Friday, December 16, 2016

What We See

I have a friend who is very unhappy about Disney unleashing a live Beauty and the Beast on an unsuspecting public. Wait a moment. Not unsuspecting. Even if you had avoided all manner of print, video and skywriting media, you might have sensed it coming. It's one of those "big movies" that you can't avoid. It's an event. What surprises me, and I suspect that my friend's discontent springs from the same puzzlement, is how many times we can go to the well for one story, trope or image. It should be noted here that if anyone should be upset, it should be Jean Cocteau, who made his film version back in 1945. Since then there have been a dozen different film versions as well as a few plays, television shows and music videos featuring those star-crossed lovers.
Not that many when you consider the giant ape loose in civilization story, or even the super-intelligent apes who take over *surprise!* the planet. Frankenstein's monster has been portrayed by everyone from Bela Lugosi to Robert DeNiro. Lon Chaney Jr. has the distinction of playing the Monster, Wolf Man, Dracula and the Mummy, and none of those franchises show the strain of eighty years of rebooting. Thank you, Tom Cruse, and not just for keeping Mission:Impossible a thing for all these years.
Somewhere, there is a desperate screenwriter trying to get his movie made in a world filled with recurring themes. "It's a new take on the film version of the Honeymooners they did set in prehistoric times." With a little shove he might switch settings to a future with flying cars instead of those propelled by feet. Can we please have a new idea?
I know I'm personally responsible. I line up for whatever Star Trek or Wars shoveled in front of me and I confess to being just a little interested in seeing what Ben Affleck has to bring to the Batman franchise, but it's a little too easy. Like colorizing a couple of old episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show. I tuned in. I loved the show when it had just two colors, and my memories continue to linger in that format. The program was every bit as witty and charming as I recalled, but it made my brain hurt trying to backward convert the thing to black and white.
Maybe there are somethings for which I shall not up with put.

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