Last night my older sisters and I went to the premiere of Beauty and the Beast. This movie has a special place in our hearts for many reasons. The original cartoon version came out on VHS on the day that I was supposed to be born, 25 years ago in November. Then three days later, when I was actually born, that’s the movie they were watching when I came home. For me, it has always been my favorite Disney movie. She is the most headstrong, reasonable Disney princess (other than Mulan) and I love that. Rather than another “love at first sight” story, this story is more realistic. She sees all the beast’s flaws and has to learn to love him despite them. They have to actually fall in love, and shocker, she doesn’t fall right away!
My sophomore year in college I had to take Public Speaking. The first speech topic was movies. That was all we had to go off of. So I wrote my speech about Beauty and the Beast attempting to debunk all of the controversies surrounding beastiality and Stockholm Syndrome. The last line of my speech was something along the lines of “So I challenge all of you to discuss the merits of these arguments with me surrounding this movie.” Then my professor said, “That’s an interesting viewpoint. I actually published an article in a scholarly journal comparing the symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome to the original story.”
I just stood there staring for a minute, and then said, “Well I still challenge you to debate me, but give me some time to look up your article first.” And then I sat down thinking, “Come on, what are the odds?!” Of all the movies, of all the professors, this is my luck?!
Anyways! I don’t typically do movie reviews, but this one I have to say some things! Don’t worry, I will warn you if I am going to spoil anything (if you haven’t already seen the original cartoon version at some point).
Here were my main concerns about the movie going in:
- Emma Watson using her real British accent when they’re clearly in France.
- I heard that LeFou was openly gay in the movie and I didn’t care in the slightest, but I was just wondering how it would add to the storyline.
- In the times of political correctness/protecting everyone from being offended, will all the dark undertones still be there? (Think about the mob scene in the original, the deal Gaston makes with the head of the insane asylum, etc.)
- I didn’t want them to change the storyline.
- I wanted to hear some of the original songs, and a few new ones.
Here is what I thought about the movie.
Emma Watson used her British accent in the movie. Obviously. But then I thought about it and it adds to her “oddness” to the village people so I can learn to accept it. Emma Watson’s voice also sounded pretty auto-tuned to me, but hey, we can’t all sing as well as Paige O’Hara.
The movie shows more of the background of the characters. What happened to Belle’s mom? Where are the Beast’s parents? (In the original he was 11 when the old lady came to his door, of course he turned her away, stranger danger!) We learn what happened to the parents, and why the beast had “no love in his heart” even at his young age. These flashbacks don’t take away from the original storyline at all, they in fact enhanced the story and gave you deeper insight.
Gaston was too hot to be the villain. I understand he’s supposed to be a good looking guy, but as a cartoon he was just alright. Considering I am not a fan of guys with long hair, I was surprised how attractive I thought he was. Most Disney villains have beards, but it is a good thing Gaston did no; it would have been too much to handle!
There were a lot a interracial couples in the movie and I thought it was fabulous, and honestly about time!
The songs were all the originals and then a few new ones, which were amazing as well.
Overall, if you liked the original, I highly recommend seeing the new one.
Okay now to a few semi-spoilers!
Because there was all this fuss about LeFou being gay, I was looking for signs of him being “openly gay” throughout the movie. If I didn’t know about it, I would not have thought anything of it until the very last scene of the movie. It doesn’t add or distract from the storyline.
I was not a fan of Gaston using a gun during the fight scene. It makes him more cowardly which of course makes you dislike him even more, but there was just something about it that I didn’t like.
When the characters start to turn permanently into trinkets, the goodbyes they say to each other are crushing.
I loved how the old woman who cursed the castle has a part throughout the story. Again, it adds to the depth of the story.