I am so behind the times. Like, ridiculously so. I used to go see movies all the time, and would often see them on opening weekends. But in addition to the sadness of not seeing any of the the Oscar movies this year, I hadn’t really seen a movie in the theaters in a long long time…period. There just wasn’t time with kids. Or we had other things going on. Or I had plans with people that fell through. And that’s what happened with Beauty and the Beast – I was originally supposed to go with my cousins, and then things got crazy busy and when it approached the weekend we were supposed to go, none of us could do it.
So I guess I should thank my lucky stars that Beauty and the Beast did so well because when I finally had an opportunity to see it in theaters with my mom in LATE MAY (that’s right (2 months after it came out), it was still playing a couple places. But then when we got on the planes for our recent vacation this month, which included two short flights and two longer flights, and Beauty and the Beast was playing on BOTH of the longer flights. I guess they knew they had a guaranteed winner there.
So, because we’re already at the point where the movie is already out on blu-ray and DVD, chances are you’ve already seen it. Especially if you’re a woman under the age of 45. Or have children. Or like Disney movies. The point is – the people who wanted to see it already have probably seen it, and those who haven’t seen it aren’t likely to be persuaded by my recommendation coming in months later.
That’s right – I’m recommending it, because it’s a fun movie. It’s not super awesome – there are some awkward parts that made me cringe, and having been a child at the time that the animated original came out, the fact that they hewed so closely to the original movie just feels like pandering to the audience of nostalgic 30-somethings. But it’s definitely enjoyable. Some of the cast have better singing voices than others. We already knew Ewan McGregor (my Scottish forever-celebrity crush) could sing based on his appearance in movies like Moulin Rouge, so his take on Lumiere and “Be Our Guest” was in good hands. Emma Watson is fine, if not revelatory in her singing. Dan Stevens surprised me, especially with his song towards the end of the movie. Granted, I think he had some vocal modulation already done on his voice to make it more “beast-like”, but it was still a great song – exciting and emotional.
Beyond the music, it’s a very pretty movie to look at. The costumes are excellent and the set decoration is completely on point. The CGI on characters like the Beast and his servants is decent, not distracting too much from the fact that the characters aren’t really there. It’s one of those things where it’s good enough, and Emma Watson’s reactions to them are good enough that you forget that she was likely reacting to someone in a ridiculous get-up, or nothing at all. Thank goodness she spent a decade on the Harry Potter movies to get practice!
One of the things that I remember being talked about a lot was an “exclusively gay moment” in the film. People were freaking out. So it was something that I looked for when I was at the movies. Uh guys – it was like 2 or 3 seconds. Barely enough to get excited about on either side. I suppose if you’re hoping for more non-straight representation in film, it was something, though there were a lot of other questionable gay insinuations in the movie that made it feel like it was shoe-horned in to make the being gay ok? And if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want that in a kids movie – get over yourself, because it was only 2-3 seconds, and I literally would not have noticed it unless I was looking for it really hard.
So yeah. Beauty and the Beast. Not bad. Definitely pandering to people my age. But still enjoyable. Who wants to tell me what they loved best in the movie, because don’t lie – you saw it too.
Details: Beauty and the Beast; written by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos, directed by Bill Condon. Available on Blu-Ray and DVD.