Belle is my favorite princess. I love that she is inquisitive, odd and that she loves books. I love that she looked past the ugly beast and saw a tender heart. I love that she saw past Gaston’s looks and saw his vanity. I love that she encourages her father. I also love the sacrificial love of the beast towards the end. The dance scene of the animation of 1991 is enchanting. There is magic, books, learning and unyielding love in this Disney cartoon and it’s heartwarming. I was 10 years old when this animation came out, and as an awkward book nerd that may have enjoyed solitude a bit too much, Belle came along and helped my little weird self.
I say all this because I may have a bias when it comes to the new live action of Beauty and the Beast. First of all I didn’t like the lighting, it looked fake. It was like they were trying to capture the cartoon’s magical essence, but it just seemed forced. They should have gone real. Real trees, real stone, truer colors. The props, especially in the village were a bit gaudy, and frankly looked like props that could be found at any local theater. Secondly, I don’t think Emma Watson was a good fit for Belle. She’s smart and pretty, but a Belle she is not. And she didn’t really act very well either. I think they would have done better with an actress that we didn’t know so well. And lastly, it was too musical! I know it’s a Disney movie but ugh, it just seemed longer than it needed to be. The new songs were okay, but not really as uplifting as the originals. They should have left well enough alone. They also added a bit of back story to Belle and how her mother died and there was this magical map that the Beast had that transported them to any place in the world. It just didn’t seem to flow well with the story, and when her dad was in danger, why didn’t they use the map to help save him? And I hated to have to think about all this because it’s not part of the original story anyway! Also, the ballroom dance scene, didn’t awe me throughout. Yes, it crescendos into a very beautiful scene, but it starts off fairly lusterless. Kinda boring.
What I did like about the movie though was the Beast. He was witty and funny! I am not sure if his voice was altered, but it sounded perfect for the beast. I had never seen Dan Stevens in any other movie, and his acting really stood out above the rest. Luke Evans’ acting was also okay, but I would have liked a more muscular and taller Gaston.
Recommendations: The movie was okay. Out of 5 stars, I have noticed that it is at a solid 4 from most critics. I would have given it 3 stars if I had a star system. But I know little kids will enjoy the movie. I really don’t think my generation will find it that magical – the cartoon is just way better.
To the Christian: I am not in the dark about the “gay” controversy. I know the homosexual agenda is forcibly being pushed on Christians more than it ever has. They no longer just want us to accept their lifestyle, we must also celebrate it. I get it. The problem I have though is that we Christians seem to single this sin out too much. I haven’t read one article about Lumiere’s obvious pre-marital sexual relationship with Plumette. Is not all sexual sin the same in the eyes of the Lord? Thankfully, there is no actual scene where a man kisses another man. I was worried about that, but nothing of the sort happened. What can be found in the movie is a man who is attacked with ribbons and dresses and walks away happy and that same man ends up dancing with LaFou in the last scene for about 2 seconds. The scene is obviously gay to me. Just like Lumiere is obviously a philanderer. Both are sexual sins, but there was not one peep from my children about it. These scenes have a more silly feel. I felt more uncomfortable when Lumiere aggressively caressed Plumette as she plays hard to get. Also, we have to stop seeing “gay” things everywhere. American men and boys seem to have a problem showing affection amongst themselves because of our incessant fear of them looking gay. David and Jonathan (I Samuel 18); Jesus and John (John 13:23); the Centurion and his servant (Luke 7), Paul calling Ampliatus and Stachys his beloved (Romans 16) and more had healthy platonic relationships with other men. For a great article on this subject click here.
So my dear Christian, let us be consistent in our righteousness. Let us not oust one sin, and overlook another because one is more acceptable in Christian society. All sexual sin violates the beautiful institution and self-sacrifice of marriage . This world isn’t going to exalt the sacred, even secular companies that love children will try to infiltrate their minds and hearts. My children and I live in this world where they will see sinful sexual behavior. It is up to me to guide them with the help of the Holy Spirit, to teach them using God’s Word, to use any opportunity to encourage them in the road of their Salvation, to provide a shoulder when repentance brings them to their knees, and to show grace where grace was shown to me.
In conclusion, I see both sides of the argument. But I think we are giving attention to something that our children really don’t see or get. In Mulan the soldiers cross dressed as concubines, in Princess and the Frog there is a Voodoo godmother, in Brave there are pagan traditions, in Moana there are demi-gods and reincarnation, in Pocahontas there is spiritism, and even in Narnia there are creatures only found in Greek mythology – some even known for their sexual prowess. (And don’t get me started on how dads and men are portrayed as stupid, spineless and useless in countless of kids movies.) My kids saw all of these, and they had no clue! We give these cartoons power by drawing attention to their worldliness. They are nothing. And if/when questions arise let us use that time to teach and to guide (Proverbs 4, Deuteronomy 6).