Author Topic: Nitpicking  (Read 576 times)

DarkeningHumour

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Nitpicking
« on: March 29, 2017, 03:27:05 AM »
Sometimes there are a few details that are just a bit off about a movie. They do not necessarily require being mentioned in a review because they're so minor and unimportant to the plot, but they still bother you, and you want to complain about them somewhere. Or maybe not complain, but just see if anyone else noticed it, or check if you were right about what you saw. Continuity problems, anachronisms, logical inconsistencies, wardrobe malfunctions, hair catastrophes, nonsense accents...Fire away.
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DarkeningHumour

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Re: Nitpicking
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2017, 03:29:52 AM »
So, the thing that made me start this thread was The Beauty in the Beast. I am all for inclusion and for casting black people in movies and wagging the finger at #Oscarssowhite and all that. Can we just agree however, that if you place your movie in XVIIIth century France, fairy tale or not, there is no need to include a whole bunch of black actors? It doesn't ruin the movie, but it's nonsensical and pointless and anachronistic.
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MartinTeller

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Re: Nitpicking
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2017, 10:06:39 AM »
So, the thing that made me start this thread was The Beauty in the Beast. I am all for inclusion and for casting black people in movies and wagging the finger at #Oscarssowhite and all that. Can we just agree however, that if you place your movie in XVIIIth century France, fairy tale or not, there is no need to include a whole bunch of black actors? It doesn't ruin the movie, but it's nonsensical and pointless and anachronistic.

Highlighted the part I find contentious. In a fantasy story -- especially one whose primary intended audience is children -- I see no compelling reason to sacrifice inclusion for historical accuracy. Instead of getting worked up about anachronisms, think about what it's like to be a child of color dealing with a media that doesn't much care about representing you.

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« Last Edit: March 29, 2017, 10:09:13 AM by MartinTeller »

DarkeningHumour

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Re: Nitpicking
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2017, 10:20:10 AM »
He was a Parisian elite living 50 years later. And if the movie does not want to be historically anchored, why does it go to pains to locate itself in France? Animated movie aside, you could place it anywhere in Europe or even in some fantasy land, nothing in the plot obligates you to specify geography and time. And yet, it does choose to be time and place specific, so I expect coherence from the studio.

And I don't accept the child of colour argument. Some movies have no minorities in them because there just aren't minorities in those places. Some movies only have minorities because they take place in minority-rich places. If a black kid wants to see a Disney movie with black protagonists, they can put on Princess and the Frog. You can argue that Disney has not done a great job at picking stories that allowed great racial diversity but there is no obligation for any one story to be diverse.

Would you place a couple of Native Americans in the live action Aladdin I am sure they'll make soon enough? Or a Japanese family in Hercules?
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MartinTeller

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Re: Nitpicking
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2017, 10:29:25 AM »
He was a Parisian elite living 50 years later. And if the movie does not want to be historically anchored, why does it go to pains to locate itself in France? Animated movie aside, you could place it anywhere in Europe or even in some fantasy land, nothing in the plot obligates you to specify geography and time. And yet, it does choose to be time and place specific, so I expect coherence from the studio.

The story comes from an 18th-century French fairy tale, that's why. Just like with animated movie did and just like the Cocteau film did.

And I don't accept the child of colour argument. Some movies have no minorities in them because there just aren't minorities in those places. Some movies only have minorities because they take place in minority-rich places. If a black kid wants to see a Disney movie with black protagonists, they can put on Princess and the Frog. You can argue that Disney has not done a great job at picking stories that allowed great racial diversity but there is no obligation for any one story to be diverse.

There is also no obligation to be historically accurate. None at all. I've got a big shocker for you: there also weren't BEASTS in 18th century France. Or singing teacups and shit.

Would you place a couple of Native Americans in the live action Aladdin I am sure they'll make soon enough? Or a Japanese family in Hercules?

Sure, why not? I think that would be nice. Why should I care? What harm does it do?

DarkeningHumour

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Re: Nitpicking
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2017, 10:39:59 AM »
If we are looking at ways things do harm, what about the French kids who will get a distorted idea of their country's history when they see black people mingling with villagers circa 1750? Or the insult to the memories of the French slaves who were only freed after the Revolution who this movie is completely disregarding? I mean, imagine a children's movie in 1830 Luisiana with black characters that did not even acknowledge the problem of racism. And to come back to my Hercules example, people have enough misconceptions about Greek mythology as it is, and you would further bastardise the culture to pander to segments of the American audience?
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MartinTeller

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Re: Nitpicking
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2017, 10:48:45 AM »
Disney movies aren't the place to learn history lessons. Why aren't you worried about France's impressionable children getting a distorted idea of how many beasts were walking around?

Heaven forbid anyone have a misconception about Greek mythology. That's obviously far more important than helping children feel included and represented.

I do think you have a reasonable point about potential whitewashing of slavery, but again, I think lessons about that could, and should, come from other sources. Let black people have a few minutes in a goddamn fantasy movie, for heaven's sake. Isn't that more important than your uptight nerddom?

PeacefulAnarchy

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Re: Nitpicking
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2017, 10:50:22 AM »
The answer to those problems is to not set children's movies in those eras and places. What indication is there that Beauty and the Beast takes place in 1750 and not 1850, anyway? Magical stuff aside (since that's the fundamental premise of the movie), is the rest of the movie really so accurate to 18th century France that this is the one thing wrong with the portrayal. I never felt the animated movie cared much about the setting beyond people names and inspiration for the costumes. This just seems like a really weird complaint. I haven't seen the movie so maybe there's something specific about the portrayal that makes your complaint more understandable in context, but I can't say the simple existence of black characters in Beauty and the Beast would bother me at all.

Junior

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Re: Nitpicking
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2017, 10:56:42 AM »
I was taken out of the movie a little bit, at least at first, because of that element. But then I remembered that I was in a movie theater in 2017 and everything was fine. Movies are not about the times they are set in, they are about the times they are made in.

The film does make more of an effort than the animated version to set this in a specific time, but that doesn't change what I mentioned above. Movies are not and have never been historically accurate. Last year The VVitch got a lot of heat for how far it went to recreate the time it was set in. But the film was still influenced by its being created in 2015. That's just what happens.

Further, Disney was doing it for a very specific reason. We can talk about the degree of cynicism we should be seeing the black character inclusions with, but it's not like they screwed up and thought they were being accurate with the inclusion (even though as Martin indicates, we should probably also investigate the assumption that there wouldn't be any black people at this place and time).
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Re: Nitpicking
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2017, 11:04:23 AM »
I completely stand by Martin in this argument.
"Time is the speed at which the past decays."