Good afternoon everyone! I am pausing ‘Life and Death’ for this review and this has the added bonus of delaying the awful scene where Beau has his ‘date’ with Edythe. Blergh!
So on with this review. I know it’s been out for over a month now so this is probably pretty late but my Mum was working nights and was too busy fighting consciousness to be up to seeing the film and didn’t think she would appreciate me elbowing her in the ribs if she fell asleep during the film. So now my Mum is able to stay conscious during the day we went off to the cinema to see how one of my favourite Disney films was adapted for live action.
I did enjoy it! Yet, I am still a bitter harpy who criticises all that is good in this world so there will be moaning criticism. However, let’s go through each point.
This section is to discuss the acting and actors who appeared in the film as the title suggests but there will be two characters who will have their own section as there is lots to discuss.
I thought Luke Evans made a fantastic Gaston! He fulfilled the arrogant, peacock persona perfectly. I honestly thought he was perfect and I loved it as I love Gaston as a villain. He was fleshed out and I just loved him even more, especially during the ‘The Mob Song’ as that is a perfect villain song and he sang it with pure venom and gusto.
I also thought Dan Stevens was brilliant and he was one of the actors I was concerned about as I always thought his performance as Matthew Crawley in ‘Downton Abbey’ was wooden and dull. I never liked his character as the acting was scarily dull. I know most won’t agree with me, my aunt loved him but she was obsessed with Downton so I don’t think she would ever have criticised anything about it. However, in this film I thought he made a perfect Beast. He was cocky and arrogant in the beginning which seemed very real. Yet as the film progresses, so does his character. There is far more characterisation and Dan Stevens portrays him as a witty, intelligent and a kind person. He doesn’t just flip from grumpy to good but there is genuine character growth.
I was also impressed with Lumiere, Cogsworth and everyone else who was turned into objects. Sir Ian McKellen was a perfect choice for Cogsworth as he could produce that bossy yet middle class accent that fit well to the character. I was concerned about Ewan McGregor as Lumiere for reasons unknown to me. My baseless concerns were completely unfounded as he played the flirty candle to perfection.
I wasn’t keen on Emma Thompson’s portrayal as Mrs Potts as she seemed to be trying too hard to sound like the awesome that is Angela Lansbury. I don’t want a carbon copy of the old characters, both McKellen and McGregor made those roles their own but I just felt that I was seeing a copy-cat of the previous Mrs Pott with Thompson not attempting to put her stamp on the role. It honestly grated me and I would rather that Angela Lansbury just came back to voice the role again. I know it would look odd for a ninety-year old woman to have a young son but meh, she could be his guardian. I can dream!!
Next up is Josh Gad. I was dreading his portrayal as he really gets on my nerves and if you have read my review of ‘Frozen’ then you’ll know why:
THIS THINGS HAUNTS MY DREAMS!!!!
One day I will force him into a slushy machine and laugh maniacally. I know he isn’t real but let me dream.
I hate that Goddamn snowman so much, so I just instantly associate Josh Gad with that God awful creature. It also didn’t help that I saw a countdown of the greatest Disney songs and his awful song was in the top ten. Gad kept going on about how ‘Frozen’ is the best thing ever and how that pustule (I refuse to name it) was one of the best parts about it. He went on and on and on and on and on about the awesome that is that trash of a film. I honestly wanted to puke and throw things at the same time. So yes, I’m sure you can see why I was not looking forward to hearing that voice in a movie I was excited about.
Well, I was partially wrong. I thought he was much better with his portrayal of Le Fou then I thought he would. He was still a sycophantic twit but he played that well. His rendition of ‘Gaston’ was very good and had the umph that the original had. They made him more sympathetic and had him change sides when Gaston basically dumps him.
However, I do have issues with his character and that is the statement that he is Disney’s first openly gay character.
I must ask to those who opposed of this and said that Disney shouldn’t sexualise children’s films: HOW ON EARTH DID YOU NEVER REALISE IN THE ORIGINAL?!?! It was so obvious in the original that how people were shocked was beyond me.
What gets to me was that they announced it as such a huge thing, which under the right circumstances should be a huge thing as it would be nice to see an openly gay character in a Disney film as shockingly enough, gay people do exist and representation is a step in the right direction when it is a good representation. Yet, when it was realised that it was just Le Fou awkwardly and accidentally dancing with a man for twenty seconds and his constant slobbering over Gaston is considered land mark then I would say meh and are you freaking kidding me?!
Le Fou, may have been given slightly more molarity then his cartoon counterpart but still. He is just a walking talking stereotype. He loves singing and dancing, he is in love with his good looking straight friend and then dances with the one man who seemed to love being dressed as a woman by the attacking wardrobe. As gay men love dressing as women, am I right?
It just seems very stereotypical and lazy to me to boast about an openly gay character, who isn’t even open about his sexuality! He never ever says that he is gay and avoids the topic when Gaston asks him why the women of the town haven’t snapped him up. That isn’t open, yes the time period would explain why he isn’t open but there is also a goat man living down the road so who knows! I feel like Disney thought that to get the hype for the film then they needed to be controversial which again is sad as it’s 2017 and homosexuality shouldn’t be controversial now but sadly it is to many out there. Then they have the gall to back track and say it isn’t a big scene to prevent certain countries for banning it due to homosexual content which would naturally attack their pockets. Make up your mind! It just seems offensive to me that once again a gay man is being used as the goofy sidekick created for the giggles. If Disney wants to make huge statements like that then why not create a character who isn’t a walking stereotype to laugh at but a fully-fledged character who is gay. I think it needs to be a nice mix of acknowledging a character’s sexuality to add to representation but also a character who is not defined as being homosexual as their only character trait. The minute that the nameless villager seemed pleased to be dressed as a woman, I knew that he would be the one to have the seconds lasting dance with Le Fou. It was depressing to be proven right. It felt like:
HAHA!! HE LIKES DRESSING AS A WOMAN BECAUSE HE IS GAY!! LAUGH DAMMIT!!! LAUGH!!
Stereotypes are annoying and it is 2017, let’s see decent representation for once.
Enough of me ranting here, I have other issues to rant about such as:
I had a feeling when it was announced that I wouldn’t like Emma Watson’s portrayal as Belle. In my own personal opinion, I really can’t stand her as an actress. I find her very wooden, stuffy and patronising. I really cannot stand her portrayal of Hermione Granger as I just wanted to slap her for her constant attitude and Mary Sueness. I honestly tried to keep my mind open to her playing Belle. I really did!
I still didn’t like her. If I was the Baker, I would have thrown a stale loaf at her head when she mocks him for his boring and provincial life. I did love that he looked at her with real shade when she said that. It was beautiful. I know she was singing the original lines but she just came across as even more patronising and snotty than the original. I kept thinking that the reason why people don’t like you Belle and think you’re odd is because you walk around with your skirt tucked into your bloomers which would be like me strolling around town with my skirt tucked into my knickers on purpose.
Me being a bitter shrew-harpy hybrid did laugh when she loves ‘Romeo and Juliet’ as such a wonderful romance. You are meant to be well read and intelligent, it is not a goddamn romance!!! Shakespeare was making a point about how stupid teenagers are about their first loves. My God!! Know your literature!! Pointless rant there, maybe, but I don’t care as it annoyed me.
I found Emma Watson as wooden and patronising as Belle as much as Hermione. She looked like she was crying for the sake of it when the Beast died and I didn’t get any emotion from her acting. It just felt like she was crying because she was told too. She had an air of complete superiority to those around her and I don’t find that likeable.
I felt like I was drowning in Mary Sues. I felt the changes to make Belle into an inventor and removing Chip as the saviour at the end to making Belle the hero after being locked away was just a constant drum beat of:
BELLE IS AMAZING, INTELLIGENT, BEAUTIFUL AND MORE AMAZING!!! WORSHIP HER AND LICK HER BOOTS!!!
I have said it numerous times, I will not blindly love a character because I am told too. I also hate characters that have no flaws what so ever and Belle has zero. They are just faux-flaws such as being odd but that just means that she is so special and different than all those bloody plebs.
It truly is a comfort to know that as a film set in pre-revolutionary France where we see Belle become an aristocrat means that she will be guillotined in Paris. Vive la Révolution!
In conclusion to that rant I would say that my concerns with Emma Watson were completely founded but that is my opinion. My Mum loved her.
I think the songs were artfully done, especially those that focused on Gaston. Have I mentioned how awesome he is? Yes, well I am doing it again. ‘Gaston’ truly brought the old hunting pub scene to life, I loved the feet stamping as it seemed to fit the song perfectly. The same as ‘The Mob Song’ as I explained earlier. I did enjoy Belle’s songs but it did seem auto-tuned to an inch of its life when it came to Belle. I can’t sing, I sound like a bag of cats hitting the wall but even I could tell that Watson was a weak singer. I just wonder if Disney should go for people who are trained in acting and singing rather than a well-known face to put bums on seats as famous doesn’t always equal great.
There were some new songs added that appeared in the Broadway adaption but I am creature of habit (Aspergers) so I personally wasn’t keen on the new songs as I don’t like new songs in a piece that I know well as it confuses me and therefore bores me.
My other criticism is that ‘Gaston Reprise’ wasn’t included which made me very sad as I love that bit.
All in all, though the songs were theatrical and fabulous!
We had some extra plot thrown in as the original was only 89 minutes and this had to hit at least two hours. Some good and some well, not so much.
The first addition I liked was extending the opening scene. I enjoyed seeing the prince as a pampered popinjay who laughed in an old lady’s face while he frolicked at his ball as it added growth and solved one of the big issues with the original. There has always been dispute over the Beast’s real age which led to many believing he was eleven when cursed and was just following standard Stranger Danger protocol. This film fixed that though as he was an adult when cursed but the Beast was frozen in time. This always helped with the gaping plot hole of how nobody seemed to notice a whacking great castle on the door step of a village as it was explained that the villager’s minds were wiped of all knowledge of the castle and its inhabitants. I like filling in plot holes, it makes me very happy as continuity is important.
I have gone a whole paragraph without complaining. This must be fixed at once!
I was not keen on the backstory of Belle’s deceased mother. Don’t get me wrong, this is a huge trope in Disney due to Walt Disney’s personal history where he felt responsible for his mother’s death when he bought his parent’s house but the gas pipes were faulty and she died as a result. I felt like I was being smacked in the head with a log with the constant decrees that Belle’s mother was so special and different and amazing and unique and special again and again. This is why Belle is so special but it is a truth universally known that mothers of Mary Sue’s have to be dead as they are Sue’s themselves so the universe would implode if two existed at the same time but Sue Law also decrees that the Sue Mother must die tragically for the current Mary Sue to piss and moan about. The key to the Sue Law is that the Mary Sue never knew the Special Sue Mother as that provides more angst. The Sue Law is absolute.
This is why I am convinced Belle will have a daughter before the guillotine as any child of hers would be a raging Mary Sue and for the safety of the universe one must go.
We also found out that the Sue Mother (she has no name, unless I forgot as I didn’t care, so she is now the Sue Mother) died of the Plague as it needed to be dramatic to provide extra angst as the Beast seems to have a TARDIS for some strange reason. I don’t know why, reasons I guess. So we get to see the Sue Mother die of the Plague while Belle tries to look sad but she is probably just pleased so she didn’t have to fight to the death for the role of Head Sue. I did look at it up and it seems like dying of the Plague in pre-revolutionary France was rare as it pretty much died out a 100 years before. Meh, Sue Mother needed to die dramatically as the common cold wouldn’t be angsty enough. It just seemed like pointless filler to me and I smelt like Mary Sue all day (it’s sickly sweet, if you must know).
I honestly did enjoy the film and would watch it again. It was a clever reimagining of the original and I am sure I will like it far more than the adaptation of ‘Mulan’. Honestly, how can you not put the songs in it!? How else will I know what makes a man?
Enough nonsense, I did enjoy this but I will still not call it perfect and worship it as there were glaring issues with this film and I hope I have highlighted them well. However, I will still keep my dream of Belle being beheaded as that is just me.
Next time, I will finally finish that awful chapter of ‘Life and Death’. Wish me luck!!