I received the opportunity of screening Beauty and the Beast with my husband in exchange for this review. Any opinions expressed here are honest and my own.
Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is a live-action re-telling of the studio’s animated classic which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs. “Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within. The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Oscar® winner Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s eccentric, but lovable father; Josh Gad as Lefou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Golden Globe® nominee Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, the candelabra; Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Oscar nominee Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and two-time Academy Award® winner Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts. Directed by Oscar® winner Bill Condon based on the 1991 animated film, “Beauty and the Beast” is produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman with eight-time Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards® (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the 1991 animated film, providing the score, which will include new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as several new songs written by Menken and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice. (DISNEY) This film is rated PG.
The movie was pretty much everything that I expected it to be…..amazing! From the acting and costumes to the music, vocals, and special effects. Disney was brilliant again in that aspect. It’s definitely worth seeing it in 3D as well.
Does it live up to the original animated version we have all grown to love? Yes, and then some. You’ll have to see it for yourself as I definitely don’t want to give away too much.
Hubby’s Two Cents!
“Beauty and the Beast was great, I loved it! The effects were awesome. The framing was spectacular, especially in the library scene and any time there were people in the ballroom.”~Ron Clair
Parental Recommendations and Concerns
I recommend children ages 10+ for this film, though you know your child better than anyone and are free to make that decision on your own. There are a few scenes I do want to point out to alleviate or help address any concerns about the film:
- Wolves -The wolves (big, white, with very scary teeth), scare and chase Bell’s father and horse through the woods. There is also a scene where the wolves attack the beast and he fights them off and flings them to the ground. The Beast eventually growls very loudly to scare the wolves away. These scenes may be too intense for younger viewers.
- The Fight Scene Between the Beast and Gaston-This scene may be a little too much for younger viewers as well as it shows Gaston shooting the Beast a couple of times in the back and him falling from the castle. At the end of the scene it then shows Gaston free-falling to his death which we see, but they do not show him hitting the ground, just a brief sound of the fall to get the point across.
- Gender Identification Concerns-By now you have probably read about the “gay character” controversy in the film. Prior to this review, a few posts I read were quick to rip it to shreds. One author of a post hadn’t even seen it yet to my understanding. I was determined to see it for myself before giving in to the hype. Honestly, this was blown way out of proportion in my opinion. Though Disney’s support of the community is evident, it is brief in 4 quick frames if you will: The first is when Lefou sings to Gaston. It’s through his mannerisms and facial expressions you get the sense of this, but I believe only adults will catch it as they do it in a “goofy or awkward” manner. The second, is when Gaston is speaking to himself in the mirror. Lefou is right behind him watching. When Gaston walks away, Lefou repeats Gaston’s lines with more “expression.” Kids may see this as Lefou being silly imitating him, while adults may sense the connection there. The third, takes place in the castle when the village comes to “kill the beast.” Garderobe begins to fight off three men by throwing clothes at them and turning them into women. Two of them walk away in shock while the middle man appears to like it. He smiles and walks away confidently. Again, kids may see this as “silly ” while adults can sense the connection. The fourth concern is in the end when everyone is dancing. You see Lefou dancing with a woman, but final spin you see him dancing with a man (no kissing). I think it’s the man who liked being dressed as a woman (wig, makeup, and all), but I couldn’t truly tell or remember for that matter. Again, it may look silly, but the connection is there, yet very brief. As you know, Disney’s business policy is to “please everyone” so it should be no surprise. Whatever you believe or support or don’t support, this is where you get to make your own assumptions, judgments, and decisions as I know many parents are concerned about hidden messages. This may be a good time for a discussion with your children if the subject does come up. If you are concerned, I recommend parents seeing it first. It’s your call!
Pheww, while that took quite a bit of typing on my part, all of these concerns are very quick and doesn’t take away from the movie as a whole, but of course it’s a blogger’s opinion, right? 😉
My favorite scene? “Be Our Guest.” Oh yes, just you wait.
All of the actors fulfilled their characters in such a creative and brilliant way. Emma Watson was stellar as Belle. In the animated version you have the most beautiful angelic voice in Belle’s character. In this live-action version, Belle’s voice is more realistic and raw like that of a young girl in a small village. It’s actually endearing.
What’s your favorite Beauty and the Beast song?
Beauty and the Beast opens in theatres today! #BeOurGuest
Images courtesy of Disney