la belle et la bete (2014)

10

Are you not afraid to d a n c e with me?

I saw the Beauty and the Beast remake for the second time, and afterward I was like, goddamn it, I’ve got to go home and make a post about how it’s a good movie. I’ve gotta.

I liked it even better the second time. There’s only like three things I could possibly nitpick about it, but I feel so nice about this movie after the shitshow that was La Belle et la Bete 2014 that I don’t even want to be a critic.

It was good!! It’s my exact shit, I admit it freely.

the screenplay is fantastic - surprisingly funny and so nicely rooted in its allusions to its source materials, referencing not only the 90′s Disney version, but all these different versions of beauty and the beast that came before

  • -> Maurice saying “huh!” and staring at the disembodied hands holding the candelabrum outside the Beast’s Castle doors, straight out of the 1946 version
  • -> Belle leading the Beast toward a skittish horse for the first time in years, a scene straight out of Robin McKinley’s Beauty
  • -> the “strangely cultured lion-man,” all the Shakespeare/poetry readings, straight from the 80′s TV show Beauty and the Beast

What I’m saying is, they did their research, not just about the Disney version, but about how to merge what everybody knows about it with all the versions that have ever been made. It was so nice. It made me feel very good.

every character has this added emotional depth and sense of realism:

  • -> the rare care taken with exploring the Beast and Belle - their relationships to their fathers, their relationships to their dead mothers, their shared feeling of estrangement from everyone they know, their shared interests and mirroring body language. Everything was so good.
  • -> the thematic element of gendered intergenerational abuse © the Beast’s father
  • -> Belle’s introduction as innovative and proactive, her teaching the girl to read because she has extra time due to her intellectual innovations
  • -> the welcome change to the Beast’s personality/interests, making him appear (imo) to be much more Belle’s match
  • -> the nice time spent on the developing relationship, and the teleportation to Paris to give them something to bond over: YES
  • -> that the Beast was a bad adult and genuinely, 100% responsible for the curse, and not cursed when he was a 11-year-old child
  • -> the Beast gets a song, which isn’t the one he sings in the Broadway version for some reason, but I mean… I’m never going to say “no” to a male lead singing about how he’ll wait in a tower forever to be saved by the dashing heroine, that’s not a thing that I will ever do
  • -> Maurice’s poignant song at his introduction, setting the great tone for how likable and lovable he would be as a character. Also: his reaction to the denizens of the castle being “NOPE” was the best ever
  • -> the servants’ deeper relationships and their sense of loss and responsibility for the situation
  • -> the explanation of the town’s strange relationship with the castle made very clear
  • -> the way the townspeople didn’t all seem to be small-minded during the first song, they all seemed to have different opinions about Belle
  • -> Luke Evan’s Gaston is the best thing that ever happened to me - at once more believable and frightening than he’d ever been before, but still somehow just as hilarious. That Gaston almost murders Maurice at one point finally differentiated his character as a different moral creature from the Beast, which never really happens to my satisfaction in the 1991 version. (When I watch the 1991 film, I always wonder what makes Gaston so different from the Beast, especially with all the stark parallels, like them both wrongfully imprisoning Belle’s father, and I’m stuck with that question pretty unanswered at the end. In this new movie, Gaston is a genuine murderous scoundrel, and the Beast openly apologizes for ever thinking Belle’s father was a criminal, so I’m less puzzled.) 
  • -> LeFou was outstanding, in every way improved from the original. So funny. I loved the depth his moral compass gave that section of the plot, and I liked that he recovered at the end.

I don’t know, it was like every character was dunked in a little bit more of a delicious Character Complexity Potion. Pretty much everybody was a little bit more 3-dimensional, and the movie had a great heart to it.

the fucking great way parts of the movie felt like watching one of my wizard romance books. The Beast was super charming, when he’d never been amusing before. His looks bothered me in the trailers, but I changed my mind as the movie went on. And he had that perfect Beast voice, like a walking incarnation of all the gentler book versions of the Beast who had rarely made their way to cinema before. He was so fake-petty-mean and sardonic, his little comments… I don’t know, the Beast is funny as shit in this movie. I love this dude, I could see why Belle would like him. I believed the romance, I had my pulse on that romance, I was rooting for them. And that’s something that’ll make or break it.

minor list of things I was less impressed by: 

  • -> the transformation scene with someone else in the room (better than the 2014 version, but still, there were already so many things going on in that sequence with the servants taking the limelight, that the enchantress being there too was distracting as shit!!)
  • -> autotune, but it didn’t bother me that much
  • -> that in the year of our lord 2017 they still feel the need for the Beast to transform into a human (oh well lol)
  • -> I wanted Belle to sing “Home” from the Broadway musical, but I guess I’m never getting that wish!!

A few other things too, but I’d have to watch it again. I think I will do that.

I went to see Beauty and the Beast and I enjoyed it a lot. I especially enjoyed this version of the Beast like 100x more than I was expecting. He has a very handsome face and voice and personality, which didn’t really come through in the 1 trailer I watched.

I was charmed that the person who wrote the movie seemed to really know their shit about different versions of the story - there were several nice references/homages to Robin McKinley’s versions, in addition to the refs to the Alan Menken/Disney animated movie. I feel like there was a certain feeling like Howl’s Moving Castle as well at one point - I think it might have been the teleporting magic.

I might go see it again and write a big post about it more detailed.