Beauty and the Beast (2017) – Review and/or viewer comments – Christian Spotlight on the Movies – ChristianAnswers.Net
This live-action remake of Disney’s acclaimed animated classic “Beauty and the Beast” retells the story of a selfish and spoiled prince (Dan Stevens). After denying an old woman shelter from the bitter cold, a sorceress transforms the prince into a hideous beast, and his castle is put under a powerful spell. Meanwhile, a young woman named Belle (Emma Watson) wants more than just a “provincial life.”
On the way to the fair, Bella’s father, Maurice (Kevin Kline), is ambushed by a pack of wolves. trying to seek shelter, he stumbles upon the beast’s castle. having promised Belle that he would bring her a rose, he takes one from the castle gardens and is captured by the beast. Later, Belle comes to his rescue and willingly takes his place in the castle dungeon.
belle, now a prisoner of the beast, befriends some of the castle’s servants, who have been transformed into household objects. For a while, Bella doesn’t realize that she may be the key to reversing the spell. the chances of the beast turning back into a human are based on the timing of an enchanted rose and how quickly the petals fall. If the beast can learn to love another and win her love in return, the spell will be broken. but if not, he and the servants remain as they are forever.
On many points, I felt Disney and director Bill Condon did the animated film justice. although, perhaps the music is the best thing here. a fantastic musical in itself (having the original and having seen the stage play), the songs from the original are brought to life in a mostly fantastical style. I will say that I think both “belle”, “kill the beast” and “something there” were done in a way that was better than the cartoon, while “be our guest” and “gaston” did not live up to the versions. original animated (although the animation in the “be our guest” sequence is excellent). Three new songs by Alan Menken and Tim Rice are added, and they’re surprisingly effective. i found “days in the sun” and “how does a moment last forever” very moving (especially celine dion’s last version in the end credits), while “evermore” was fantastic. apart from stevens fantastic voice, the song gave me the creeps. I suppose you could think of it as a more melancholic and masculine version of “let it go” from “frozen”.
the casting is excellent in general. best performances go to stevens, emma thompson as mrs. Potts and Luke Evans as Gaston. Stevens really does a great job of bringing her character to life, and brings some emotion behind the CG to help bring the beast to life. Thompson gets very close to Angela Lansbury several times, and sings the title song (“Beauty and the Beast”) very well. Evans brings a different side to Gaston that is both compelling and effective.
As for Watson, I found his performance mixed. there were times when he did a great job and can sing. but he didn’t engage me the way he did paige o’hara in the original. belle’s original singing and speaking voice had me glued to the screen when she was 3 and 4 (same with jodi benson’s original ariel in “the little mermaid”), and she had a kindness and warmth that watson doesn’t have here. Watson has the attitude and looks of Belle’s character, but she lacks the heart. I also found her reactions to the objects in “be our guest” sadly unconvincing.
visually, I found “beauty and the beast” amazing. the sets and costumes are spectacular and really bring the feel of the movie to life. the visual effects are a bit off at times, but they also work very well, on many occasions. a couple of moments of the play appear. many quotes are cleverly drawn from the animated film, and unlike the original, which begins with stained glass, the opening scene is shown for real this time. and I have to say that the way they realized it was spectacular. I felt the animated movie come to life. at the same time, however, the ending didn’t have the same sense of awe that the original had. the original ended with a beautiful stained glass window, the ending here was a bit abrupt and didn’t convey the same feeling.
On the downside, some character and plot changes are a bit annoying and unnecessary. The way Maurice ends up almost in an insane asylum changes drastically, and Gaston’s character changes in this plot to almost a bipolar sociopath. i also thought belle being told about the spell (mostly) is not something that should have happened as she was never told verbally in the animated version. finally, a scene where beauty and the beast travel to paris via a magic book feels a bit out of place and isn’t necessary.
There are two main messages in both the animated and live-action movies “Beauty and the Beast”. one is that outward appearance should not be a guiding force in life. instead, it is one’s character and actions that show who we really are. we see the enchantress change the prince to reflect, on the outside, who he is on the inside. Then, as the movie progresses and Belle influences him, we see the beast begin to show a kinder, humbler spirit. In comparison, we see Gaston as more attractive on the outside, but on the inside as rude and incredibly selfish. This theme is very biblical, since 1 Samuel lets us know that God does the same thing.
“but the lord said to samuel, ‘do not look at his appearance or his height, because i have rejected him. the lord does not look at the things that people look at. people look at the outward appearance, but the lord looks at the heart.’” —1 Samuel 16:7
The second main message is the idea of sacrificial love. This is first shown when Belle sacrifices her dreams and her freedom to save her father. later, when the beast falls in love with belle, she chooses to sacrifice her dreams of being human again to give belle what she wants. We also see this in a surprising backstory about Bella’s parents, where one of the parents makes a sacrifice to protect Bella. The idea of sacrificial love is also a key theme in the Bible, since God sacrificed his son, Jesus Christ, to give us the opportunity to have eternal life. Here comes to mind the letter of the Apostle John:
“In this we know love, in which he gave his life for us, and we must give our lives for our brothers.” —1 John 3:16
My grandmother, who attended the movie with me, gave me another positive theme from the movie. the appearance of the beast resembles what the prince was inside at the time: the selfish, bratty, and unpleasant characteristics that we struggle with as humans. we as humanity were doomed to die and spend eternity in torment and horror for the evil we have done. Belle’s love for the man within the beast redeems the prince back to humanity and back to the light. In this case, this comparison can be made to the scriptural meaning of what true biblical love is. it takes an act of love to bring us back to the light. Thus, Jesus’ act of love brought us out of darkness into light.
“For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light”—Ephesians 5:8.
We also see strong examples of paternal love in Bella’s father, and Bella shows a desire to help her friends and others. Belle is a strong and brave person who always strives to be more than her limitations.
We also see a positive image of Jesus on the cross in a bookstore.
content of concern
violence: the general violence increases one or two points with respect to the animated film. there are two wolf chases. a wolf appears to have a wound in one of its eyes. The wolves nearly finish off Maurice’s horse, and the wolves attack both Maurice and Belle. the beast fights with the wolves, and one sinks its teeth for a few moments into the beast’s shoulder. the beast drags a couple of people with some violence. we see bite marks on someone’s stomach, apparently from a wrestling match. belle throws a pot at a character in defense. at the climax, people approach the castle with torches and swords. Gaston fires his gun and hits the target a couple of times. a character falls to an apparent death. people are hit by cups of tea, a cupboard, hot water, and other things in a slapstick battle between humans and enchanted objects. the beast is thrown and bumps into a couple of things during a fight scene. someone is hit in the face and abandoned by the wolves. there’s a comical, choreographed sword fight in a tavern. a flashback shows someone with bruises on their face and is seriously ill.
Language: The beast uses a harsher word twice for what happened to him, but not in a profane context. for example, he says that he has been “eternally damned” and also “you could have damned us all!”. characters are called “idiots” sometimes.
Drugs/Alcohol: Some alcohol can be seen in the tavern, but it’s hard to tell.
sexual content: women are sometimes shown in outfits that reveal cleavage. Three women are clearly behind Gaston, sighing and swooning at his appearance. there are a few kisses between couples. a very awkward and shoehorned moment shows the locker room attacking three men and dressing them in girls’ clothes. two of them scream and run, while one smiles and walks away, giving the impression that she likes to dress like a woman. the wardrobe then says: “go ahead, be free!”
As many people know, this version of “Beauty and the Beast” has received a lot of controversy for what the director has called “an exclusively gay moment,” an apparent Disney first. Le Fou’s (Josh Gad) character, Gaston’s sidekick, is the character assigned as Disney’s first “LGBT character.” Condon says, “Gaston is a character who wants to be like Gaston one day and kiss Gaston the next.” this is what I found most remarkable:
le fou comically says, after gaston says he wants to marry belle, “but there won’t be any more of us.”
le fou struts effeminately throughout the musical number “gaston” (much more so than the animated version). At one point, he has Gaston wrap his arms around him. Le Fou then asks, “Too much?”, much to Gaston’s immediate annoyance.
At one point, once Gaston is hell-bent on killing the beast, le fou says to another character, “we’re in a bad place right now.” the character replies, “you’re too good for him anyway.”
for two seconds during the final replay of “beauty and the beast”, le fou hooks up with another guy and they start dancing. this is the supposed “gay moment” and “payment” that the director had in mind to confirm le fou’s sexuality. this moment feels very shoehorned and forced in the final song. In my opinion, this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment doesn’t clearly say as much as the lgbt community hoped. the two male characters have looks of surprise on their faces, almost as if it was purely an accident and meant for laughs; it is during a dance when you change partners.
That said, however, the director’s intent cannot and should not be ignored. The Bible clearly warns in 1 Corinthians that homosexuality is a sin.
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? do not be fooled. neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor thieves will inherit the kingdom of God.” —1 Corinthians 6:9-10
others: some characters lie and cheat. a dog is shown urinating on a coat rack at one point.
as a fan of disney and the original movie (which was the first animated film to be nominated for best picture at the oscars), I hadn’t anticipated a movie like this in at least a few years. “Beauty and the Beast” always seemed destined to get a live-action remake, as it’s more of a human story than many of the Disney cartoons. Plus, with “Cinderella,” “The Jungle Book,” and the excellent “Pete’s Dragon” all translated to the big screen, this movie’s presence is far from a surprise (as a fan, I’d love to see Disney remake ” the hunchback of notre dame” and “the aristocats”, just a quick note if someone from the studio is reading).
And I have to say, I had a great time watching “Beauty and the Beast” at times. the transition from animation to live action can be breathtaking, bringing the same sense of wonder and magic that the original brought. the soundtrack is spectacular, it’s a visual smörgåsbord, and the same strong moral and biblical messages shine through here once again.
but at the same time, this version of “beauty and the beast” paves the way for disney in a very unfortunate way. the decision to put in moments that hint at a character’s homosexuality is something that should have been reconsidered. yes, it’s a subtle thing. the way le fou acts in the “gaston” number is much more of an indicator of her sexuality, honestly, than the scene of two men dancing at the end. yes, nothing is really explained, so younger kids probably won’t notice, and the really awkward moments are few and far between. one might wonder if the director hadn’t hyped it up, some might not have noticed.
But regardless, it’s safe to say that Disney has sadly acquiesced to left-wing pressure for “LGBT representation” in its films. it’s worth noting that staying away from worldly political affairs is the reason many go to the movies in the first place. they seek entertainment and escapism from everyday mundane problems, and they don’t want to be subject to political statements, no matter how “subtle” they may be. I should also note that this idea is not new to children’s/family films, as recent films such as “how to train your dragon 2”, “storks”, “finding dory” and “zootopia” surrounded similar controversy.
Overall, due to the subtle thrust of ideas that are contrary to god’s word (as well as some intense moments and light magical elements), this version of “beauty and the beast” is not something I can recommend. however, it’s really a shame, because aside from those suggestive and awkward moments, it’s a really good remake with great music and some really spectacular moments.
For parents and Christians who aren’t sure what to make of this movie, I’d say consider the content issues in this review before making a decision for yourself (and your family). Some think this movie should be avoided altogether, while others think it’s a teachable moment for their kids about the mundane topics this movie lightly touches on. I will also say, for those who have no peace seeing this, the 1991 original is worth rewatching. because while the new version does come close at times, it doesn’t quite (as a whole) recapture the same special and unique sense of wonder and awe that the original has.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Mild
editor’s note on the lgbtq tactic used in this movie
Lgbtq activists know that lightly embedding their schedule content into nice, charming movies that their kids will watch (and watch repeatedly) is far more effective in achieving their goals than trying to get most of movies that are not lgbtq. parents to show their children lgbtq propaganda and erotica films in full force (although many of the latter are produced). this same tactic is used very effectively by liberals, to promote the message that nudity, casual teen sexual activity, fornication, and/or adultery are “totally normal and acceptable,” not sins that are actually very dangerous and lead to broken lives and more. evil.
be godly parents
remember that god told parents to teach their children his commandments, teaching them kindness and justice, the proper fear of the lord, recognizing sin and fleeing from it.
You will teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home, when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. —deuteronomy 11:19 (nkjv)
about disney and what to expect next
although the lgbtq agenda is not strongly pushed in this film (probably to avoid further financial risk), it is definitely (and deliberately) there and part of a clear trend.
1991: disney world begins hosting gay pride events. by 2010, gay days at walt disney world (first Saturday in June, preceded by a week of lgbt events in the area) “is now one of the largest gay pride events in the world” (time and wikipedia).
1998: At a gay and lesbian student conference (uc-santa cruz), prominent gay activist elizabeth birch, lesbian and former president of the national gay and lesbian task force, reveals a recent conversation with then director Disney executive Michael Eisner, in which he corrected her belief that 30% of Disney employees were gay and told her that it was actually 40%. (A video of her saying this at the conference is publicly available from americans for truth, who wonders what the lgbtq percentage is now, 18 years later).
April 2014: atlantic magazine (political: left center) publishes an article reporting: “It’s not just frozen: most Disney movies are pro-gay / By preaching acceptance and questioning gender, the company’s kids’ movies offer a crash course in queer studies.”
March 2016: The Walt Disney Company threatens to boycott Georgia over the state’s “religious freedom restoration law,” claiming it is anti-gay and lesbian.
May 2016: the washington post publishes an article titled “are we ready for a gay disney princess? we may be closer than you think. (The newspaper is owned by progressive liberal activist Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.)
May 2016: An activist starts a rapidly expanding lgbtq twitter campaign, calling on disney to make elsa from frozen a lesbian, to promote lgbtq among children.
September 2016: Actress/singer idina menzel, the voice of elsa in “frozen” and the upcoming “frozen 2” (2018), says on the ellen degeneres show, “i am everything for it. I think it’s a wonderful idea.”
November 2016: the huffington post reports that the “directors of disney’s ‘moana’ say ‘the possibilities are wide open’ for an lgbtq disney princess.”
February 2017: Cable channel Disney XD shows a cartoon (aimed at young teens) that includes not only boy and girl kissing, but also gay and lesbian kissing in an episode of “Star vs. the force of evil”.
March 2017: The director Disney chose for this “Beauty and the Beast” family film is the director of the theatrical drama “Kinsey” (2004) which endorses virtually all sexual sins, including homosexuality. he also directed the homosexual theme “gods and monsters”. Director Bill Condon is openly gay and proudly announces the insertion of a more openly gay character in a Disney children’s film.
secular mass media is telling the world that this new “beauty and the beast” is a “defining moment” for disney, sending an even clearer public message that disney is promoting homosexuality as normal and totally acceptable (not a sin or a rebellion). against god).
In light of what’s been going on, it’s no surprise Franklin Graham says Disney…
what’s next? the trend is clear, but not necessarily inevitable. the future depends on the response of Christian consumers.