to the theory Rachel posed above, that maybe this entire show is a switcheroo and she is the beast, hence why he doesn’t need to be beastly. This idea makes so much sense to me that I hope it’s true, even though I think it might be unintentional.
See, her character seems like a pretty standard female lead, hence why I think her beastliness was not intentional…but she really set off a lot of my civil rights bells. She’s either totally corrupt or totally incompetent as an officer of the law, and either we are supposed to accept this because she’s like all cops or we’re supposed to admire her as the main character and overlook her flaws (like so much urban fantasy asks us to overlook completely bullying behaviors by the heroines, because that sort of thing is okay when you are 5 feet tall and 98 pounds). Sorry, no. Let’s look at a checklist from one episode of Detective Catherine behaving badly:
She doesn’t enforce laws impartially, but according to her own whims (arrest the guy who just dumped me, he has pot)
She uses her authority as an officer of the law to trespass by lying about having a warrant (oh, hai hot doctor beast, I just knew you were in here after my first legitimate visit…guess I smelled your hot beastly pheromones or something)
She steals evidence from a suspect’s property without a warrant or permission or proper forensic documentation (beauty sample log)
She leaks information about an ongoing investigation to someone outside her department and steals evidence to release to someone outside her department (secret subway meeting with…CIA? friend).
She happily goes along with it when her friend steals evidence that implicates her and no doubt erases the log entry for it.
…this is our model cop heroine? Frailty, thy name is Catherine, indeed.
Look, I apologize for getting so serious, but it’s a topic that really matters to me, and I get up in arms every time I see a positive portrayal of cops behaving badly. That means people see the actions and don’t realize what the behavior is or write it off because she’s “really the good guy and not hurting anyone,” which makes it more likely that people will tolerate such behavior from public officials in real life…which is how innocent people end up imprisoned, bankrupted by asset forfeiture despite never being convicted of a crime, or on death row. What this show needs is Judge Dredd (or even just Rookie Anderson), clearly.
Anyway. I didn’t like her, found her to be vacuous and self-serving, and corrupt on a small scale that could grow exponentially because the only moral calibration she seems to make is whether following a law or protocol makes her feel good and acting according to her own emotions. The Law is above that! (Can you all see the annoyed Judge face I am making right now? Can you picture it?)
Yeaaaah, she’s lame. She’s too young to be a detective, and she has this super false way of speaking like every word in the script is a revelation to her brain. I’ll blame that on a combination of writing, directing, and acting. It’s like when Christian Bale went for the Batvoice and no one stopped him. Lana Lang decided to try a phone sex operator voice. It doesn’t work. Catherine also seems extremely physically capable. She throws three grown men around on a subway platform without mussing her hair. It’s the Buffy-effect maybe. Or maybe they did that because the writers wanted a strong female character that wouldn’t need constant saving from Vincent…even though she does actually need constant saving from Vincent. I like that they didn’t go the rape route like the original did (It was a “violent attack” with a sexual assault implication). I’m so sick of female protagonists in fantasy stories being raped. I’M SO SICK OF IT. So points to CW for leaving that the hell off the table.
I’m worried this show is going to turn into the capable girl gets all lame and helpless around her boyfriend and then when he hits her (it is INEVITABLE that he hits her, guys, accept it. He even screamed in her face that he would) becomes really dependent and apologetic a la Bella Swan. PLEASE DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN.
It’s funny you bring up Bella Swan, everyone’s favorite robot bride impersonator, because I got very little sense of him except that he’s basically Edward Cullen. Creepy stalker protector with a saving people complex and a self-loathing hatred of the monster within. Got it. I had trouble believing his claim of being imprisoned there for fear of getting caught. He could totally be wandering around New York without attracting attention because he’s not a beast except when he’s upset (maybe he just gets really terrible sidewalk rage?). Everyone thinks he’s dead. Stay away from the military recruiting centers and the UN, and you’ll never run into anyone you shouldn’t. No need to stay in the rusty, filthy post-industrial loft unless you just LIKE being emo and tragic and broody (cough *Edward Cullen * cough).
(Speaking of his rusty filthy post-industrial loft with the crazy science experiments being run by his biochemist friend to try and cure him…LAMEST MAGIC CASTLE EVER. That is all.)
I miss the mist-filled NYC sewers full of libraries and homeless people in Renn Faire gear.
Me too, and I didn’t even watch the original!
So let’s sum this one up: the fight scene was pretty bad, the dialogue was terrible, the plot was thin, and the murder investigation seemed tacked on. She should be something besides law enforcement, because then they wouldn’t have to do a murder of the week thing—news flash, Castle already has the market on the buddy-cop/we want to get nas-tay show.
I will confess that, for some reason I can’t explain, the last scene made me want to watch next week, just to see if some of these issues were pilot shakes. I think I’m a sucker for dudes who stand on top of buildings and stare torturedly into the night inwardly screaming about fairness and true love. But I don’t hold out much hope for redemption.
I might actually check it out next week just to see what the show looks like when it’s not a network executive-pleasing pilot. I highly doubt that Catherine will turn out to be the beastly half of this pairing (even though it would be AWESOME) just because the manbearpig has already flashed its CGI face to the audience. Maybe the CW will surprise me. I thoroughly enjoy The Vampire Diaries (yes, that’s right, I have eyeballs and ovaries. Sue me.), and they’ve done a lot to that show to make it genre subversive.
If not – may I suggest ABC’s Once Upon a Time. Another horrifyingly bad show with questionable costumes and a Beast who is oddly hot despite his moss-covered teeth.
* Yes, Catherine has Vincent’s Lioncubbaby but that was only because she quit and the writers had to kill her off and still maintain a connection with the last two seasons. It’s the worst only because they never show them MAKING THE DAMN BABY. Which is all we ever wanted.
Generally, The CW knows what it is doing. It knows the right shows to appeal the specific audience it wants during primetime and with that knowledge they have officially given the pilot order for three new television series that are based on two books and one comic book. Continue reading →