Beauty and the Beast Movie Review
Beauty and the Beast Movie Review Metadata
The magic! The singing! The colors! The set! The magic…oh wait, I already said that…but there is a lot of magic. I’m not going to lie when I say I was extremely nervous when I found out they were adapting a live action version of Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson as Beauty and Dan Stevens as The Beast. There are just so many things that could go wrong and the cartoon version was pretty darn perfect.
The original Disney’s Beauty and the Beast premiered in September of 1991 and recently celebrated it’s 25th year anniversary. The film cost a cool 25 million dollars to produce, while pulling in 425 million dollars at the box office. That’s a lot of money for an 84 minute movie. This film was about 60 years in the making as Walt Disney himself tried to animate in the 1930’s and 50’s, but for reasons unknown, it never came to fruition. This was also the first animated film to be adapted for Broadway, the first Disney project to employ a woman screenwriter, and the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. With so much history to be made from a mere 84 minute cartoon, I wasn’t sure this 2017 could hold a candle, er, a lumiere to the Disney original (which in all honesty, is pretty different from the “original” story by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont).
The excitement for this has been palpable as fans eagerly waited for preview trailers, clips of music, and a glimpse of the iconic butter yellow ball gown adorned by Belle. The hype for this film was even more so than that of recent live action remakes like Snow White and the Huntsman, Maleficent, and Cinderella but then again, those films didn’t have a controversy so big that entire countries banned them. The general consensus was one of positivity, albeit hesitation, in regards to Emma taking on a singing role. Overall, the buzz and excitement is and has been there, until that is….the “bomb” dropped. LeFou is gay. Insert mass hysteria.
Now I know some people just want to know, how is this version? Should I spend $15.00 to see it? I must answer with an emphatic yes! This was such a beautiful rendition of a Disney classic, that I cried a bit at the end.
Other people may be wondering what’s the deal with the “gay storyline” that everyone and their mother is talking about? If you should be offended by anything in this film, it would be Emma’s less than stellar singing voice. Other than that, LeFou is but a blip in an extremely busy storyline of a beast man and a young maiden. Seriously, it stinks that I even have to address this but this LeFou “being gay” while coming off as gimmicky to some, came off (to me) as sort of natural in this version. He’s so very much enamored by the egomaniac that is Gaston in the animated version, that it seamlessly transferred to a sort of obsessive love in this version. He makes one remark in a very fast paced song about “playing for the other team” and throws a lot of forlorn glances at Gaston, but that was pretty much it. People are debating over whether or not the cartoon LeFou was gay and they’re taking to Facebook to publicly denounce the film and the company and it’s all a bit too much for a film most people haven’t even seen. I don’t know why that would keep you from seeing a classic film with a brilliant cast and enchanting songs, but to each their own.
The music was well done, the set and designs were rich with details, and the cast did a great job of bringing these iconic characters to life (even the inanimate objects). The infamous “Be Our Guest” scene really showcases how far along animation and CGI have come in the last 25 years. My favorite thing about this film is the fact that it’s over two hours (versus the just over an hour original cartoon) and they use that time to dig a little deeper as to where the characters come from. We get some background on Belle’s mother and father (who is far less eccentric in this version) as well as what made the Beast so beastly. The stories of their origins in no way detract from the story but give the viewer some insight as to who they are as characters. I’m happy Disney used this extra time to elaborate on the characters themselves versus throwing in random singing numbers.
This story is no stranger to controversy with accusations of downplaying Stockholm syndrome and promoting bestiality. Somehow, through it all, there have always been people who have loved it vehemently and I don’t think this film will be any different. I am willing to bet that this film being very financially successful and well received. Beauty and the Beast truly is a tale as old as time, and that tale will continue to evolve as long as there are people who wish to consume it.