Sunday, March 19, 2017

Beauty and the Beast brings animation magic to life

Movie Title:
  Beauty and the Beast

Grade:  A

Rating:  PG, 129 minutes

In a Nutshell:  In this lovely Disney re-telling of a tale as old as time, Emma Watson shows us she can sing, dance, and cast a delightful spell on audiences, even when she isn’t playing Hermione Granger.  

Bill Condon (who also directed Dreamgirls and one of the Twilight movies) sticks fairly close to the source material, but adds a few new songs and some new jokes to freshen up the story.

While I enjoyed this new version, I have to admit the 1991 Disney animation did it better.


Uplifting theme: 
  • Do not be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within.
  • “Don’t be afraid.” - Beast
  • Be kind and fearless



Things I liked:
  • There are some beautiful set pieces and landscapes that put the make-believe French village and castle in the magic zone. 
  • Josh Gad is Disney awesomeness and looks quite comfortable in another musical.
  • It’s better in 3D, but not necessary.  (I saw it in both.)
  • I love Dan Stevens’ blue eyes.
  • I’ve always loved Kevin Kline in anything he does, so I thought his little solo was very touching. “How does a moment last forever? How does a story never die? It's love we must hold on to.”  Celine Dion sings it again at the end of the movie.  More love.  Did you know she won a Grammy for a song she sang with the 1991 animated movie?
  • Audra McDonald clearly has the best pipes out of all the singers in the movie.  Did you know she is married to Will Swenson (I thought he was hilarious in Sons of Provo)
  • I loved the Beast’s eye makeup in the beginning.
  • I thought the tomato soup and rolls that Belle and the Beast ate for lunch looked delicious.  Yeah, of course I would notice the food.
  • As an author, I love that books played a prominent role in the movie.  Belle explains that books allow you to escape.  Yes!  (So do movies.)
  • Did you notice Belle’s modern earring that she wore on one ear at the ball?
  • I thought Belle and the Beast looked good together at the end, like they matched.
  • I loved how the rolling credits showed the cast at the end of the movie.
  • Emma Thompson is magical in everything she does.
  • The sets and costumes are all gorgeous.
  • The original composer from the 1991 animation came back to score this film!
  • Luke Evans was awesome as Gaston.
  • If you loved the original, you'll be glad they didn't change much in this version.
  • A lot of critics are bashing Ewan McGregor for his terrible French accent, but I thought it was fine.  I've always really liked him.  I mean, c'mon, he's a Jedi.
  • Can't get enough of this movie?  Check out this interesting video that includes 20 secrets about the making of Beauty and the Beast.

Things I didn’t like:
  • While I thought the live action remake of Cinderella with Lily James and Cate Blanchett was absolutely fantastic, this new version of Beauty and the Beast is just ok.
  • In this new adaptation, the Beast has a magical book that allows you to teleport anywhere.  Awesome, right?  So then, why is the magic mirror still needed?
  • While I enjoyed Emma Watson, I’m just wondering why Anna Kendrick wasn’t cast as Belle.  She has a much, much better voice.
  • Why is Belle’s skirt always pulled up on the right side?
  • It feels like a stage play at times.
  • Sometimes the camera moves too fast.  I wanted to see more things slower.
  • I wanted the famous ballroom dance scene to be breathtaking, like in the newest Cinderella, but it was underwhelming.
  • If you were hoping for a new take on the original story, you might be disappointed, because it is very much the same movie, except with live action.
  • I thought Belle was kind of rude when Gaston gave her flowers in the square.



Interesting lines:
  • “She hasn’t made a fool of herself just to gain my favor.  What would you call that?” – Gaston (Luke Evans)
“Dignity.” – Le Fou
"It's outrageously attractive, don't you think?" - Gaston
  • “Your library makes our small corner of the world feel big.” – Belle
  • “People say a lot of things in anger.  It is our choice whether or not to listen.” – Mrs. Pott
  • “Can anybody be happy if they’re not free?” – Belle

Funny lines:
  • “It’s never going to happen, ladies.” – Le Fou (Josh Gad)
  • "You really want to marry into this family?" - Le Fou

Tips for parents: 

  • There is a scene with LeFou, Gaston’s sidekick, that has been labeled a “gay moment." Because of it, the movie has already been banned in Malaysia and restricted to viewers over the age of 16 in Russia.  In my opinion, that moment has been blown out of proportion.  In fact, I was able to identify what could be called 3 "gay moments."  I completely understand why parents feel betrayed by Disney, who they look to for "safe" family-friendly entertainment; however, over the years, more and more Disney films have contained potentially offensive material. What are parents to do?  Talk with your children about what you value and why, while teaching them to love others.
  • Young girls will notice that only the boys were allowed to go to school and read.  Talk to your daughters about that.  Point out how smart, independent, and capable Belle was because she read and sought knowledge.
  • No profanity.  Thank you Disney!
  • There are some scenes that might frighten young children, particularly with scary wolves and fighting.

Check out this cool video that BYU's Vocal Point just made with Lexi Walker to honor the wonderful music of Beauty and the Beast! The male dancer in the scene "Tale as Old as Time" was dating my niece. They were both on the award-winning BYU Ballroom dance team together! He's a really great guy.

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