More Disney Remakes

You all know about Russia’s plan to ban Disney‘s live-action version of Beauty and the Beast because it shows LeFou (played by Josh Gad) dancing with another male character.  Well, Russia backed down.  Instead, the film was slapped with an “adults-only” rating – like it was Last Tango in Paris!  I never thought I’d see the day when an NC-17 rating was given to any Disney film – other than Song of the South!

Hong Kong and Singapore had similar concerns.  But it was the Malaysian censors who demanded the scene be cut because in Malaysia, it’s illegal to engage in any homosexual activity – including dancing, apparently.  “The film has not been and will not be cut for Malaysia,” said Disney.  The Mouse prevailed and the film will debut on March 30th – with a PG-13 rating.  Since the announcement, various non-government organizations have filed complaints with the Malaysian government.  The first came from Abdul Rani Kulup Abdullah, the president of the Pertubuhan Martabat Jalinan Muhibbah.  I’m not exactly sure what he said – I’m not exactly sure I typed his (or the group’s) name right!  But, as I always say, you’re not a success until someone is protesting you.

Remember the days when the release of a new Disney feature was a big deal?  There was such excitement when The Little Mermaid came out in 1989, ushering in a new era of animation.  Then we had to wait two years until Beauty and the Beast.  Sure, we had those lesser films like Oliver & Company and The Rescuers – far be it from me to disparage the work of Eva Gabor.  But anticipation was key.  So why is the company hell-bent on flooding the market with live-action versions of every successful animated feature?  OK, I enjoyed seeing Angelina as Maleficent, but did we need The Jungle Book?  Or Alice in Wonderland?  Now there’s this Beauty and the Beast which neither I nor Angela Lansbury thinks was necessary.  And there’s more in the works.  Call me crazy, but I don’t want to see anyone shooting a live deer for Bambi.  If I want to watch little people dancing and singing, I’ll turn on TLC instead of a new Snow White.  There’s a song-free Mulan in the works, and a casting call for “Middle Eastern types” went out for a new Aladdin (to be directed by Guy Ritchie).  There’s a new Lion King which will, inexplicably, star James Earl Jones again as Mufasa.  Frankly, I think Disney crossed a line with the upcoming live-action Dumbo.  Sure, Colin Farrell isn’t the picture of physical fitness – but he’s no elephant!

Lindsay Lohan is angling to star as the live-action Little Mermaid, and composer Alan Menken has his eye on an ideal villainess.  “I’ve wanted Harvey Fierstein to play Ursula.  I would kill for that!”  He’s not alone.  Fans have deluged Harvey with artist’s renderings of Fierstein in fish regalia.  “Oh, Menken, what have you started?  Ha!!!!”

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