Make way, make way, the Disney freak is here.
After conflicting schedules from myself, my mother and my grandmother, we finally had a date. It was Beauty and the Beast time.
Belle, the funny girl, that Belle, is a favourite of my grandmother and I. So when I first heard they were remaking it, I was excited, then sceptical, then angry, then just worried.
Disney never disappoints. Well, in my opinion anyway. Every remake I have seen has been a pleasant surprise. (Excluding Jungle Book. I didn’t even review that one). No one has asked for the remakes, but I’m happy with what is created. Plus, I can’t fault the ploy for easy money.
So, the tale as old as time. Did it get a five out of five rating? Well… no. Much to my mother and grandmother’s disgust, I was able to fathom a bit of criticism.
Firstly, did they really have to auto tune Emma Watson so heavily?
Watson was the perfect person to cast. Utterly perfect. What she did for the character and the new angle brought to the story was something that inspired me. THIS is how you do a feminist remake Ghostbusters! She invents, she reads, she’s intelligent, she’s brave: what a perfect princess for young girls to see on screen. If I was a parent I would be perfectly content taking my children to see Emma Watson in action.
But why auto tune her?
Like a friend superbly said, “If they’re going to auto tune her that much, they may as well do what they did in old films and just dub her.” After seeing a nod to Singing in the Rain within the movie, I had to agree. The perfect sound from Watson’s lips was incredibly distracting, and even though there were talking candlesticks, magic mirrors and beasts, it was still the most unrealistic thing in the film.
Furthermore, and it pains me to write this, but the script didn’t always flow. It hurts me to say as Stephen Chbosky was one of two to write the screenplay (the other being Evan Spilotopoulos). This point made my mother scowl the most and I have to admit I scowled at myself after seeing Chbosky in the credits. I simply felt like the merge of the original screenplay with the new dialogue didn’t always gel.
The last problem I had was Belle’s backstory. Belle is one of my favourite princesses, and while I did wonder about her mother, I just assumed is what the usual Disney excuse: she died. And *spoiler alert* she died. What a shock, eh? I understand the writers must have wanted something to bring the Beast and Belle closer, but I felt the execution on this subject was poorly done. I was perfectly content knowing Belle was like her mother, now understanding this is where Belle gets her different personality, but in all honesty, I didn’t really care what had happened to her…
… Will I be turned into a Beast now? Or maybe a toilet brush?
But, overall, it was an enjoyable film. The set design and costumes were stunning and kept the magical, cartoonish vibe throughout. Plus, the cleverly animated furniture wasn’t as terrifying as I thought it would be. And that scene when they turn back into household objects, their faces fading away, Mrs Potts crying out for Chip? Too far Disney – too far!
But we have to talk about the world famous ballroom dance scene. The scene that would make or break the film. I have to admit, it brought goosebumps to my skin, made tear bubble in my eye, and my nose started sniffing. I found the traditional dancing to be a fantastic new twist to this beautiful scene and overall worked well.
The remake even offered answers and fixed plot holes that Disney obsessed YouTubers have been raving about since the start of the internet. Furthermore, I felt Belle’s relationship with the Beast was far more natural and relaxed – so stop calling it Stockholm Syndrome! Moreover, the new songs (which I’m inclined to say are in the stage show) perfectly fit into the remake and, like my mother fantastically put it, “It makes the remake different enough so you don’t constantly compare the old and the new.”
See! I did like it, mum! You proud?
However, I feel it important to address some controversy surrounding Beauty and the Beast. Firstly, Emma Watson’s waist.
Furthermore, LeFou. Was he homosexual or was he heterosexual? Does a simple dance shared between two men make a character gay?
Well, in my opinion, LeFou was perfect. His character was far more morally diverse than his original debut and made himself to be the funniest character in the film. Is it obvious he’s gay? Not exactly, but it is evident he’s incredibly camp. In the last few scenes we see him accidentally dance with a man and they both look happily surprised. The character to whom he ends up with is a man who previously appeared in a dress and looked very happy with himself. Personally, I found LeFou’s sexuality perfectly portrayed throughout the film. What I feel many people forget is that homosexual characters don’t need to shout it from the rooftops, they don’t need to kiss every same sex person around and they don’t need to be stereotyped. What people forget is that Beauty and the Beast is ultimately Belle’s story – not LeFou’s. If the title was LeFou and the Beast then maybe I would understand the disappointment but I was perfectly content in the character portrayed.
Overall, Beauty and the Beast is a must see if you are a Disney lover like myself. Although the original and remake have its differences, each holds its own positives and negatives. I personally find the greatest achievement is Watson’s new feminist Belle. It fits perfectly with the story and I look forward to more headstrong females in Disney films.
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