Beauty and the Beast in Review

Making $170 million in their debut weekend, it's safe to say that Disney has pulled through with one of their most anticipated films this year, which also seems to be one of their most controversial. Expectations for this movie were extremely high for me personally. I've been waiting years for this to come out and Belle has always been one of my favorite Disney Princesses, and Emma Watson did not disappoint. With that being said I wont say that Disney met all my expectations with flying colors, but they came really close. As with any new adaption of an old story, there are always things they do that make people upset. But overall I'm giving Disney much deserved kudos for bringing this story to life in a modern way with modern themes all while staying true to the time period of the story.

The controversy that has followed this movie is just insane to me. Specifically with Disney bringing in their first openly gay character to the big screen, honestly this detail about Le Fou brings a lot more humor and a lot more sympathy to such a minor role, and Jodh Gad does it beautifully. While I did find the humor in this movie to occaisionally be a bit too broadway cheesey, it still gave me some laughs. Gaston and Le Fou's relationship adds so much to their story and why Le Fou follows him around like a puppy. It just gives a lot more depth to the plotline, while giving it a modern touch. I appreciate Disney's attempt to include this theme, and normalize the idea of gay couples on the big screen for younger generations.

One of the biggest issues I had with this film were in the first 5 minutes. The opening scene depicting the extravagent lifestyle of the selfish prince and how he became this hideous beast has always been one of my favorite parts, and it so artfully done through stained glass windows in the animated version. This live action translation was very disappointing. This specific scene opens so many doors for creativity and I wish they had taken more of a Tale of the Three Brothers, from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, direction than just having the actors play it out wearing strange sparkely makeup. They could have beautifully used CGI animation to birng the stained glass windows to life. While it was very true to the time period and a great way to show that, it was a huge disappointment and kept me on edge for the rest of the movie waiting for something else to be terrible. And they got to it. RIght towards the end disney decided to give the Beast a solo. And im sorry but watching a huge CGI animated beast-man break out into song and prance around his enchanted castle just really took away from how intimidating he is supposed to be. I understand the song is about his love for Belle and how she has softened him, but I just felt that could still be very well portrayed without the use of song and dance. This is already a musical, there's plenty of song and dance.

But getting to the good stuff, let's talk about Belle being such an amazing active heroine. They really play up how independent she is and switch her role with her father, making Belle a talented inventor. I like this detail because it creates a different reason for why the townspeople think that she is "rather odd" other than just the fact that she can read. I think it modernizes and gives her character more power. She is also making decisions for herself and guiding her own story. She is the one who drives the plotline, not the beast. And they even add a scene where she attempts to escape her room in the castle. They do not make her out to be the damsal in distress, and I really appreciated that. Emma Watson was the perfect actress for this role because she is such an active feminist icon and it just brought so much more to her role, knowing little details about her personal feelings on women in society. And the little detail of her refusing to wear a corset is just the icing on the cake. Her version of Belle is relatable and real.

This movie was also just asthetically beautiful. The details in the animation and the castle and the costumes were so well done and I loved looking at all the details. Belle's dress did not disappoint, much like the live action Cinderella, everything was just nice to look at, and im sure with a second viewing I would notice things I did not see the first time. I also loved how much detail they included about Belle's history. The death of her mother is a recurring theme throughout the movie and it is a vital key in how Belle and the Beast get closer to each other. And they killed the Be Our Guest scene, every detail was down a science and it was perfectly translated to the big screen.

I look forward to seeing what else Disney has in store for us, especially with the live action Mulan coming our way. But this new version of a much loved fairy tale has given me hope for the rest of Disney's journey of modernizing the classics.