Note: This post contains spoilers for Disney's Beauty and the Beast
I've mentioned before that I love me some Disney princess movies. Despite the fact that in my real life, I'm pushing 30 and rather cynical about love stories, nothing gets me excited like princesses and fairy tales and singing and love-conquers-all Disney movies. And by far my favorite of those movies is Disney's 1991 Beauty and the Beast. And really, what's not to love? The animation is gorgeous. The songs are classic. The characters are awesome. The story is timeless (eff off, everyone who cries Stockholm Syndrome. That movie is so much more about the transforming power of love). The movie as a whole is tight, well-balanced, well-written, well-acted, and basically perfect (so long as you don't watch the Special Edition with "Human Again" shoehorned into the middle. Save that for the Broadway musical).
Belle is my princess, and Beauty and the Beast is my jam.
This library still makes me swoon.
That said, I felt rather ambivalent when I heard that the next of Disney's live-action remakes was going to be Beauty and the Beast. Anyone who's heard me on the topic knows at least partially what I think of Disney remakes (I may one day have to rant about the disaster that was Maleficent), and I wasn't sure I wanted the unfortunateness of those remakes touching one of my all-time favorite movies. Still, the teaser trailers were gorgeous, and I like Emma Watson, so I was excited nonetheless. I went with a couple of friends on opening weekend and ended up waiting in an actual line to get in (this in a tiny local theater where usually it's busy if more than a dozen people buy tickets for any one showing). There were lots of kids waiting in that line, and it made me realize that this might actually be some people's first time watching Beauty and the Beast. I crossed my fingers and hoped it would live up to the original.
And...well, I was right to be ambivalent.
First of all, the good things:
Again, nailed it!
Those are the good things, and I'm not going to pretend they don't exist simply for the fact that I'm writing this post mostly to rant. The movie is good. I had a great time watching it, and I think there's a lot of amazingness to it. The people who made it clearly cared about the source material, and they wanted their movie to reflect that. A lot of the changes they made were smart changes that added something new to the story.
But the 2017 remake had big shoes to fill, and I'm not quite sure it managed to fill them. Here, IMHO, is where it fell short:
Please don't eat me...
Overall, it is a good time, but you can save yourself the ticket price and watch the 1991 animated movie without missing much.
*A small rant about the LeFou-being-openly-gay thing: I don't feel like I can give Disney full credit for this one. LeFou is not openly gay. Don't misunderstand, he's gay. They don't shy away from that fact. But the openly-gay moment is so quick I actually missed it at first, and I don't think he's "more" gay than any of the other gay Disney characters, like Timone and Pumbaa, or even Lumiere and Cogsworth (which, when I first heard about the first openly gay Disney character making an appearance in this movie, I kind of thought it would be Lumiere and/or Cogsworth). That said, I think the portrayal they give to LeFou, not the least of which includes a few layers and a proper character arc, is awesome. More please!
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