Black is King (Disney Plus) Movie Review & Comments

xxGBHxx

Well-known Member
Sorry, I wasn't referring to you or your comments about the score. But I do believe some of the other comments on this thread border on sexism and racism (and the same is true of the threads on many of Kumari's reviews), and I don't believe that's a coincidence nor do I think it's acceptable.

However, I do find it amusing that people are getting so worked about something they have no intention of watching.
I commented on the JoJo Rabbit review that I felt that some films have generally been getting a higher rating because of the film subject and not on the subjective quality of the film.

I'll caveat this with the fact I'm not a fan of Beyonce or for that matter a hater. That said this film is not for me. I don't understand its message or it's value. You have some good visuals in isolation (sharp filming, lots of colour, sharp lines) and then you have images of African tribes, allegorical babies in baskets, "rap" kids miming, pregnant women, faux weddings and weird dream like sequences. It's all over the place. Visually each "song" is self contained but for me as a whole piece it was no different to watching MTV with nondescript, forgettable music and unconnected videos playing back to back. I'd liken it to a pretty standard music video formula with bigger budgets and a better camera crew. Perhaps I also missed the narrative thread but Pink Floyd The Wall (mentioned above) it certainly wasn't.

Being old, white, privileged and male (a full deck you might say) I'm not the audience this is aimed at and Kumari clearly is. It doesn't speak to me about a celebration of being black or of black heritage. It screams to me of an extremely privileged, over pampered pop stars' vanity project that is all style over substance. For example, I understand many of the costumes are designed by a number of the leading (white) designers. Surely if you're trying to "do something" for the black communities and celebrate what being black is there are countless designers of non-white origin that would dearly love the exposure and support. Why add to the white dominance problem when you have a clear opportunity to do something different and make point? Adding to that many of the images highlight the opulence and decadence of a minute privileged few. In no way does it scream to me "this is what you can aspire to" instead the message I get is lacking sincerity. It smacks of a cynical band wagon jump to ride the current woke wave to further your elite standing. It's a messy mish mash half way house that achieves nothing of political, racial or artistic value.

The supposed intent is elevating this *FAR* above what it deserves both artistically or for its supposed message. Everyone clearly sees something I don't or everyone is jumping on the BLM bandwagon and flagging anything vaguely positive as the best thing since sliced bread. I suspect that is out of fear of sounding even vaguely negative or worse they are fully paid up members of the SJW brigade. This could have been something far more - a true celebration of black and African culture and heritage mixed with images of successful black role models. Instead we get this sycophantic dross delivered through opulent visuals screaming "LOOK AT ME I'M WOKE" in a crass and misguided way.

Giving 10/10 for this is a travesty of scoring and a disservice to films that get 10/10 on their own merit and not through some weak attempt by an incredibly rich and privileged elite to make it mean more than it is.

G
 

CaroleBaskin

Active Member
I hope it stays open. Opinions are being challenged and shared - this is probably the most discussed review I've seen in a while, and that's a good thing!
 

gavinhanly

Distinguished Member
For example, I understand many of the costumes are designed by a number of the leading (white) designers. Surely if you're trying to "do something" for the black communities and celebrate what being black is there are countless designers of non-white origin that would dearly love the exposure and support.
There are and she did:

 

CaroleBaskin

Active Member
I understand many of the costumes are designed by a number of the leading (white) designers. Surely if you're trying to "do something" for the black communities and celebrate what being black is there are countless designers of non-white origin that would dearly love the exposure and support.
How did you gain that understanding?
 

xxGBHxx

Well-known Member
There are and she did:


How did you gain that understanding?
It was a comment/observation I shamelessly stole from Vanessa Friedman who's the chief fashion critic and fashion director for the NYT.

I'm no social commentator and I'm not trying to suggest I have any amazing or great insight but I'm sure she knows more that I ever will in my lifetime about fashion and clothing so I've made the assumption she's accurate and correct. If I'm wrong I'll be the first to admit.

G
 

CaroleBaskin

Active Member
It was a comment/observation I shamelessly stole from Vanessa Friedman who's the chief fashion critic and fashion director for the NYT.

I'm no social commentator and I'm not trying to suggest I have any amazing or great insight but I'm sure she knows more that I ever will in my lifetime about fashion and clothing so I've made the assumption she's accurate and correct. If I'm wrong I'll be the first to admit.

G
Thanks, I'm struggling to find her quote on this. I do see Vanessa mentioned many of the brands involved are run by white creatives. I see that as more her wishing Beyonce had taken the decision to use brands who do not have a 'white management' for lack of better words.

I think having designs from black creatives is in itself enough; Does it matter that the firms themselves are run by white people? I don't think it tainted her message in anyway.
 

gavinhanly

Distinguished Member
In fairness, the quote is:

"What the clothes in “Black Is King” do not do, though, unlike the rest of the film, is reimagine or reclaim the narrative of fashion as written by Black designers; many of the brands involved are run by white creatives. Perhaps it’s because the movie was made before George Floyd’s death transformed the summer, but in her Instagram statement on the work, Beyoncé has directly connected the film to the moment. Which makes the fashion credits, fabulous as they are, seem like the rare oversight on her part and that of her stylist and costume designer, Zerina Akers.

Perhaps that’s unfair; she does, after all, amalgamate them into a world of her own making. But while Black may be king, this project and all its trappings position its auteur, as the voice-over says in the film, as the “divine archetype.” In that context, she raised the stakes herself."

 

DarkEntity

Well-known Member
I watched the trailer and thought it looks like arty farty rubbish trying to tick media agenda tick boxes.
 
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Vila

Well-known Member
"Tick boxes..." !?😂


Whether you like her or not Beyonce is one of the biggest selling female singers in the world.

She was in the Lion King and contributed to its soundtrack.

Its seems pretty 'within brand' for Disney to feature the work of a pop star.

Netflix had a visual album with Sturgill Simpson for fudge's sake!
 

Derek S-H

Distinguished Member
I've just looked at that clip, and it just looks like a load of old rubbish regardless of what colour anyone is..
You tell it like it is! :)

There's a new film out called "Unhinged" about a man who is, er, unhinged! I suppose that is a great alternative to all this Arty-Farty nonsense about "visual albums".

Have a straight up story about a man who starts off unhinged and then unhinges even further until he can unhinge no more, eat our nibbles and slurp our drinks, then forget all about it two minutes after leaving the cinema.

THIS is the future of film!
 

lucasisking

Distinguished Member
So I watched it and to be honest found it a not unpleasant experience. I enjoyed the music a lot more than I thought I would especially some of the ambient stuff that gave the imagery a nice otherworldly feel. This imagery was sometimes impressive too but, as already mentioned, completely pales in comparison to Baraka & Samsara, Planet Earth. or Terence Malick's Tree of Life. I was definitely disappointed with the quality of the visuals and would say only 10-20% of it is really jaw dropping, and some of it frankly amateur hour.

Bey herself looks lovely most of the time in her 69 different costumes, she's unquestionably a beautiful woman with considerable talent, and revels in the lavishness of her production. Her passion shines through and lends energy to a quite lacklustre and scattershot narrative.

As a celebration of 'blackness' and African culture it tries fairly hard and feels comprehensive but also simultaneously limited and shallow (face paint, baskets on heads, masks etc) and occasionally becomes unintentionally funny, such as when we are told about "the Kings of celestial lore" backed up by computer generated images of space, or the use of Lion King dialogue to narrate generic African montages. It almost feels a little condescending too having this light-skinned American deity (net worth $400 million) behaving like the Queen of all Africans.

As an empowerment message, well who am I to judge? If it makes young black women feel great, then it's a worthwhile endeavour. I also find it has a slightly sad undertone; the need to keep repeating and reinforcing how beautiful and regal black skin is speaks to an ethnic group with collective low self esteem. I don't know of any other ethnicity that needs to self-promote like this, and many of them can boast more impressive cultures, even within a single country.

The 100% score on RT, plus Kumari's 10/10 to me shows how critic-proof this subject matter is and that the actual quality is less relevant than the message (or the celebrity). We must exult and overpraise blackness at any cost, especially now. I think that is the reason for the thread controversy yesterday (nothing to do with do with racism or sexism).

That said, I found it an intermittently enjoyable and entertaining experience, with some segments better than others. In fact some of it had kind of a soothing quality to it. Perhaps we're better off just seeing it that way, rather than trying to make sense of it's racial element. 6/10.
 

Built To Chill

Well-known Member
The 100% score on RT, plus Kumari's 10/10 to me shows how critic-proof this subject matter is and that the actual quality is less relevant than the message (or the celebrity). We must exult and overpraise blackness at any cost, especially now.
I did enjoy reading your balanced take on the film.

But surely you don’t think it’s more likely that all those reviewers threw their integrity out of the window due to the subject matter, vs they liked it in ways you did not?
 

lucasisking

Distinguished Member
I did enjoy reading your balanced take on the film.

But surely you don’t think it’s more likely that all those reviewers threw their integrity out of the window due to the subject matter, vs they liked it in ways you did not?
Cheers. No, not suggesting reviewers are being dishonest. I am suggesting they may be seeing the Emperors new clothes where certain subject matter is concerned. But hey, I may be wrong.
 

Vila

Well-known Member
Just because i think it might be easily misunderstood ...

A 100% rating on rotten tomato's doesn't mean a film has been scored 10/10 by all the accredited critics that have seen it.

Just that on balance they rate (or view - no score is required) the film positively rather than negatively.

Ergo a review that rated it 6/10 or simply praised the film as enjoyable would contribute to a 100% rating.
 

Built To Chill

Well-known Member
Cheers. No, not suggesting reviewers are being dishonest. I am suggesting they may be seeing the Emperors new clothes where certain subject matter is concerned. But hey, I may be wrong.
Ok. Personally, it still seems implausible that all those reviewers are naive, vs have had a genuinely different reaction.

Ergo a review that rated it 6/10 or simply praised the film as enjoyable would contribute to a 100% rating.
That's true, but in this case most reviews aggregated by RT are well above lukewarm.
 

lucasisking

Distinguished Member
Just because i think it might be easily misunderstood ...

A 100% rating on rotten tomato's doesn't mean a film has been scored 10/10 by all the accredited critics that have seen it.

Just that on balance they rate (or view - no score is required) the film positively rather than negatively.

Ergo a review that rated it 6/10 or simply praised the film as enjoyable would contribute to a 100% rating.
Yeah I know. We belong to a depressingly small club on the Internet who understands how RT works! Still, 100% approval is pretty rare and indicates an unusual level of consensus. It's not just aggregate sites either, reviews on my letterboxd site are gushing about blackness and Beyoncés godlike status (not to mention peppered with unabashed racism).
 

xxGBHxx

Well-known Member
I did enjoy reading your balanced take on the film.

But surely you don’t think it’s more likely that all those reviewers threw their integrity out of the window due to the subject matter, vs they liked it in ways you did not?
I think you overestimate peoples integrity and underestimate their desire to pander to their herd, especially where journalism and readership is concerned. That's not aimed at this site but certainly wider journalism, especially online, will often jump on any popular bandwagon for the clicks. Once they've chosen their "side" of any argument they will "big up" that argument even if it means exaggerating or even lying. The "bias" list of popular news sites should tell you everything you need to know about the integrity of the vast majority of journalists and websites - even hugely popular ones. Why you think this (or any other subject) would be no different I'm not quite sure.

My view is someone might like it but giving it an 8 or even a 9 is still very high praise without giving the impression it's a masterpiece. Psychologically, giving anything a "10/10" or, in other words, a perfect score, has very clear meaning behind it. No it doesn't mean something is perfect or can't be bettered but it *does* suggest that it brings something exceptional or groundbreaking to the table.

It's my opinion that this film really doesn't justify that accolade or adulation. The pedestal it's being put on is just way too high for the quality of what's presented or the faux attachment to the current zeitgeist in order to increase its popularity. It's clearly not aimed at me (I'd struggle to give it a 5 or 6) but I could absolutely understand target audience really liking it and giving it an 8 or even a 9. When you start assigning this the highest possible score it's a fair opinion to suggest it may be being overrated for some reason that isn't the quality of the film or simply its message. After all there are better films with a stronger message that score lower.

G
 

Built To Chill

Well-known Member
I think you overestimate peoples integrity and underestimate their desire to pander to their herd,

Fair enough, I think that is indeed where we differ. I do to try be an optimist about people, despite everything going on.

In this particular case it also comes from the fact I‘ve had a side gig writing paid reviews (albeit in a very different area) for some years now. And personally I’d find it excruciating to write something I did not believe in, with any regularity. Not just from an integrity point of view; more because it would make my work harder.

I didn’t mean to jump on this though and cause a diversion. It’s nice to see general civility in this thread, and I appreciate the tolerant responses to my questions above.
 

Rockets

Active Member
I'd go with 'Once upon a time in Iraq' or 'The Cave' if you really want to know about minorities, black lives and real cruelty and hardship. Fantastic documentary films that will move you.

As far as I know neither of the above were ever reviewed by AV forums.

 

pronto

Active Member
I'd go with Uncle Tom, not sure if this has been reviewed either on AV forums

 

azurisk

Active Member
I wish to apologize to anyone who felt that they could not express their views and/or opinions due to my earlier postings.
 

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