I saw Disney’s live adaptation in theatres on Opening day…
Now before you break the internet with all sorts of pros and cons as for why you may or may not agree with my decision, let me explain a little bit of how I came to this decision.
I had heard the rumors… of Disney’s character changes and I wanted to see for myself and judge based on the content firsthand rather than by hearsay.
As skeptable as I was, I purposely didnt tell anyone I knew I was going to see it, because I did not want to see world war 3 break out on my Facebook feed.
But now that I’ve seen it, and had time to process the good points and bad points of the film, I hope you will take the time to listen to what I have to say… Who knows! There may be something there that wasnt there before!
So now let me tell you about my experience watching the movie…
(I can see you perched over the edge of your electronic screen in anticipation)
Sitting in a dark theatre, the previews finishing, the lights dim and the moving picture starts to play… My first thought was “this could either be the best two hours of my life, or the worst two hours ever.” Seriously, that was my frame of mind. But I took a deep breath, and steeled myself for the opening scenes.
First twenty minutes went by… Then forty minutes… Then I stopped counting altogether as the magic that is movie making took over. I became a fan again as the little child inside me came out to play with the villigers during the famous songs and scenes I knew and loved so much…
Yet, this time things were deeper, richer and more profound as I began to study the story with an adult’s mind and perspective… Such as the beautiful song Maurice sings in sad memory of his wife, Or the opulence of France during the golden age of fashion, which left me feeling queer yet thankful we don’t walk around wearing powdered wigs and white faces in 2017.
Then there were the obvious places where the movie diverted from the Animated classic; where plot holes were filled in and the story became more well rounded.
(I mean who would go against the horse sense of Philipe and take the darker part of the forest if there was no obvious reason for it?)
Or like how the evil enchantress kept the Castle from being seen by the villigers and made them extra grumpy, amnesiac, and threatened by Belle’s ability to read? (besides the obvious historical period limitations)…
Another obviously pleasent diversion from the animated classic was that as a child, (I) would scream at the screen for Maurice (belle’s father) NOT to go inside the Beast’s castle… I mean, who in their right mind would go inside a creepy house where no one lived and scary music lurked, in the middle of the night?!
Thankfully this was remedied by the fact that during this historical time period, many of the rich and opulent people who owned such castles and big estates were often away, leaving their stewards to care for and maintain the dwelling. Anyone passing by who partook of the hospitality of those houses were duty bound to pay their respects and thank their hosts for giving to those in need out of a spirit of goodwill… So it makes much more sense why Maurice HAD to go in and pay his respects to the owner of the Castle, whom he did not know.
Taking this into account, I think we are off to a great start…
Then there were the characters… Gaston was as self absorbed and narssasistic as ever; sharing much of his dialogue with his own mirrored image of himself; and while Lafou’s obvious need of affirmation, or as he calls it, “being clingy” made his character differ from an insequre anti hero or sidekick, to a more Homeosexually based character whose intentions were implied rather than stated… Well mostly
Now it is true that Lafou’s character does get some sort of ephiphany onscreen as he finds another male character to dance with during the final ballroom scene of the movie (following the Beast’s transformation) … and It is true that that same male character does enjoy cross dressing earlier in the movie while the villigers are attempting to pillage the Beast’s enchanted castle. These are the most obvious places where I felt Disney wanted to include the Homosexual community… However, as a movie goer, and a christian, those points were not made so intentionally large or blown out of proportion in any way as to detract from the story line of Belle and Prince Adam…
(who’s name doesnt seem to go beyond “the beast” all movie long. (a point that irked me greatly…)
Instead it was the movie goers watching the film who made the Homosexual relationship of the characters a big point in the theatre with some cheering, clapping and such. Again, my feeling was not that the films intent was to make a large cresendo of this fact because the story at its heart and from its heart is about Belle’s relationship with herself and the Beast, a love that came first and ultimately triumphed over the evil in men’s hearts…
Belle’s character seemed almost overshadowed by her father’s character in a way, seeing how she was considered “odd” simply because she was unsociable (prefering reading to socializing and flirting with the other peasant girls). She was also shunned because she could read, and the men of the village (I think) felt threatened by her literacy, because of the social stigma for women of that day in France (and much of the world) did not allow women to be educated… So they bullied Belle at one point when she tries to help a young girl learn how to read. …
Now I like that this is a change from the annimation where Belle was teaching the Beast how to read. Its hard for me to immagine what girl would honestly fall in love with an illiterate man who has this huge creepy castle that no one sees… Kind of weird right?
This plot hole in the annimation was likely remedied by making her more of a “mother-type” character and made a point to “care” for the beast rather than show her care for the less unfortunate at large (in her village). I think this New change is a selling point to her character that is extremely more well rounded, rich and poinent, making her a role model for girls everywhere. (Not that she is “perfect” in any sense, or that she makes all the best choices, but she stands up for what she believes in and follows her heart for others, even at the expense of her own freedom.)
The Beast… hmmm… he is just, well Beastly… As an almost completely CGI character its hard to judge an actor on his performance of a spoiled, rich prince, yet his character and the other enchanted beings have a much richer backstory, one that just might make you shed a tear when he is cursed by the enchantress…(Spoiler alert: who by the way comes back to help him get changed back to a man at the end ;-).
You get to see this sad young boy who is taken away after his mother’s death, only to emerge as the incredibly unloving character we know from the story. I think the loss of his mother and his father’s lack of nurture turned him into the “beast” of a man who gets cursed. Sadly, I wonder how many of us push aside our pain and grief, locking those feelings up till we dont know our ownselves? …Surprisingly in this live adaptation, we see a very mature man, well versed and literate, who is unsure of himself because of his appearance and fall from grace…
We start to see who he really is as he converses with Belle, and their friendship blossoms onscreen. I may be the only one, but I LOVED seeing this new relationship grow as the child Belle learns to see the good in this bitter young man. It teaches us that sometimes we can find the good of someone is often hidden by a pain in their past, making it hard for any of us to grow until we allow someone to love us and lead us.
The part of the beast I found HILARIOUS (aka Prince Adam) was his transformation looked less like the “newborn babe” or fresh prince idea of the animated movie and ended up looking a bit more like Tarzan back from the jungle… The girls sitting behind me in the theatre remarked of this loudly, to which I had to agree laughing… (okay Disney, here’s one thing you could have improved on lol)
One other point I found VERY DISTURBING was the ease of Gaston’s ability to lie to the villigers, manipulate everyone around him and orchestrate the villigers into a mob just by slightly altering the truth… Yikes! Now thats truly frightening!
All in All, the things I REALLY LOVED about this beauty was the Music, orchestration and the singing! (of the trained singers… umm cough, cough… Sorry, im not a fan of autotune for a whole song…)
I think the best part of this live adaptation was how much it kept you on the edge of your seat, almost as if you were discovering this magical story for the first time. It may have some controversial points, many of which can and should be addressed by each person watching. Gone are the movies of the past whose sole purpose was to teach us a moral lesson without showing any of the “wrong” points of life (depending on your view)… Now it’s up to us to sift through the cultural references (whether we believe in them or not) and and teach others to look for the truth, and stand firmly in it.
Regardless of your decision to support the movie or boycott it, I believe there are far better ways to make a statement without alienating many of those around us, if we keep a respectful care for our fellow men and women regardless of our personal tastes.
When in doubt… Add Glitter