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Beauty and the Beast lives up to the hype

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As a kid, my favorite Disney movie was always Beauty and the Beast because I decided was the greatest love story of all time. I didn’t think about bestiality or Stockholm syndrome, because, as a kid, who does? Although age has changed a few aspects of how I watch the film, I still can’t help but marvel at the music and visuals of the film. So when they announced that they would be making a live action version of the beloved classic way back in 2015, I was ecstatic.

Unsurprisingly, most of the movie lived up to my expectations. They did an amazing job at translating the story from cartoon to live action, and by this I mean they didn’t change it so drastically like they did in Cinderella and Maleficent. Besides keeping it mostly the same, they also filled in the gaps left in the story. No longer was the Enchantress some rando who was mad that an eleven year old kid wouldn’t let her into his castle; instead, the Beast was a selfish prince who was pretty much a garbage fire of a person (*cough* character development fodder *cough*). I thought that it was refreshing to have a stronger foundation to the tale as old as time.

However, there were some additions that I found unnecessary. To save spoilers (that really have no impact on the movie whatsoever, but whatever) there is a brief addition to the film that reveals things about Belle’s mom. Time period accurate, but unnecessary (speaking of period accurate, can we talk about the mentions of the plague and the fact that, like french nobles of his time, the prince wore makeup and powdered wigs, because I am LIVING). I mean, I guess they did have to make a children’s film stretch to blockbuster length, but I felt that the scenes devoted to her could have been replaced with more development of the relationship between Belle and Beast.

Regardless of the plot padding that could have been better used elsewhere, I thought that they played the relationship between a French villager and a literal Animorph (If you need to jog your memory, just google Animorphs) really well. As I’ve said, it’s kind of weird to look at a film about a woman and a beast falling in love, especially at an age when you can actually think about bestiality and things like that. However, the romance between them was actually super cute; like, Hallmark level cute. It was like all the cuteness in the animated version doubled. So if you’re looking at the film saying, “Eh, not really sure this romance is going to be believable,” risk it all and go see it anyway.

As some may know, there was a bit of controversy regarding the film. After announcing that LeFou would be the first character to have an “exclusively gay moment” in a Disney film, many people decided to boycott the film. It seems, however, that those who decided to boycott jumped the gun, because if Le Fou is what Disney deems an openly gay character, they have a lot of work to do. Again, no spoilers, but the whole dynamic between LeFou and Gaston isn’t played as unrequited pining, but, rather, a transformation from doting friend to what I can only describe as a play off of the “woman scorned” trope (at least in my eyes). In some parts, the hints of the LBGTQ+ representation that was promised was teased at, but it never seemed as monumental as Disney executives wanted filmgoers to expect. What I believed to be the “exclusively gay” scene lasted maybe a few seconds, and seemed to be just for laughs.

In the way of music, I had mixed feelings. While the songs were gorgeous to watch on screen, I felt that the live action version lost some of the original magic. Maybe it’s because I’m so used to the original soundtrack and voices, but I felt that few of the songs really captured the original vibe. Belle (Reprise), the beloved “I Want” song that every Disney Princess movie has to have, seemed to lose the passion that it really needed. Arguably the most iconic song from the film, Be Our Guest, was a miss in my book as well. While the CGI in the scene was incredible, Ewan McGregor (AKA Obi Wan Kenobi from the Star Wars prequels), couldn’t recapture Jerry Orbach’s incredible performance. Other songs, like Gaston, Belle, Something There, and Beauty and the Beast, I felt were executed incredibly, and the performances were great. New songs like How Does A Moment Last Forever, Days in the Sun, and Evermore, were incredibly arranged and performed, and have become some of my favorite songs to listen to off the soundtrack.

To wrap up, Beauty and the Beast had it’s ups and downs, but, altogether, is definitely the best live action version of an animated classic to date (sorry Cinderella). If you haven’t already, make sure to head out and see it in theaters, and enjoy the beloved classic retold in a beautiful way.

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