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REVIEW: Beauty and the Beast

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Story By: Lucy Govoni and Cerella Farinholt

After hearing extensive hype about the new, live-action version of Beauty And The Beast, Register staff members Lucy Govoni and Cerella Farinholt set out to decide if the beloved“tale as old as time” had truly stood the test of time.  Would the film allow Belle, the Beast, and the audience rediscover their age-old love? Would Emma Watson be able to shake her famous character of Hermione Granger  Or would the big budget, and live-action screening fail to do the classic fairy tale justice?  

Lucy: Before going to see Beauty and the Beast I was aware of the controversies circling  the movie. Emma Watson, the actress who plays Belle and is a Women’s Goodwill ambassador for the United nations had been accused of not being a feminist for taking the role and posing in Vanity Fair in a dress that showed her cleavage. While Emma Watson has been respected as a feminist icon by her fans her name is being tarnished by the media due to the fact that she chose to pose for Vanity Fair. Regardless of that I woke up on a sunny Sunday morning and picked up Cerella Farinholt, my friend and fellow reporter who happened to live down the street and headed to Palace 9 cinema.

Cerella: We rolled up to Palace 9  in the nick of time, along with a plethora of 8 year olds and their respective families. We raced into the theater, armed with a bag gummy worms, our 3D glasses, and a firm set of, admittedly high, nostalgia-driven expectations.

After much speculation, we selected top-notch seats in the middle of the back, and settled down to enjoy the show.  The lights dimmed, and we were instantaneously whisked into a fantastical new dimension.  The film’s generous budget of 160 mill was apparent in the film’s first few seconds, evident in the opening number’s stunning sets and costumes.  The costumes were striking: a bold, yet honest revival of Beauty and the Beast’s iconic fairy tale garb. The iconic blue dress and apron, and the yellow ball gown were completely true to the animated classic.

Lucy: The main reason why the movie was interesting was due to the fact that I could put an actual face to the animated version of the characters. In my opinion Emma Watson was the perfect Belle, and the strapping Luke Evans from the 2016 movie Girl on the Train was expertly cast as Gaston. I had slight apprehension thinking about how the Beast would look in live action, however his costume did not look tacky or odd. The directors chose to CGI the face, and his costume blended in with the atmosphere of the movie. The sets were also seamlessly translated from animation to live action. I was amazed by how accurate the set was to the cartoon version that Art Directors James Foster and Nick Gottschalk created.  This accuracy eliminated the guess work of trying to decide which set matched with the animated various.

Cerella: Beauty And The Beast had big shoes to fill.  The nostalgia and emotion already associated with the story forced the film film to achieve a perfect balance between reviving and enhancing the classic fairy tale.  Through breathtaking visuals, impeccable casting, and seamlessly placed political statements, the film gifted society with a fresh take on a classic romance.

Lucy: Despite being an innocent kid’s movie, Beauty and the Beast movie hosts a surprising amount of controversies. Other than the Emma Watson’s previously mentioned controversy, LeFou, the facetious and clumsy sidekick to Gaston was also swept up in a controversy.  Played by Josh Gad, it becomes apparent throughout the film that LeFou was re-imagined as a gay character. In the last scene of the movie he is shown waltzing across the dance floor with another man. This upset anti gay people, and the LGBTQ community alike. The anti gay constituency who feel that a gay character is not suitable for a children’s movie, and the LGBTQ + community who feel that the bumbling sidekick is a poor portrayal of a gay man.  While I was watching the movie I honestly could not see how the depiction of the gay character could be seen as being in poor taste. The only physical contact two men made were when they were dancing, or when they were fighting each other. And the kind of physical contact I could understand parents not liking would be the violent kind.

Regardless of this, the movie was charming for it was, a silly and enjoyable family movie that will make even the gruffest beast remember what it’s like to be a kid.

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