Beauty and the Beast Movie Review

Yeah, yeah, we know.  The movie has been out for almost three weeks – so what took us so long?  We just didn’t have the opportunity with our travels to find enough time for a night at the movies.  The important thing is we finally did it!  We saw the new Disney Beauty and the Beast live action movie in 3D.

Beauty and the Beast now in theaters. (©Disney)

With just a few exceptions, this story strays very little from the original 1991 animated movie; from the bookworm Belle, to the antagonist Gaston who is bent on marrying her, to the iconic songs and French setting.  The director and writers have taken the liberty of expanding on parts of the story that were left to the imagination in the original, such as the fate of Belle’s mother (most Disney movies are notoriously missing at least one parent).  The Enchantress who cast the beastly spell on the prince plays a much larger, and surprising role in this story.

The story also goes farther in humanizing the beast when he begins quoting Shakespeare, and then grumbles when Belle tells him that Romeo and Juliet is her favorite, which helps the audience realize that under that scary, hairy façade is a person who is capable of feeling.  The beast is also given his own song that speaks of his belief that Belle will return to him after she has gone to help her father.

The movie is an elegant sight to behold with its life-like computer animations for the those elements that couldn’t be acted out.  The mix of digital animation with human actors was something that Walt always wanted to perfect, as could be seen in his early “Alice” series of short movies.  This movie shows that the studio continues to push the boundaries to another level when one considers that the ballroom scene in the original animation was actually created on a computer and was one of the first movies to utilize such technology.

The Controversy:  Before this movie was released, there was a controversy regarding LeFou, Gaston’s sidekick.  There are those in society who want to make statements about something in order to push an agenda, and it comes from both sides of the political aisle.  Whether Disney has decided to support a societal agenda in its business is certainly open for discussion, with arguments to be made from any angle.  But one thing that can be said for this or any movie is that Disney has always been inclusive of people from all walks of life and this company is a world wide entertainment entity.  The scenes that caused this controversy are extremely brief and would generally go unnoticed by younger audiences.  In fact, we were more perturbed by all the British accents in a film set in France.

Overall, this is still an excellent family film, embracing the virtues of good vs evil, including love and respect of family.  The harder part of this movie would be for younger audience members sitting for such a lengthy period of time.  Remember we said that the story line was expanded?  This movie plays a little more than two hours, which is almost too long for adults!

Don’t forget to submit your tickets to Disney Movie Rewards for the points and rewards!

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