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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Movie Review:Disney's Beauty & The Beast

Premise:A beautiful bookworm takes her father's place as hostage to a beast who needs to love and be loved by a woman to turn human.

Cast:Paige O'Hara as Belle, Robby Benson as the Beast, Richard White as Gaston, Rex Everhart as Maurice, Jerry Orbach as Lumiere, David Ogden Stiers as Cogsworth, Jesse Corti as Lefou, Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts, Jo Anne Worley as the Wardrobe

Directors:Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise

MPAA Rating:G

Genres:Romance, fantasy, animation

Notes:Poster taken from IMP Awards.

Pros:Great characters. Good animation and story.

Cons:Stockholm syndrome. Confusing timeline.

You know the story:Pretty woman lives with father, father winds up taking shelter in a beast's home, beast holds father hostage, daughter exchanges herself for Dad's freedom. And there just could be spell breaking along the way.

It has been debated how healthy Belle and the Beast's relationship is, with the main point being if her not warming up to him until he acts kinder towards her is justified or if it sends the message an abusive boyfriend will change if you're patient. Just be aware of that.

With that out of the way, let me say I love this movie. The animation is still good even today. And then there are the characters. Neither Beast nor Belle are perfect (the former starts out as kind of scary), but they've got to learn how to get along. And once they do, it is beautiful. The servants are fun and while it's clear they want the couple to love each other because it's good for them, they also have the slightly more selfish but perfectly understandable longing to be human again. And the villain, Gaston, isn't exactly likable, but that doesn't mean he's badly written. To the contrary, he's the right mix of vain, shallow, and actually threatening to improve the story by upping the stakes.

The timeline is a little confusing. The spell is supposed to become permanent when the prince turns 21, and it's stated that the servants have felt useless for 10 years. That would make the prince 11 when the spell was cast, but pictures suggest he was older than that. What is the world is going on with that? Any ideas?

Overall, it is a great movie and deserves its place among Disney's most acclaimed.

Sex:A couple of women wear low-cut outfits. Guys and girls flirt in the background. Gaston brags about his manliness and opens his shirt as he declares that every inch of him is hairy. Several woman swoon over him, except the only one he's really interested in. He harasses Belle (even trying to kiss her) and tries to get her to marry him, but she turns him down.
Lumiere appears to be a ladies man, flirting with a few ladies and talking about courtships. A baker flirts with a pretty customer, who asks how his wife is before the irritated spouse smacks him with a rolling pin. A couple times, guys lose their pants and end up in their boxers. Belle is told she'll look ravishing in a particular dress. A couple kisses. A guy is trapped in a wardrobe for a few seconds before exciting in drag, much to his horror.

Violence:Wolves chase and attack people, leading to a few intense scenes. In one case, a wolf is thrown against a tree and presumably killed. Someone is stabbed. A lot of guys get smacked dizzy. Two characters in particular tend to be on the receiving end of comical abuse.
Gaston is a hunter, using guns and arrows to kill his prey. He wrestles with several guys. Beast throws furniture around and shouts at Belle, at least once seriously frightening her. Characters run through a dark and creepy forest. Someone falls to their presumed death.
Fire is used as a weapon, as is hot tea. A guy is swallowed by a chest. Beast gets slashes that in one scene are actually bleeding. It's rumored a creature will kill children. There's a comedic battle near the end, contrasting the more serious climax.

Drugs/Alcohol:One scene takes place in a bar, complete with foamy cups of beer. Wine is served with meals. References are made to spitting (though not actual tobacco). Gaston is offered beer, but he says it won't help.

Language/Insults:Not much worse than "beast". Cogsworth and Lumiere trade a few insults, which is played for laughs.

Spiritual:The Beast got the way he is because he snubbed an enchantress in disguise. She left him two magical items:A rose to let him know how much time he has left until the curse becomes permanent, and a mirror to let him see anything happening in the present.
It's called sinful that Belle doesn't fit in. There are off-hand uses of phrases like "devil may care" and "thank the Lord". Statues of dragons and gargoyles as well as cherub paintings appear in the background.

So what was your opinion?

© 2015 by M.R.R.

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