beautyandthebeast_relevant beautyandthebeast_relevant
Ideas/Commentary

Disney’s Animated ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is Irrelevant, Suggests Film Mag

The latest cover of the Total Film is totally something:

"Total Film" cover.

According to the British film publication, Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, directed by Bill Condon, is “darker, smarter…relevant.”

Darker and smarter are comparative adjectives, so the magazine is clearly comparing the new film to its 1991 Oscar-nominated-for-best-picture animation counterpart. But when it comes to relevancy, they chose not to use a comparative form, such as more relevant. It’s plainly and simply…relevant.

There’s a clear implication to that headline, and it’s a bold opinion to express on the cover of a film magazine. To be expected, it’s been met by some equally bold online reactions to the magazine itself:

So, just to recap, according to Total Film:

Relevant
Beauty and the Beast
Irrelevant
Beauty and the Beast
  • When I hear the term “relevant” when it comes to film critique, I’ve always assumed that it means “relevant to the era.” That is, the film does something that is reflective or commentates on what is currently going on in the society that it is made in. So, in my interpretation of the usage…I’m not sure how Disney’s new “Beauty and the Beast” is any more relevant than their original animated take on the story, or how either can be seen as relevant in general. I feel like I’m missing something, so I guess I’ll wait on the article to make the rounds.

    • jfielding

      100% agree. Amid can be a bit (over)reactionary, probably to get clicks… By saying ‘relevant’ rather than ‘more relevant’ it’s actually saying the opposite of what Amid is positing. I, for one, think the remake is totally not relevant and unnecessary, along with all the other live action remakes of the classic animated films. It seems by that headline that they are just trying to justify to people that it is indeed relevant and not just a cash grab, leaning on adults and parents nostalgia for their beloved childhood movies

    • Netko

      Beauty and the Beast is considered to be among the best Disney movies, everyone considers it a classic and it was the first animated movie to earn a Best Picture nomination. If that’s not relevant I don’t know what is.
      This movie is not even out yet, but when it does come out, I really doubt it’ll come even close to the impact the original had. It’ll make loads of money, but people are going to watch it because they liked the original and then forget about it because it’s nothing new.

  • Marc Hendry

    the thing about all these remakes and reboots is that they come and go in 2 weeks without any cultural impact at all, because they’re not new ideas. So I don’t think they’re relevant at all.
    (I don’t mean to diss a film that the staff probably worked hard on and cared about, but at the same time, it must not be very creatively satisfying)

    • Capital_7

      That is very, very true. Excellent point.

  • Elsi Pote

    How one thing that gives birth to another considered irrelevant?

    Welcome to the era where newspeak is king.

  • Matthew

    Not-Cogsworth now looks like a not-too-distant cousin of Tik-Tok from RETURN TO OZ.

  • Memorian

    I wouldn’t go as far as to say Total Film is suggesting that the original animated film is somehow irrelevant, that feels like a stretch. What I took from it is that somehow the film is going to have a relevant message for the time we live in at the moment. Maybe this film might touch on things MORE relevant and important to women at the moment is what I’m thinking.

  • Roberto González

    Maybe the new one is more feminist? I guess it’s something like that.

  • Matthew

    There was nothing misogynistic about the original, but people talk about it like it was SHOWGIRLS or something. When it was a new release, lots of people were trumpeting its feminist credentials relative not only to past Disney female protagonists, but to the then-more recent ones (this means you, Ariel). Now, they’re acting like they’re all retrograde trash and this is a correction of what was already a correction to begin with.

  • Lately?!?!

  • I think in this situation, it’s really important to read the actual article to understand their context. Relevant compared to the irrelevant animated film VS relevant in response to many people’s ‘why do we need this/should we care about a remake’ feelings? It’s important to see what they say and how they talk about the original animated film, and how they treat it.

  • Chelsea Traynor

    To the commenters: how was the old Belle not feminist? You know how great it was to be a smart brunette girl who loved books and watch an animated movie about a smart brunette girl who loved books? Intelligence and a willingness to stand up to (and up for) others were Belle’s defining characteristics. That shaped me as a kid. That had a real, tangible effect on me during a key stage of development. In fact I hope everyone is able to find a story or a character that has that kind of effect on them; that tells them “yeah, there are people like you out there.”

    And to Total Film: I am seriously struggling to see how a musical in which the lead actors can’t sing- moreover, a live-action movie in which CGI cutlery make up half the cast- can possibly be relevant at all in any era.

    • Matthew

      Angela Lansbury was quoted as saying, “I don’t know why they’re doing it.” Of course, before the 1991 Disney film was a 1980s CBS-TV series and the 1946 Jean Cocteau film. This new Beast looks more like Vincent the 1980s TV beast.

      And what I’ve seen is also proof of how some things that look charming and exciting with traditional animation techniques can look creepy and uncanny valley-ish in CGI. There is such a thing as too much detail, and when images start to look more “lifelike” than life itself, you’ve reached that point.

  • Georgie’s Arm

    Ah, so the massive amount of pitch correction on Emma Watson’s singing was done to make the movie relevant. Gotcha.

  • Johnny Marques

    I can’t really judge the article without reading it first, but I remember a similar situation with the Jungle Book, where some publications held it as more “important” because it happened to be in live-action with “real” people. I guess the same people failed to notice most characters in the new Jungle Book were animated using CGI.

  • Too Many Cooks

    Maybe there was a character limit?

  • jawsnnn

    Agreed. The writer himself says that the magazine does NOT use a comparative adjective I.e. there is no implication that the original was less relevant and then jumps to the conclusion that the original is being called irrelevant because it’s animated.
    I have heard of leaps… This is some teleporting nonsense.

  • It is bullshit. I get it that it’s a marketing campaign, and whenever something is seen as “cool”, “relevant”, etc, it only comes off as something that’s more trendy than anything.

  • Kyle Nau

    I’d hesitate to give AF what a *print* magazine has to say about anything, particularly on the subject of relevance.