march 8th, 2014
In which I Learn of a Direct-to-Video Movie within the Beauty and the Beast'iverse and Great Excitement Ensues Forthwith — In which Further Research as to the Plot Specifics of Film Causes Greater Excitement — Such Details Revealed Here — In which Attempts to Purchase Film at a Potentially Outrageous Discount from the Electronic Bay are Thwarted by the Heretofore Unknown Radically Inflated Market for It — Speculation as to the Depth and Variety of Such Hypervalued Cultural Currencies
Sometimes when I have trouble falling asleep or even when I don't, the bedtime story I tell myself is a re'imagined Disney film with my voice in one of the roles. My favorite is Beauty and the Beast. At first I focused on the heroine role, as usual, but later the re-telling focused on the Beast.
Image courtesy DarrilAsylum.
The beginning sticks pretty closely to the first third of the original movie. But then at the part when Belle attempts a daring escape and the Beast saves her from the wolves, it diverges. The Beast has a crisis of conscience. “What am I doing?” he says to Belle. “I'm so sorry. This is so fucked up. At dawn I'll call the carriage, it'll take you home.”
And Belle is chill. “Hey it's cool, also thanks for saving my life, also why were you being so aggro and paranoid?”
And the Beast is like, “it's been a long time since I've interacted with people. All the people I know are objects.” [cut to Lumiere and Cogsworth sharing a LOOK] And he says, “best I can explain it, there was a stranger in the house, and I was filled with a primal need to defend my territory.”
And Belle is like, “so what's the deal here with the living objects and, uh, you* ... ?” And then in my re-imagining, one of the explicit terms of the curse is that none of the enchanteds at the castle can straight out reveal to an outsider what happened to them, nor what would break the curse. Whenever they try, they go into a brief, painless-but-annoying catatonia, like DeNiro in Sleepers.
*from this conversation forward she gets really awkward around calling him a beast
This awakens a sleuthing side of Belle. “I love riddles!” she says. So then she's hanging out at the castle all the time, poking around in the library, talk-talk-talking with the Beast, and she slowly pieces the mystery together right in sync with the two of them falling in love but without the Stockholm Syndrome angle that makes the original Beauty and the Beast skeevy.
Then last fall, I found out that there's a direct-to-video Beauty and the Beast movie that takes place during Belle's winter at the castle: Beauty and the Beast: An Enchanted Christmas. I don't like Christmas, but listen to the plot of this movie! An enchanted organ at the castle is upset about the love potential between the Beast and Belle because he doesn't want the curse broken, because he likes being an organ, I assume because he can create perfect music. No gap between thought and sound. So he's actively trying to stop their love. Ooh! Such a fresh take!
Wait. You haven't heard the best part. The best part is: the organ is voiced by: TIM CURRY.
A couple months ago my friend Jesse, probably the most literate man I know, brought up that he'd been thinking about Beauty and the Beast and I was like omg, I think about Beauty and the Beast all the time, want to watch the direct-to-video Christmas movie? And he was like omg, yes of course.
Now the tricky part: obtaining this movie. Sweet Vlad and many other excellent friends versed in the dark web could certainly find me a free version of it, but this project seemed worthy of tracking down a physical copy on/of my own. Plus, it's prolly like $2 + $2 shipping on eBay, right?
Wrong. The market for this film is outta controh. Check out the Buy It Now price for this one, on Blu-Ray: $69.95. I can get a Criterion Collection double-disk set of Paris, Texas for $23 on eBay. That's what I paid for the complete Jane Campion transcendent miniseries Top of the Lake. And the original movie runs cheap. But this one? Even off-season, Christmas long past? Sellers' market. Name your price, sellers.
So what is it about Beauty and the Beast: An Enchanted Christmas? Is it a collectibles market causing a Disney DVD bubble? Is it that Jesse and I are not flukes, and the original movie resonates in an active, daily way with many people? All of us trawling eBay, searching for more?
And are there other steep markets that would surprise me? Beach Boys tapes. Certain crayons. Software. Ideas. I'm riffing now. Welcome to my riff track.
Also, I refuse to discard or sincerely examine an operating premise behind the surprise, which is that no direct-to-DVD Disney movie could possibly be worth $70. Even if there are only a dozen copies left in the world. That if the market bears such price, it's a perversity and abomination.