Saturday, March 18, 2017
Tale as Old as Time . . . My review of Beauty and the Beast.
Last night was a cold, and dreary night. It was rainy, snowing, and it was also March 17. The very night I've been waiting on for months. Why? Opening night for Beauty and the Beast. Like you've most likely done, I read all of the articles concerning the sinister ways of this movie. I'm one who wants to see for themselves, rather than rely on the opinion on another, so I still wanted to go see this movie.
I entered the theater with a completely open mind, trying my best to not form an opinion based on a pre-existing bias due to words written by others. And I am so glad I have been taught to think for myself. This movie is nothing short of pure Disney magic. The acting is fantastic, the imagery is second to none, the CGI is outstanding. This movie maintains the sense of magical fantasy that is so innately Disney.
Let me address some "issues" that have been brought up in other blog posts or articles. I'll try to do this chronologically as they occur in the movie.
1.) Several have been appalled at a woman during the market scene who is wearing a cleavage revealing dress. She is purchasing food, and the butcher/baker/whatever guy asks her how her day is, and she in turns asks how his wife is. They are up in arms over her dress, and the fact a married man is flirting. If you would like to see this for yourself, before going to watch the live action movie, then please watch the ORIGINAL CLASSIC cartoon. It is nearly step for step the EXACT same opening sequence of the original classic, except I'm pretty sure in the classic cartoon, the lady's dress reveals MORE skin.
2.) It is said Le Fou is in love with Gaston, and jealous of his affinity toward women. In one beginning scene they say Le Fou sneers at some girls who are falling over themselves to be with Gaston, and that he does so because he's in love with him himself. Then he turns to those girls, sneer on his face and tells them to forget it because it's never going to happen. Folks....this is NOT the case! He and Gaston are singing/conversing about Gaston's affection toward Belle. Le Fou is telling him he needs to forget about Belle, that there are other women out there who would marry Gaston. Gaston is very adamant about wanting to marry Belle. The women are acting all kinds of crazy, trying to get Gaston's attention. At this point, Le Fou looks to them and lets them know it's not going to happen. NOT because HE is in love with Gaston, but because Gaston loves BELLE. The articles I read completely twisted this. Perception is key I suppose, and everyone has their own way of viewing things. I suppose if I had gone in with the mentality that Le Fou is gay from the start, etc...I could possible contrive that to be a plot to try to gain Gaston's affection himself. But honestly, that's truly grasping at straws and trying to get other writer's the benefit of the doubt. I directly asked M his thoughts on that part, and he never even conjured up a "gay" idea about it. Even after I told him WHY I was asking, he still didn't get that feeling.
2.) Bestiality and Enchantresses: What is a Disney movie without magic?! Fairy Godmothers, evil queens, talking/walking mermaids. I mean...seriously? Is this some kind of new revelation that is shocking to people? She has a very minimal role. She curses the prince early on, and this is what makes him into a beastly creature, and turns all who live in the castle into inanimate objects-such as a mantle clock and candelabra. The bestiality is really pushing it. Yes, beast is a beast. Yes, Belle does fall in love with him. But she doesn't fall in love with an animal, she falls in love with a cursed human whose outwardly appearance is atrocious, but whose inner beauty is able to shine through. This is also a story that teaches you can't force people to love you or be friends with you, people must be free to make their own choices.
3.) It is said Gaston is looking into a mirror lovingly at himself, and he says "I'm not finished with you." And the article says Le Fou is at a distance and says, "Me neither." This DOES NOT HAPPEN THIS WAY! I have NO idea why anyone would even write that! It's a blatant falsehood! Le Fou goes to Gaston, who most definitely is talking to his reflection in a mirror in a very vain and narcissistic manner. It could be argued he's speaking to himself, or he's trying to practice what he wants to say to Belle. Le Fou tells him they need to get going, and that's when Gaston looks in the mirror and says that phrase. THEN, Le Fou looks into the same mirror, mimics Gaston's facial expressions, and says, "Me Neither!" He is NOT from a distance, and it is never implied at all that Le Fou is speaking to or about Gaston. Le Fou acts like a star struck person who has been a no body his whole life. Gaston is his validation of self, and his hero. He looks up to Gaston as someone who can do no wrong. He looks up to him as a role model, and someone he wants to be one day. THAT is how it is implied during this scene. It's like someone who is trying to be their hero, and his emulating the behavior he's witnessing to try and be closer to what he thinks is ideal.
4.) I can't remember if this part happened after the mirror thing, or before. So I'm putting it here. the tavern scene is much more mild in the live action movie than the cartoon. I will link you to the cartoon scene, and in it Gaston boasts that he is covered in every square inch with hair, as he rips open his shirt and reveals a hair covered torso. The patrons of this tavern are swinging steins filled with beer or some type of ale, and they are going into what could be deemed a drunken frenzy. At one point Gaston says, "no one bites like Gaston!" as he bites the leg of another man-again all of this is in the classic cartoon version. In the live action version, there's not bared chest or abdomen, no mention of hair that I can recall-but if it was, I missed it because it's not a huge prominent feature like in the cartoon. And Le Fou says no one bites like Gaston, lifts his shirt and there's a bite mark on his stomach. And this part comes directly after saying no one can wrestle like Gaston. If you want to take that as a gay moment, then so be it. OR you could see it like they were sparring, and that's how they worked in the bite into the live action movie, rather than have him actually bite someone during filming. It definitely is NOT a ring of bite marks as told by others. It looks like one large mark, and is shown as a laughing thing.
5.) Transgender cross dressing. I have to laugh at this. Did everyone forget the show Bosom Buddies where two friends must dress as women to live in an all women's housing apartment? That show was funny because it broke a stereotype, and we see Tom Hanks trying to pretend to be a woman to live in a cheap rent apartment. During the main fight seen, the wardrobe throws all kinds of ribbon, satin, etc. at 3 men who are charging up the steps. Two of them are horrified to see they are in dresses. And the other stops and kind of dances around like he's thinking, "I'm so pretty...oh so pretty!" and that's why it's funny. It's completely unexpected and then he runs off.
6.) Le Fou says he is not on Gaston's side anymore, and he says they are having problems. Then Mrs. Pots tells him that he's too good for Gaston anyway. Again, context is huge. Le Fou has spent an untold amount of time thinking Gaston as some kind of heroic man who can do no wrong. He'd never lie, cheat, steal, etc...until he does. Now Le Fou is seeing him for the villain he really is, and he's conflicted. Gaston was his hero, the one who he wanted to emulate. Gaston is his measuring stick for how to live his life, so to speak. And now suddenly, he's seeing a different, dark and ugly side of Gaston. Gaston forces him to lie. Gaston hits Belle's dad, ties him up and leaves him for dead. Gaston puts Belle in the same carriage as her dad to be taken off to an insane asylum. Then Gaston charges the Beast's castle just to kill him because he has Belle's affection. ALL of this is against Le Fou. And we see Le Fou change from being at the every beck and call of Gaston, to where he starts to think and do on his own, and makes a decision that he no longer wants to help Gaston.
7.) The exclusively "Gay Moment." I would like to take this moment to invite the direction who everyone says is trying to push a gay agenda on everyone to please email me and tell me how he's trying to do that. Because if that's his idea behind this movie, he failed miserably. The so called Gay moment happens at the end, during the final dance scene. They are having a Ball, and everyone is dancing. The dance is one of those where everyone spins around and they change dance partners with each turn. Somehow Le Fou and the "I'm so pretty" dress guy end up spinning into each other and they have a look of what I call shock sort of. And the entire part lasts less than a second. It's so fast, that literally if you blink you will miss the whole thing. Again, I asked M his thoughts about it, and he said it was pretty funny to see Le Fou who couldn't get any female attention, after being so obviously jealous of all the attention Gaston gets, to end up with dress guy for a spin. He took it as a funny moment, not a gay moment.
They say any publicity is good publicity, especially if it is free. And Disney has certainly gotten a lot of that. People who wouldn't have otherwise went to the movie have, or will, because they want to see what all of the jazz is about. They will find themselves immersed in the magic and fantasy of a true Disney love story peppered with humor and filled with amazing imagery. Luke Evans as Gaston steals the show, in my opinion, and Emma Watson is a beautiful and wonderful Belle. Dan Stevens does an excellent job at showcasing the evolution of Beast, and Josh Gad's role of Le Fou is fantastic. Go see this for yourself, without the biased mindset of what you have read online. This live action movie pales in comparison to the inappropriateness of the cartoon! We really need to go back to a society comprised of people who think for themselves, rather than people who rely on the basis of social media shares to form opinions. If you go into the film thinking this is a film to promote a gay agenda, then that's exactly what you will take away. If you go into the film thinking it is going to be a remake of a Disney classic, then that is exactly what you will take away. I did not personally see anything that made me feel as if it was inappropriate one way or another, nor did I see anything implied or pushed.