Beauty and the Beast Review
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After months of anxious anticipation, Bill Condon’s modern take on the centuries old story of Beauty and the Beast was released on Friday, March 17th. Despite the too familiar plot, the movie did not disappoint.
Without a doubt, Emma Watson was a terrific choice for Belle. Watson’s thin frame and dark hair naturally resembles the character. Months ago, Watson informed media sources that despite the current corset trend and Belle’s wearing of a corset in the original ‘Beauty and the Beast’ film, she would not be wearing one. She also worked with the producers to create a feminist twist on Belle and transform the traditional objectification of the protagonist into a three dimensional character which was demonstrated in her passion for horseback riding. The only criticism that could be found with the choice of Watson was the overuse of vocal editing during her musical numbers. This was Watson’s first role with singing, a skill it’s fair to say she is still working on. Belle’s love of books and adventure parallels Watson’s most famous role as Hermione Granger in all eight Harry Potter movies. Younger readers of Harry Potter were especially drawn to the film. Similarly, Downton Abbey fans will be excited with choice in cast. Both Dan Stevens and Emma Thompson play integral roles in film.
In addition to the feminist twist, Josh Gad’s role as Le Fou provided controversy. Malaysia, famous for lacking in LGBT rights, refused to release the film because of Le Fou’s blatant sexual attraction to Gaston. Disney refused to cut out the brief scene in which this is made clear and instead opted to pull Malaysia from the list of countries in which the film was released in. After seeing the movie, it’s shocking that this was a complaint given that Le Fou played a small role in the film and the scene where his sexuality is revealed is not even a full minute in length. Disney’s inclusion of the role shows progress for the LGBTQ+ community and may have been created in order to send a political message given the current polarization in American politics today.
The extravagant sets and first few musical numbers kept the audience engaged for the initial hour of the movie. The highlight of the movie is easily the final thirty minutes. Full of action, the audience was on the edge of their seats and tears were not uncommon. The weakest section of the movie was the second hour which was very slow. Despite the arguably too long 2 hour and ten minute film, the romance between Belle and the Beast seemed rushed. The two fell in love after only a handful of conversations.
All in all, the catchy music, gorgeous sets, jaw dropping animation, and talented cast are worth a ten dollar ticket and a two hour commitment.