workaday life

Follow-up on the live-action Beauty and the Beast thing.

Out of curiosity, I’ve been listening to the soundtrack for the movie on YouTube.

Oh, my God, you guys.

It’s so bad.

The actual production of the music is all well and good, but the writing… They’re using most of the lyrics and most of the script from the original movie, but every so often, they pepper in all these little changes in the words, just because they can, and it, like, actively damages the point.

This is going to be really nitpicky, but fuck it. I will pick some nits.

Here’s an example, a small conversation that happens within the song “Belle.”

Original version:

DUDE:
Good morning, Belle!

BELLE:
Good morning, monsieur.

DUDE:
Where you off to?

BELLE:
The bookshop. I just finished the most wonderful story about a beanstalk and an ogre and–

DUDE:
Uh, that’s nice. [to his wife, off-screen:] Marie! The baguettes! Hurry up!

Live-action version:

DUDE:
Good morning, Belle!

BELLE:
Good morning, Monsieur Jean. Have you lost something again?

DUDE:
Well, I believe I have. Problem is, I can’t remember what. Oh, well. I’m sure it’ll come to me. Where are you off to?

BELLE:
To return this book to Pere Robert. It’s about two lovers in fair Verona.

DUDE:
…Sounds boring.

This is… Ugh, there are just so many kind of insignificant but also really, really fucking obnoxious changes happening here.

Like, in the original version, Belle actually has an opinion about the book she read. She’s invested, and she jumps at the chance to talk about it.

In the live-action version, there’s literally no passion. Just, factually: “It’s about two lovers in fair Verona.” Well, thank you, SparkNotes.

Meanwhile, in the original version, Belle’s getting so worked up, but the guy just cuts her off right there because he doesn’t really care. He was just being polite. He doesn’t actually have time for her, and he truly doesn’t care to make any. He’s busy minding his bakery, all caught up in his “provincial life.”

You know, the thing Belle wants to avoid? The kind of thoughtless, shallow, workaday life she dreads the thought of having?

Because she wants adventure and whimsy and bigger, more dramatic things than just going to work or keeping house every day?

The…theme this song exists to express?

Demonstrating that concept is the entire reason this song and this exchange exist in the movie, but, somehow, the remake doesn’t seem to get that.

Instead of just being an average guy hard at work, an example of the “ordinary” person Belle doesn’t want to be, the kind of person who doesn’t have time for books or fantasy or fun conversations, he’s…some kooky whimsical dude aimlessly wandering through town for reasons he can’t remember.

That’s, like… Kind of the opposite.

Instead of being caught up in the needs of his work, he just…randomly thinks Romeo and Juliet sounds boring. Why? What’s the point?

So, then we actually get to the bookshop.

Original:

BOOK GUY:
Ah, Belle!

BELLE:
Good morning! I’ve come to return the book I borrowed.

BOOK GUY:
Finished already?

BELLE:
Oh, I couldn’t put it down! Have you got anything new?

BOOK GUY:
[laughs] Not since yesterday!

BELLE:
That’s alright! I’ll borrow…this one.

BOOK GUY:
That one? But you’ve read it twice!

BELLE:
Well, it’s my favorite! Far-off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, a prince in disguise…

BOOK GUY:
[laughs] If you like it all that much, it’s yours!

Live-action:

BOOK GUY:
Ah, if it isn’t the only bookworm in town! So, where did you run off to this week?

BELLE:
Two cities in northern Italy. I didn’t want to come back. Have you got any new places to go?

BOOK GUY:
I’m afraid not. But you may reread any of the other ones that you’d like.

BELLE:
Your library makes our small corner of the world feel big.

BOOK GUY:
Bon voyage.

Number one, intensely tortured metaphor.

Number two, you know, in the original, the book guy didn’t have anything “new” because the last time she came in was yesterday. It illustrates how borderline obsessed she is, how much she depends on this place and the books.

But the remake doesn’t mention that. In the remake, he just randomly doesn’t happen to have anything new. Just…in general.

Number three, I love how the cartoon made for tiny little children operates with more subtlety than the teen-y live-action remake. In the original, she talks about what she likes from that specific book, and the viewer naturally picks up the impression of why these books are so important to her. In the remake, Emma Watson’s just fucking narrating the subtext to the audience.

And then we get to Gaston’s introduction.

Original:

GASTON:
She’s the one! The lucky girl I’m going to marry! The most beautiful girl in town! That makes her the best! And don’t I deserve the best?

Live-action:

GASTON:
Belle is the most beautiful girl in the village! That makes her the best.

LE FOU:
But she’s so…well read. And you’re so…athletically inclined.

GASTON:
Yes. But ever since the war, I’ve felt like I’ve been missing something.

…What?

What?

What!?

Why is this here?

The original is so clear-cut. He thinks of women like objects and feels like he’s naturally entitled, by virtue of his ~stunning manliness~, to the prettiest one.

In the remake… He’s a veteran?

He’s a veteran. Of a war. Readjusting to life at home. Pursuing Belle. Because he thinks she’ll make him feel complete again.

What the fuck am I listening to?

I mean, you know they’re not even going to commit to this. You know this is not going to be, like, an actual new take on the character. This is not going to be a totally reimagined Gaston. This line is just here. Because…why?

Because someone sitting in a boardroom somewhere said, “Gaston needs a more sympathetic motivation. Sympathetic motivations sell toys”?

Because they’re hoping for a gritty Gaston war prequel somewhere down the line?

Because the writers are just really, really, really bad at their jobs?

- Mod A.

August 22nd - On a grey, grim morning in a dreadful hurry having been called in to work early, I stopped for a quick breather in Kings Hill and noted the twin sisters were looking good over in Wednesbury.

I’m so used to living workaday life in the shadow of this beautiful urban hill that I don’t pay attention to it enough. It’s gorgeous, and deserves more credit than it gets.

Green, with two stunning churches side by side, Church of England and Catholic, the view across the rooftops hasn’t changed much here in over a century.

Steady, slowly changing with the seasons, but essentially changeless. Always watching life below.

Oh how I love the Black Country.

In the midst of a culture that is rationally organized for a vocational workaday life, there is hardly any room for the cultivation of acosmic brotherliness, unless it is among strata who are economically carefree. Under the technical and social conditions of rational culture, an imitation of the life of Buddha, Jesus, or Francis seems condemned to failure for purely external reasons.
—  Max Weber - Essays in Sociolgy
A disruption of the circadian cycle—the metabolic and glandular rhythms that are central to our workaday life—seems to be involved in many, if not most, cases of depression; this is why brutal insomnia so often occurs and is most likely why each day’s pattern of distress exhibits fairly predictable alternating periods of intensity and relief.
—  ― William Styron