In case you have not heard the news, Disney is remaking a live-action version of the 1950 classic Cinderella. Chosen as the titular hero is Cuban actress Camila Cabelo. The kind fairy godmother will be played by Emmy-award winning actor Billy Porter. Porter is a gay black man who just loves to cross-dress which would make him what? A gay transvestite? Transgender? Something in the infinity sphere of the never-ending additions to the LGBT moniker?
The media loves the premise. Vanity Fair gushed over the announcement. The gay community and their countless publications simply had a collective orgasm over it squealing out that Porter “absolutely” deserves an Academy Award nomination… without even seeing the movie.
Cinderella is a great story to read to a kindergarten class. Personally, as Disney movies go, it was Beauty and the Beast that stands as the high watermark for Disney animated movies. Cinderella? Not so much. But Disney has a bad habit of taking animated classics and turning them into live-action movies. Worse yet, those live-action movies are littered with starring characters who are either “people of color” or gay. In this case, they achieved the triumvirate of wokeness- gay, black and transgender. It will be hard to top that in future endeavors.
Disney, like all of Hollywood, is involved in a woke makeover where women replace men, putting transgender people in roles and sprinkling the cast with people of color all in the name of diversity. The media loves it and applauds it. The more important audience- the movie-goer- maybe not so much.
In 2016, some woke producer in Hollywood decided it would be a good idea to remake Ghost Busters with an all-female cast replacing the iconic Bill Murray/Dan Aykroyd duo. It was so bad that Sony is estimated to have taken a $70 million loss on the debacle. Movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes was flooded with negative comments. And although Oceans 8, the all-female reboot of Oceans 11, itself a remake of a 1960’s movie, was not a financial loss, it received similar treatment on Rotten Tomatoes. One of the stars, Mindy Kaling, said that white men just “didn’t understand it.” What’s to understand?
Already in the pipeline are a black, female 007 and even Natalie Portman (who is clearly female) in a new twist in the Marvel universe- a female Thor. Of course, no one is saying that Cubans cannot have black, gay fairy godmothers, that women cannot fight ghosts in New York City, pull off a casino heist, be a super-spy, or throw a really heavy hammer and command lightning. But why should Hollywood take a classic and remake it to prove how woke they are?
Take the case of the in-the-pipeline live-action remake of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. If you recall, the star- Ariel- was a red-haired, blue-eyed mermaid. The animated movie was based on a story by Hans Christian Anderson, a Danish writer and very much white. Anderson describes Ariel as having skin that “is clear and delicate as a rose petal” and eyes “as blue as the deepest sea.” Remember also that Ariel’s grandfather is Poseidon, a Greek god. Taking a black actress, despite her singing or acting abilities, and casting her in this role is a case of, to use social justice parlance, cultural appropriation. Who will play Poseidon? Perhaps a gay Latino dwarf who is wheelchair-bound?
The British Film Institute has already codified diversity in movie productions. Films that fail to meet the established quotas cannot be considered for any award in Great Britain. That calls into question whether the very white Downton Abbey which was wildly popular on television and did very well at the box office could have even been made if these diversity rules were in effect at the time.
Forcing diversity down the throats of producers whether through media pressure or edicts is likely to make those producers choke. It is even more likely to make movie-goers choke. In the case of Cinderella, this is a children’s movie. Imagine a parent explaining to a child as they leave the theater why the fairy godmother was a black, cross-dressing gay man with a goatee.
Several years ago, a mathematician predicted that by the year 2025, all possible combinations of musical notes would be used up and songs after that point would either sound suspiciously like another previously-released song or be a remake of a previously released song (example: Weezer’s popular remake of Toto’s “Africa”). The same is happening with Hollywood. There is a lack of originality quite evident. They are masking their own lack of originality in a cloak of politically correct pandering.
The defenders of this genre of diversity remakes simply say, “If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.” This seems like perfectly valid advice. At one time, experts thought piracy would kill the movie industry. To this writer, it seems like they are doing a fine job of committing suicide.