Saturday, March 25, 2017

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Plot: Belle (Emma Watson) and her Dad Maurice (Kevin Kline) live an 18th Century French village. Maurice (Kevin Kline) is attacked by wolves in the winter and, wondering through the snow, comes upon a haunted castle. At the castle a Beast (Dan Stevens) attacks and imprisons him. Alerted by an intelligent horse to her father's situation, Belle rides back to the castle, and takes her father's place as prisoner. The beast treats her beastly, but gradually they begin to be nice to each other, and the story ends like a fairy tale. [imdb]    [photos]


First, I am a sucker for a musical, and this one is lots of fun. I especially like the big production numbers. I also liked the

Second, I don't mind remakes. The animation from the 1991 version shows its age. Most of the songs in the old version have stronger vocalists, and sound great.  The new version did not need to be so literal; they kept many of the not funny jokes in the lyrics.

Third, the plot is still a hostage falling in love with her captor. No matter how they try to hide it, it is creepy to celebrate the love story between a young girl and her physically-stronger, captor. I can help thinking of Jaycee Dugard, who was raped by her captor regularly for 18 years. Having said that, Disney tries to clean it up for children.

The lesson author de Villeneuve was trying to express was something like you can't judge a person by  its appearance. (See what I did there? I used "its" to refer to a gender neutral person.) This is valuable, and it is played up by the mixed race cast. It is undercut by the beast turning into a handsome prince, rather than a plain one. The movie has homophobic tropes in it as well as pro-homosexual ones, especially at the end. 

Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Hattie Morahan,

Directed by:
Bill Condon

The Music:
Great. All the songs from the 1991 classic and a few new ones. 

The Visuals:
 Luminere and Cogsworth are great. I like the wolf fights too. 

2.5 stars: It is a 3 star movie less ½ star for being about kidnapping girls. 


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