Beauty & the Beast: What I Loved (& What I Didn’t)

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One of my really good friends, “Grimey”, well, she just isn’t a DisNerd like I am. Don’t get me wrong. We have plenty in common & I wholeheartedly enjoy her company. She listens as I geek out & speculate on what direction the Parks will be heading over the next decade. Meanwhile, I get drug (not exactly reluctantly) around Comicon over the span of three days while she spends copious amounts of money on books & art. We have a great friendship.

While not a fanatic, she does have her one x-factor character. While you won’t see her donning a Mickey Mouse tee, she does adore Beast (or Prince Adam, depending on what side of this long standing debate you root for). That said, she was a natural choice for a comrade in my adventure to see Disney’s newest addition to their live-action remake line up: Beauty & the Beast.

Let’s start by saying I went into this highly skeptical. The last few live-action remakes just didn’t hit home for me — AT ALL. Every little girl has “their” princess growing up, right? Mine was Cinderella & the live-action was such a huge disappointment. The Jungle Book, it bore me to sleep. No. Literally. I fell asleep the first two times I tried watching it. I still haven’t seen the full movie, beyond as background noise while the kids watched it (running through my house like screaming maniacs when Shere Khan growls). On a side note, this makes me really scared for the live-action Lion King coming since it’s the same director. Even Pete’s Dragon was just’meh’ for me. Maleficent, while I didn’t love it – I also didn’t hate it. I loved that rather than just telling the same story in a new format, they opted to do an alternative perspective plot. But Beauty & the Beast was the same tale as old as time – just with actors.

 

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Move over Cindy! It’s Belle’s time to shine! (Again).

 

I loved it… I really, really did! Skepticism aside, I loved it. From the opening featuring Beast’s castle to the ending dance, it was beautifully done, well orchestrated. I can’t wait to see it again.

I think it’s important to touch base on this so-called “controversial”, “gay” scene that has so many countries up in arms that they are refusing to show the film at all. This is your warning there is spoilers (tho, really, if you’ve seen the animated version, you really pretty much know how the story goes)….

Are you ready?

You sure?

Everyone who doesn’t want to have this giant bubble burst upon them skipping this part?

We good?

Yeah?

OK?

Ready?

IT WASN’T A BIG DEAL.

Like at all. Maybe it’s because I’m in Seattle & I’ve seen way more at the Fremont Solstice Parade, but it honestly wasn’t anything you couldn’t see at Capital Hill. Probably even more tamed 😉 (Just kidding. Mostly. Love you, Hillians!) — But really, it was nothing to have feathers ruffled over. This is Disney afterall. They know children will be watching this movie. It’s rated PG, not even PG-13 like the new Power Rangers movie.

So, what does happen? (FINAL WARNING THERE ARE NOT TOO SPOILY-BUT-KIND-OF-SPOILERS COMING!)

Ladies & Gentlemen, you’re “gay” scenes were as follows:

  1. LeFou & Gaston have a cozy, cuddly hug to which LeFou asks Gaston if it’s too much.
  2. During the attack on the castle, you may recall in the animated sequence, some henchmen villagers are pulled into the armoire to be spat out dressed in drag. This happens during the live-action raid, but one henchman gives a coy smile & prancing off implying he actually doesn’t mind dressing feminine & pretty.
  3. LeFou & said henchman share a dance during the closing ball sequence.

 

That’s it. No same-gender kissing. No fantasizing about LeFou & Gaston being married, picnicking under a tree while two small children play ball behind them (I now feel like I have to Google if there’s some fan-fic on this tho). Nothing that I even remotely batted an eyelash at. I had to actually question, “Is this the so-called gay scene?” Which means either I’m just entirely naïve, seriously accustomed or it just was a mountain made from a molehill.

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Was there anything you didn’t like about it, Dani?”

Well, since you asked….

I didn’t love the yellow dress. Ouch. How do you identify Belle from any other brunette princess if it isn’t for her signature yellow dress? I loved the gold embroidery detail, but hated the design of it. As Grimey pointed out, “Traditional French dress clothes are hard to love”. I have to agree. They also took away her gloves. Maybe that’s it. Maybe I just wanted it to look more like Belle’s gown. It reminded me more of a Mother-in-Law’s dress for a Southern summer wedding with all those ruffles. I did love the dress during the final dance shot. It didn’t scream “Belle”, but it was very pretty. I’d rock that if I had an occasion to rock it at.

I didn’t love the Beast’s song either. I’m told it’s actually from the musical rendition of the story. I’ve never seen the musical rendition but if it was anything like Disney’s live action rendition of it, I probably don’t want to hear it. It’s not that Dan Stevens did a crumby job or anything. It’s just the lyrics are the things of my worst made-for-MySpace-lyrics nightmares. I understand he’s hurting to let her go, but there has to be a pretty way to express that than in song. In fact, that song alone made me relieved to read that the upcoming live-action Mulan would NOT feature musical numbers unlike it’s animated version.

Last but not least, another diehard DisNerd friend complained there wasn’t enough Gaston in the movie. Luke Evans didn’t get enough screen time? Not entirely. She complained that the REAL Gaston wasn’t there enough. As she put it:

“He was NOWHERE near arrogant, obnoxious, chauvinistic enough. Boyfriend didn’t even show up until 2/3 into the movie when he locked Maurice away. In the animated version, you hated Gaston right away. He was annoying. Drove Belle bats. Where the hell was boyfriend most of this movie?”

While I have to agree to an extent, I have this theory. Much like most of the rest of the movie including progressive use of a hintingly gay character &  diversity featuring actors of varying ages, ethnicities and beauty…  At one point while storming the castle, LeFou says, “We’re hunting the Beast but I’m not sure it’s the right one”. It goes back to that old moral of the ugliness that can arise in a person creating a monster per say, how we as a civilization can turn so ugly & even violent towards those we fear, don’t understand or perceive as different. Of course, we know what becomes of Gaston at the end. But the events leading up to that may serve as a warning: Women shouldn’t have to fear retaliation & releasing the “beast” when she refuses a suitor’s affections. Men should be aware of how they react to rejection.

Otherwise, it was great. It had just enough nostalgia to keep me engaged, enough humor to break up the darkness. The casting was spot on. They kept Emma’s natural, approachable beauty in tact, even while being doted upon in the castle. The CGI wolves were a bit much, but otherwise the animated houseware looked realistic enough. You couldn’t help but sing-a-long during Be Our Guest.

While I’m eager & ready for some fresh content instead of rehashes & unnecessary sequels (I’m lookin’ at YOU,  Toy Story 4) to otherwise solid movies, if Disney could keep up this level of caliber in other live action adaptions, I would probably continue to watch.

 

 

 

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