Friday, March 17, 2017

Movie review: "Beauty and The Beast"

Ever since "Cinderella" came out 2 years ago, my girls and I (along with many many people) have been waiting for "Beauty and The Beast" to hit theaters, so of course we were there on opening night...
But because this movie is a classic and everyone knows the story, I will focus my review on answering some of the questions I had prior to watching the movie...feel free to ask whatever I don't answer with my own questions....

1. Did they stick to the original cartoon version?
Yes and no! As ambiguous as this answer sounds, it's the truth. While this version does tell the same story and relays the same message, there were several scenes (and songs) that were added to the storyline.  Additionally, there were some minor changes that even though didn't affect the plot, they are noticeable to a true fan. In the end, it's still the same Belle and the same Beast who fall in love but the story isn't "identical"

2. How is Emma Watson as Belle?
I will admit to the fact that I wasn't totally sold on Emma Watson playing Belle.  First off, for some reason I couldn't picture her playing anything other than Hermione and second, I seriously doubted her singing skills. But...everyone is allowed to be wrong in their perception and in this case I was.. because not only is Emma Watson the perfect embodiment of Belle but her singing voice is actually quite impressive! (and yes.. she really sings the songs)

3. What about Beast?
Well...I think Beast as a character is completely adorable; the whole audience gets to fall in love with him and I really like the fact that the movie shows us a few glimpses of his life before he was an arrogant prince who cursed himself and all of his castle. The whole message of "don't judge a person by his looks" is clearly delivered by Beast but I still hate the oversized horns and I think they took away from the physical appearance of Beast.. and I realize this is a totally biased opinion since this isn't the Beast I had pictured in my mind.. but oh well...

4. How is the music?
There's A LOT of music and singing in this movie...much more than there is in the cartoon version. Like I stated above, the movie features some of the original/favorite songs, but it also includes new songs that may or may not "fit" right. I would say this movie definitely falls into the "musical feature" category and I really enjoyed Watson's rendition of "Belle" and "Something There"; both brought back really fond memories of my childhood.

5. And how is the rest of the cast?
Well.. casting was on point for most characters especially LeFou, interpreted by Josh Gad (hello Olaf!)..he did an amazing job copying the mannerisms of the cartoon version of his character and I really loved seeing him in such dynamic role.  I wasn't too big a fan of Gaston because in my mind he is much more  muscular and self conceited, but I appreciate Luke Evan's efforts to be despised by everyone...he's really handsome so I'll take it!
Even though the rest of the cast doesn't do much (since they're  enchanted and all), once the objects turn human I really loved the actors they chose, such huge personalities and iconic people.. definite great choices...

6. How's the animation?
Undoubtedly, one of my favorite scenes from Beauty and The Beast is the "Be Our Guest" song so naturally I wondered how on earth would that scene be brought to life without ruining the animation "magic"... Well.. let me say... that scene could not have been any more perfect if they tried.. I was in awe of the animation and creativity that was put into play to bring "Be Our Guest" to life. The objects were perfectly created and the whole thing was just fascinating.. I want to re-watch the movie just for that scene.. wow!

7. How about the talking objects?
The talking objects were to die for! They carried half the movie on their shoulders and I was really enamored by how much life they portrayed and even though their looks weren't as "warm and fuzzy" as the ones in the animated version, it was really fun to see how our lovely Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts and Chip were made into a live action film.  Props to all the animators and creative staff, they really did amazing.

8. And the scenery?
Belle's village was simply perfect, it looked like a replica of the animated version; I particularly enjoyed the opening scene as well as the part where she sings on the prairie.. I felt like I was inside the movie...
Beast's castle seemed a little big bigger and more ornate than the one in the cartoon but it was still fitting for the grandiose nature of the live action version. The gargoyles were different and so was the shape of the main garden but nothing that would ruin the experience.. I'm just being really picky now..

9. Are there "inappropriate" scenes?
This is a question that was brought up by recent internet rumors that sparked some outrage within some groups.  Rumor has it that some "inappropriate" scenes were included in the film; it was said that an "exclusively gay moment" would be featured and some groups were even calling for the boycott of the film. While I understand that these are very sensitive subjects, my personal opinion is that there is NOTHING inappropriate about this movie or any of its scenes.  The movie doesn't glorify homosexuality nor does it intend to carry out an "agenda" like some have called it. There are a couple of scenes in which two men look at each other intensely but in no way does this film focus on "inappropriate" material.  It is a film that is tastefully done and I would strongly recommend it to anyone with younger children, both girls and boys.  It is an amazing reprise of a classic fairytale that will go down in history as one of the greatest of all times.

10. Bottom line?
My bottom line is that "Beauty and The Beast" live action film is a dream come true for any Disney fan. The idea of sharing part of my childhood with my children is simply incredible and the fact that this movie is just as popular (or even more) than when it came out 26 years ago is an amazing thing that is worthy of praise. The live action film was carried out to perfection and I encourage everyone to see it without reservations.  It gets 4 out of 4 stars in my book and I can't wait to buy it on DVD when it comes out.

Thank you, Disney for yet another perfect movie!

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