Often after I watch an inoffensive movie, I go to the IMDB comments board for the movie to see how out-of-left-field the comment threads are. I started doing this when I realized that the most vitriolic comments are NEVER for the movies I expect. Most recently: I watched Epic the other day, because...fuck it, I don't know, it was available and I was very tired and some days I'm happy to imagine I might someday shrink to bug size and ride birds and do magic. Whatever.

Okay, the point is, on the first page of comments for Epic on IMDB, there are TWO (2) separate threads bitching about the casting choice of Beyoncé for the queen of the forest. It will not surprise you to learn that these threads include a lot of batshit racism; it MAY surprise you to learn that each is multiple pages long. Whatfuckingever, Beyoncé is the queen of everything, why wouldn't she be the queen of the goddamn forest? Anyway, notably, Beyoncé is literally in like three scenes in this movie. For perspective, the amount of time these people spent typing out their weird racist complaints is definitely more than the amount of time Beyoncé is even in the movie.

Does it get weirder? Sure. For reference: the main character is a girl who gets shrunk to mini-size and befriends all the mini-size people in the forest, including a dreamy dude voiced by Peeta Mallark. (Spoilers coming, I guess, if it matters...?) At the end, she becomes regular-size again and hugs her dad and stuff but is possibly still in a relationship with the dreamy tiny dude. One of the threads on the first page of the board is called "How will they have sex?" It has fourteen replies. A reminder: this is a kid's movie. WHY ARE THERE SO MANY PEOPLE ON THIS BOARD THINKING THROUGH THIS QUESTION. And I mean come on, fucking MAGIC, are you looking for an actual answer? How much detail are you expecting to be offered here? If we even baseline accept that we're cool with talking casually about the sex lives of animated characters, what is the point of this question. I don't know how they'll have sex! Neither do you! I think they'll figure it out though! Again, MAGIC.

Also, as you might expect, there's at least one post "calling the movie out" for "ripping off" Fern Gully because I guess nobody ever gets shrunk to mini-size in a natural setting outside of the context of Fern Gully. Definitely not in folktales or anything.

Anyway, my point is: I bet if you pick a random kids movie (or otherwise very mild/generic/non-controversial movie) and go to the boards, you will find variations on these three themes, too. 1) Racism/sexism/homophobia/generalized bigotry; 2) weird sex related comment; 3) THIS MOVIE IS A RIPOFF OF THAT OTHER MOVIE. (ETA: I'm going to add a #4, which in this case is a subset of #1 — intensely invested complaints about casting.)

Advertisement

PS: Epic was actually somewhat entertaining, mostly because Aziz Ansari voices a slug. Oh also, incidentally, earlier I realized that it does actually pass the Bechdel test, so there's that.