Here’s a list of all the books and writing references in Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Last Week, Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast arrived in cinemas. While most of the world saw the movie release on March 17, Australia was one week behind with a March 23 release date. Regardless, the movie celebrates reading and books through avid-reader, and protagonist Belle. This post is a comprehensive list of the books and writing referenced in the new, live action film.

Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare – 1623 folio

In the inital opening song, Belle tells a surprised gentleman about a book she just finished reading. The red and gold volume she carries is about “two lovers in fair Verona”. This may be a small anachronism, however,  Belle is living at some point in the early 1700’s, and as a result, history may be on the side of the producers. A folio version of the Shakespeare play was available from around 1623 onward.

A Crystal Forest – William Sharp – 1913

While definitely an anachronism, the poem Belle selects to describe the ice and snow cloaking Beast’s garden could is definitely evocative and descriptive. William Sharp published a book of poems in 1913 that contained A Crystal Forest. Belle does not complete the poem, but The last line of the poem from where Belle leaves the reading ties up the sense of winter cold:

Each branch, each twig, each blade of
grass.

Seems clad miraculously with glass :

Above the ice-bound streamlet bends
Each frozen fern with crystal ends

Vulgate Cycle – Prose Lancelot – 1210 – 1230

Belle and the Beast share a connection over reading and stories. The Beast slowly warms to the idea of connection with another person, after long-term isolation from the world at the hands of the enchantment. As part of this process of reconnecting, he finds the story of Lancelot and Guinevere. This version is likely a collection of stories from a legendary text called the Vulgate Cycle. This cycle consists of five volumes telling the story of King Arthur and Camelot. Lancelot and Guinevere’s romance takes place in one of these volumes. The Prose Lancelot collects several of the five together. Beast most likely reads from the collect edition Prose Lancelot.

Another interesting point – The Vulgate Cycle contains the stories of Merlin, King Arthur, and the sword Excalibur. These stories form the basis of another Disney film The Sword in the Stone.

Sleeping Beauty – 1697

This one is not explicitly stated. While no confirmation that Sleeping Beauty features as Belle’s favourite book, there are some hints that Belle is describing Sleeping Beauty when she sings “here’s where she meets prince charming…”. Reddit user comatoseduck identified some evidence for this theory:

Far off places: … a different kingdom.
Daring Sword Fights: Prince Phillip fights Maleficent (who had turned into a dragon) with a sword.
Magic Spells: Maleficent, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather all do magic in the movie.
A Prince in Disguise: When Aurora meets Phillip, she doesn’t know he’s a prince.

Four resources where useful for gathering this information:

  1. The Genius.com article on Romeo and Juliet.
  2. The TimelessMyths.com article on The Vulgate Cycle.
  3. The Internet Archive copy of Poems, by William Sharp.
  4. The Fan Theories sub-Reddit page.

This post was written by Joe at The Wallflyer. You can find more posts here at The Wallflyer, and you can follow me on Twitter for more updates.

The first Handmaid’s Tale trailer quotes The Book of Matthew

The first trailer for Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale contains one verse from the book of Matthew, and this post is a short summary of the trailer, and an interpretation of the scene in which the verse appears. You can watch the trailer on the Hulu Youtube Channel.

The trailer for Hulu’s series – based on the book by Margaret Atwood – depicts a slow attack on women’s rights, culminating in hypocrisy, captivity, and violence:

  1. A regime run by white men takes control.
  2. Women, regardless of their racial backgrounds, are no longer permitted to hold jobs or property.
  3. Indoctrination centres coerce and control the captive women.
  4. They become handmaids to powerful, white men, bearing their children. Or they work in toxic conditions as slaves, presumably without medical support

It is an abhorrent future, but one that is based on facts. Chief Culture Writer, and editorial board member of The Guardian, Charlotte Higgins (2016) discussed this question with Margaret Atwood:

Higgins: Are we in Gilead – the America of The Handmaid’s Tale?
Atwood: “Close, yes. For sure.”
And everything in it [The Handmaid’s Tale], she says, was based on things that had actually happened.

One final scene at the end of the trailer ends with a verse and violence.

A woman reads a Bible verse like as slogan – it is Matthew 5:5. Offred then reads a counter argument from later in the same section – Matthew 5:10.

This particular section in The Book of Matthew is named The Beatitudes. These statements can be interpreted as support for those persecuted by an unethical authority. This  fits the scene show in the trailer.

I interpret this scene, of why the verse was included, as a biting message about hypocrisy. The woman holding the grey rod wears a placid mask. Her words are calmly placated to the point of being patronising.

Offred shows the hypocritical act of reading a Bible verse like a slogan by quoting the rest of the Bible verse in more detail. Offred is punished, and the trailer cuts to black. I was left with a strong sense of Offred’s ongoing defiance in the face of overwhelming odds.

And you can read the full interview with Margaret Atwood on The Guardian website.

The Handmaid’s Tale arrives on Hulu on April 26.

Netflix’s Iron Fist scheduled only limited time for martial arts choreography

In an interview with the Telegraph journalist Tristram Fane Saunders, Iron Fist actor Finn Jones described the limited time that the Netflix and Marvel Studios production team set aside to practice the martial arts choreography required:

[H]e [Finn Jones] only had three weeks to train before filming. “Unfortunately, with the filming schedule, I wasn’t given as much time as I would have liked to continue the training.” Shooting for 12 or 14 hours a day took its toll. “I was learning those fight scenes just 15 minutes before we shot them, because that was the schedule… It would be 2am, 3am, I’d just done a long day of work, and usually the stunt department would come up and say ‘Hey, right, we’ve got this huge 30 person fight and you’ve got to learn it right now.’ So I was learning it on the spot, within 15-20 minutes, and then shooting it. That was the reality for six months.”

This sort of tight schedule does not leave room for the show, ostensibly about the best martial artist in the Marvel Universe, to even attempt to match the standard of martial arts scenes set by some of the best martial arts films created and screened in the past decade. Namely, The Raid and its sequel The Raid 2. These are two intense films.

Comparing the martial arts scene planning in Iron Fist to the successful Raid films directed by Gareth Evans shows a road not taken by Netflix and Marvel Studios.

It is likely that casting actors with diverse backgrounds, and training in martial arts and combat practices, would have contributed to a better film experience overall. At the very least, it would have addressed the historical problems of race and bias associated with Iron Fist. In an interview with Fred Topel at Crave Oline (2014) Evans described the process of creating a martial arts fight scene:

Note: Silat is a style of Indonesian martial arts.

I think a lot of times it comes down to what the fighter’s background is. For Iko and Cecep [Arif Rahman] when they fight, obviously we use more pure Silat. Even then, different styles of Silat inside that fight. When it comes to Iko fighting in the prison riot against 15-20 people, those guys all come from different martial arts backgrounds. Once we figure out what their background is, we try to design their fighting skill to be relevant to what they study.

Had Marvel Studios and Netflix invested time and planning into casting actors experienced in martial artist, they could have produced scenes closer to the current standard of martial arts film – examples like The Raid and it’s sequel. Considering the high standard of direction and scene construction in other Marvel Studios work, this comes as a surprise.

You can read the complete interview with Gareth Evans at Crave Online

The Telegraph interview with Jones, despite the inflammatory title, offers a fair summary of the facts surrounding Marvel Studio’s and Netflix’s Iron Fist.

Power Ranger’s Original Villain Rode a Flying Bicycle

Bandora-bike-setai-wiki-copyright-toei-saban

I wanted to share a little know fact about the villain of Kyouryu Sentai Zyuranger, the witch Bandora. She travels by riding a flying bicycle. Unless I am mistaken, Bandora’s airborne cycling did not appear in the Saban recycling of Zyuranger footage into Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in the early seasons of the show.

Comic and film reviewer Linkara mentioned a parallel to The Wizard of Oz during the History of Power Rangers video series. I think this detail adds some more evidence to that argument. Actor Margaret Hamilton rode a bicycle when playing Almira Gultch – the real world mirror of the Wicked Witch of the West during the first act of the 1939 film.

Linkara’s History of Power Rangers is available to view on Linkara’s website Atop the Fourth Wall.

What I learned watching the Twitch Power Rangers stream

Streaming website Twitch started streaming every single season of Saban’s Power Rangers, and I decided to watch the stream to get a sense of how the fans of Power Rangers reacted to the stream. This post is a short report on what I noticed. The place I arrived at in the stream specifically focused on the Power Rangers Turbo series. I was on the lookout for how long-term fans of the series reacted to the stream.

The younger, Blue Ranger Justin is not popular, inciting a lot of negative comments in the chat

At 12 years of age, the character was the youngest Ranger to join a team. It is possible that in 1997, to ensure the show continued to attract a fanbase, Saban Entertainment included Justin to link directly to the target age demographic. Throughout the stream, though, whenever Justin instigated a plot point, was the focus of a scene, or had a comment to share, the twitch stream reacted with demands that the actor stop talking (which is a overtly kind way to talk about exactly what was said in the Twitch chat).

The original Might Morphin Power Rangers were sorely missed by many in the chat

Power Rangers inherits the generational aspects of the show from which it recruited footage. In Japan, the Super Sentai are generational. They constantly change their cast. Power Rangers shares this trait, recycling and recruiting footage from the Super Sentai series. The direct consequence of this? Every group of fans have their own team that they look back to with nostalgia. It is no surprise that the original and most well know team were sorely missed in the stream chat. A comment that was copied and re-posted in the chat commiserated over the loss of the original cast of characters from the first Might Morphin Power Rangers. They really did miss them:
Power-rangers-twitch-stream-wf.png

Despite the variety of monsters, nobody talks about the villains in detail

The Power Rangers follows a pattern, particularly in the early series. The villain creates a new monster, and sends it after the Power Rangers. The fight escalates into what a weekly Robot versus Kaiju (Giant Monster) fight. The weekly monsters and the arch villains did not attract many mentions in the chat. The formulaic monster fights can make villains unremarkable, and nonthreatening. We have a parade of forgettable antagonists.

Everyone sings, or types, the theme song lyrics

Without its repeated rock anthems, Power Rangers would have had far less impact. Since 1993, the Power Rangers theme (with the lyrics “Go Go Power Rangerrrrs!”) appears instantly recognisable. Even in the later series, such as Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, the chat still typed along to the theme songs. They are an important touchstone to Power Rangers fans.

If you watched the stream, what moments stood out as important to you? The Twitch Power Rangers stream can be found on the Twitch Presents channel. The stream is planned to run from March 15 through March 30.

Boomerang trivia from Breath of the Wild

Since I shared one of Tristan Cooper’s Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild discoveries this week, I thought I would share one more. This trivia relates to the Boomerang item. It’s worth watching the animated gif in the embedded tweet to see the Stal-Lizalfos arm flying.

Screenwriting advice that The Batman script rumour made clear – scripts need good endings.

Some rumours about the film, The Batman, from Warner Bros. and DC entertainment turned up online today in a Forbes article by writer and screenwriter Mark Hughes. The essence of the rumour can be distilled to this: the script for The Batman will be discarded and rewritten. The rumour was later thrown out as completely false. Regardless, the grain of information existing behind all this is screenwriting remains important. This post is a short summary of screenwriting advice from John August and Craig Mazin, from an article by screenwriter Christoper Boone.

Screenwriting is a priority to Super-hero films. The script needs to condense backstory, super abilities, and a supporting cast. Cement these features with witty dialog, and the script might work out. At least, that is how the process looks from the outside.

One of the key reasons to have a script is to show a character moving from one place in their life to (here’s hoping) a better place.

Following the advice of Screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin of the Scriptnotes podcast (reported by Christoper Boone at nofilmschool.com), screenplays must build to a solid ending.

If you think about any movie that you see in the theater, hopefully you’re enjoying how it starts, hopefully you’re enjoying how the ride goes along, but your real impression of the movie was how it ended. – John August, Scriptnotes podcast.

Other Screenwriting advice the pair spoke on:

  • Characters must achieve something important by the end of the film that they wanted, or were not aware that they needed.
  • Endings capture something about the beginning of the film – the structures reflect each other.
  • Reviewing, and re-editing the last pages of the script are just as important as making sure the opening grabs the audience.

You can read the report on the podcast at nofilmschool.com. Mark Hugh’s article is available at Forbes.com.