Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017): The Girl gets her Library

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Image from Disney

If you can believe it, I did not see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991) in theaters.  I don’t even remember why now.  I did of course, see it when it came out on VHS.  For me, it transformed what I thought a princess could be.  I remember watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and to this day I cannot stand Snow White.  She always seemed to be waiting for someone to rescue her…her prince to come and give her purpose or someone to save her from the Wicked Queen.  I was more interested in the villain as she took charge…she died, yes, but she lived a little first.  Before Belle, I adored Cinderella.  She wasn’t looking for a man as much as a way out of situation, I thought.  Although, Prince Charming wasn’t much in the brain department.  I mean, you can’t just look at a woman and know she was the one you danced with and have decided to marry?  You really need a glass slipper?  Were they maybe wearing masks? Was he blind? Is it the Superman phenomenon?  Something I initially overlooked at a young age, I guess.

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1991 Beauty and the Beast – Image from Disney

Watching the animated version of Beauty and the Beast I was intrigued by this girl who didn’t want to get married, wanted to be something more and she loved to read.  It could be me…”strange and peculiar,” as I have been called.  And, this prince gives her a library and she loves him not for his look (though his personality was a bit on the prickly side, let’s be honest).  It was the princess I could relate to and so began the collecting Beauty and the Beast knick-knacks (I am sure you will see them on my Instagram account at some point).

When I heard they were going to do a live version of Beauty and the Beast at first I wanted to cry.  They were going to ruin my favourite animation!  I felt a bit better knowing that it was still going to be done by Disney, as they would not change it much, I hoped.  I became sold when I heard that Emma Watson was going to play Belle.  She’s Hermione, a book reader,  a feminist and a true beauty!  What could go wrong?

I was a bit anxious about seeing Beauty and the Beast…what if I expected too much out of it and end up hating it.  I finally was brave enough to see it last Sunday (April, 2) with two of my friends.  Being that it was a Sunday night, the theater was basically ours.  I held my breath as the movie started, but five minutes in I was mesmerized.  Hooked! The movie was faithful to the original, but did expand on some points (like what happened to Belle’s mother, and the prince’s parents).  It was everything I expected.  And, as the credits started to roll, I was grinning like an idiot.  I loved it!

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Emma Watson as Bell. Image from Disney

Emma Watson was fabulous as Belle.  She seemed to understand the character – she kept her smart and sweet like the previous movie, but gave her more a bit more spunk and things to do.  This time Belle was an inventor who didn’t just accept her circumstances. AND, that scene in the library…her organizing it, just made me misty eyed.  If I am ever held hostage I hope I have a library to organize.   I will leave her singing ability to the music critics…I will say that I liked her singing fine for this movie.

For me, Beauty and the Beast has never been about the Beast/Prince.  So I knew whoever they picked would not make or break the film for me.  The actor, whose name fails me, was okay. I did like his personality better in this film – okay one spoiler – he reads!  That makes him very sexy in my book (see what I did 😉  Another confession, I totally had the hots for Gaston in this movie.  Luke Evans who plays Gaston, is very gorgeous, in my opinion.  Bravo, on the very good casting on Gaston.  But dang I wanted him to be the prince…slight distraction.  Evans was great as the obnoxious Gaston and at singing.  I follow him on Instagram and he seems really nice so that only made me want him to be the Beast.   Really though, there wasn’t a bad performance in this movie.  The actors were great at their characters.  I will say that there is no consistent accent in this movie – there is British, French, American and…fake French.  I have already made plans to go see it one more time in the theater before I buy it on DVD. (Judge away)  Knowing all my biases – I can only say SEE THIS MOVIE!!!!

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